While stories may seem to abound of people who have dropped out of school and have gone on to found successful companies, the reality is that these people are not reflective of the wider norm. In fact, many of the successful entrepreneurs who have founded companies that you interact with every day or read about in the newspapers have graduated with degrees in business. These degrees often provide entrepreneurs with the strong technical grounding and inspiration needed to succeed in today’s hypercompetitive business world.
Below, we highlight some of the entrepreneurs who have used their business degrees to significant effect in the worlds of business, politics, acting and non-profit organizations.
Phil Knight – Co-Founder and Chairman of Nike.
After a brief stint on active duty in the U.S. army, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon, Phil Knight attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business. It was during his time at Stanford that Knight developed his love of entrepreneurialism. He graduated with his MBA in 1962.
Knight worked at a number of different positions, including time as a CPA at Price Waterhouse, Knight founded Blue Ribbon Sports – the company that would later become the global sports brand Nike. He also served as CEO of Nike and was named by Forbes as the 43rd richest person in the world in 2014. Phil Knight’s success shows that entrepreneurialism can truly be stimulated in the lecture hall!
Melinda Gates – Co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Economics from Duke University in 1986, Melinda Gates went on to receive an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 1987.
After graduating with her business degree, Gates joined Microsoft where she served as project manager for a number of key projects, including Microsoft Encarta and Expedia. In 1994, she married Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft. In addition Melinda Gates has served on a number of boards of companies and organizations including Duke University, the Washington Post, and Drugstore.com.
Perhaps, her chief accomplishment is the cofounding, with her husband, of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation seeks to “to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Politician and Actor.
One of the most high profile celebrities-turned-political leaders, Arnold Schwarzenegger is probably just as well known for his roles in Terminator as he is for being Governor of California. Schwarzenegger is also a former Mr. Universe and is married to Maria Shriver, niece of John F. Kennedy. During his movie career, Schwarzenegger helped found the Planet Hollywood chain with Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Demi Moore. Schwarzenegger moved to the U.S. from Austria in 1968, and in the 1970s began taking English classes from Santa Monica College. In 1976, he earned a degree in Business and International Economics by correspondence from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
Although the paths and disciplines of those above differ greatly their success cannot be denied, which all began with studying business at university. Business courses teach transferable skills at undergraduate and postgraduate level meaning employers know they can rely on business graduates.
Business degrees generally tend to include a high degree of collaborative work with your fellow students. There will be a huge amount of team building and group work on projects. This can make your school experience much more fun and interesting than other disciplines, rather than toiling away by yourself in the library. Alongside the teamwork, you will also develop into an effective leader who is skilled at expressing your thoughts and opinions in a variety of settings.
We have profiled the leading business programmes for international students to you to start your career:
UniSA BUSINESS SCHOOL, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA – AUSTRALIA
The University of South Australia (UniSA) is South Australia’s largest university, with 33,000 students, 30% of whom are international, from over 70 countries. UniSA ranks 35 amongst the ‘Top 50 under 50’ universities, has achieved a 5 star rating for MBA teaching excellence for seven years, and is recognised in the QS University rankings for its focus on top quality facilities, internationalisation, innovation and inclusiveness. The UniSA Business School is one of Australia’s leading business schools, comprising the schools of Commerce, Law, Management and Marketing and offers programs across undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate level. Read the full profile…
BUSINESS SCHOOL, QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY (QUT) – AUSTRALIA
The Business School at QUT was Australia’s first business school with triple international accreditation, a distinction held by less than 1% of business schools worldwide. The QUT business courses let students design a course that suits their individual interests and career goals. Their degrees give students a solid foundation in theory and practice, and the ability to pursue studies in multiple areas. Students have many opportunities to give themselves a career edge through work experience, real-world interaction and networking. The Business School delivers high quality, internationally recognised programs, across undergraduate, postgraduate and research levels, to over 11,000 students. Read the full profile…
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, SOUTHERN UTAH UNIVERSITY – USA
The School of Business at Southern Utah University (SUU) aims to offer students a quality education and a superior classroom experience, preparing them for the many challenges they will face in the global business world. The School’s focus is on creating an environment where faculty and staff emphasize personalized learning, student engagement and integrity. The accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees on offer are extremely attractive to employers and 94% of business school graduates find professional job placements in industry. Read the full profile…
ULSTER BUSINESS SCHOOL, ULSTER UNIVERSITY – NORTHERN IRELAND
Ulster Business School is one of the largest business schools within Britain and Ireland and caters to over 6,000 students and approximately 140 academic staff. The School benefits from over 40 years of strong industry links with many of Northern Ireland’s premier businesses and is committed to providing an entrepreneurial, dynamic and innovative educational environment. Ulster Business School offers a wide range of high quality courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, executive education and PhD programmes, in a range of subjects including accounting, economics, finance and human resource management; many of which benefit from professional accreditation. Ulster University is one of the top universities in the UK for world-leading research and students are taught by some of the best academics who are leaders in their fields.
MANAGEMENT SCHOOL, THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD – UK
As a member of the Russell Group, a consortium of the UK’s top universities, Sheffield University keeps ahead of the pack through its rigorous research activity. Sheffield University Management School is a leading business school with a world-class reputation for high quality teaching, ground-breaking research and cutting-edge thinking. Through the distinctiveness of the graduates, excellence of the staff, intellectually rigorous research and network of international partners, the School seeks to inform the practice of management and to make a difference to the community – locally and internationally.