Entrepreneurship is a dream for many students and young professionals. The romanticized success stories of those who built whole empires from their garage are inspiring, and many motivated individuals are eager to cast their ideas into the world. However, some would be given pause to hear that one piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is actually to head back to school. It may seem counterproductive to your business ownership goals, but there are benefits that graduate school can grant aspiring entrepreneurs.
Even the most successful startup aspirants have had partners to help get them off the ground - Gates and Wozniak, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates, Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker of Napster fame. In many cases, these partnerships that launched business empires were formed - you guessed it - in school. According to AZ Central, one of the benefits of graduate programs is that they give you the opportunity to surround yourself with peers who share your interests and passions1. Research projects and essays are not only great for honing your knowledge, but can also serve as dry runs with classmates with whom you feel you may want to start a business.
Regardless of how innovative or valuable you think your business idea is, the fact is that venturing out into the vast world of entrepreneurship is a daunting and sometimes frightening affair. Despite best intentions, it's easy to feel like a lone entity cast adrift in a sea of other startups and business owners, and knowing who to reach out to or which resources to use can be intimidating.
One blogger writing for American Express stated that a major advantage of going to graduate school is that many of the professors are also established professionals in their field2. Not only is their perspective and experience valuable from an educational standpoint, but they also can provide you with insight into how the business world actually works on a non-theoretical level. What's more, establishing a relationship with your professors while in school means that you'll have a friend to whom you can turn once you start to make your way in the world after graduation.
Additionally, many schools offer their own administrative resources for students and graduates. Several institutions have programs in place that provide degree seekers access to internships, job placement and networks of industry professionals. All of these are valuable resources that can give you a leg up when it comes time to put your business idea into motion.