Having the best software concept in the world isn’t going to make you rich if you can’t figure out a business model, marketing and all those other little details that go along with operating a business. Having a business degree can seem like an easy way to pick up some of those finer details about operations.
But that doesn’t mean that you should rush out and apply to MBA programs. If you’re really excited about business in general, it might be fun, but the odds are good that you don’t need every last class that makes up a whole degree in business administration. Rather, you need to pick and choose what will actually help you run a business.
Using a Class List as a Starting Point
We don’t always know what we don’t know. A mastery of programming doesn’t necessarily translate into a mastery of business concepts. That means that at least going through the list of classes a business major is required to take can provide a lot of guidance for what you may want to pick up on the side. You may not be planning to take any classes at all, but a class list and — if you can get it — a sneak peek at a syllabus can point you to what books you need to read.
For instance, you may know off the top of your head that you need to figure out a general idea of human resources if you want to eventually hire anyone to work for your business. Within the broad topic of human resources, you might see a bunch of different classes offered at the average university, with titles like compensation management. If nothing else, knowing what to type into a search engine makes the learning process a lot easier. So pull up the website for your local university and browse through what they think should make up a business degree. From there, you can choose to sign up for a few classes, check out some books from the library or find yet another way to get the business knowledge you need.
The MBA Shortcut
Want to get just the highlights, as fast as you can? I’d recommend picking up a copy of The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman. Kaufman decided that instead of going and getting an MBA, he was just going to read all the books that were typically assigned reading in business school. He took detailed notes and wrote a book summing them up. The Personal MBA probably isn’t going to give you all the information you need to operate your business, but it will help you ask the right questions.
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