Do you dream of being your own boss? Entrepreneurship training is widely
available, and the programs are as varied as the businesses you could run.
You can take a four-year bachelor's program, a two-year associate's
degree or a shorter certificate program in entrepreneurship. Many organizations
also offer entrepreneurial training to young people in middle and high school.
Most of these programs aren't accredited, although some schools are approved
by the International Association for Management Education or the American
Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Others are recognized
by business publications such as U.S. News and World Report and Success.
Good grades are important when you're applying to an entrepreneurship
program, says Kathleen Allen. She is the director of the Lloyd Greif Center
for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Southern California. Her
program is open to business students who have a grade point average above
"There has never been a correlation between grades and success in an entrepreneurship
program," she says, "but a very low GPA suggests a student who does not put
out the effort -- and we don't want that."
In many programs, students begin with general business classes, then
move on to entrepreneurial courses.
James C. Barrood is the associate director of the Rothman Institute of
Entrepreneurial Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University. "Students build
upon their core courses by choosing a variety of courses that focus on starting,
financing and growing businesses, as well as corporate entrepreneurship and
family businesses," he says.
In these programs, students identify a business idea and create a plan
to carry it out. "That demonstrates the ability to take a project from
start to completion," Allen says.
If you don't want a four-year program, try one or two years at a business
college or community college.
Brian MacKay is the director of the entrepreneurship program at a community
college. His is a typical example of a one-year certificate program. It includes
16 courses and presentation of a business plan to an advisory board made up
of entrepreneurs, lenders, accountants and lawyers.
In high school, take business classes in addition to basic studies.
Computer literacy is important.
And get involved with clubs that teach leadership and cooperation.
"Leadership and teamwork skills are critical to the success of entrepreneurs,"
MacKay says Junior Achievement and other local youth enterprise clubs offer
a good way to learn about business.
The main costs are tuition and books.
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