For many, heading back to the classroom has been a salvation of sorts. The economy has made it very clear that not having current skills and abilities for the marketplace makes it a challenge to land a stable, dependable job. That’s not to mention the lure of the classroom and student loans for those who are trying to delay an entry into the job market when there will hopefully be more favorable conditions. All told, it’s a great time to go to school – but do you really have to go?
Running a small business often precludes some of the traditional requirements of the university system. You don’t need to have a degree to give yourself a job after all. But there is a trust factor built in when it comes to dealing with clients. The clients like to know that you’re educated and have a worldly, responsible view of the business environment. In general, terms, a degree, especially an advanced one, can help you sort through many aspects of your business like the accounting and finance as well as learn more about managing the individuals working for you – now or in the future.
Virtual Universities and Entry Requirements
If you read your spam emails and some legitimate ones, you’ll surely know by now that you don’t have to step foot on your campus to earn a degree. In fact, colleges are actively seeking students who never come to campus for a few reasons. The schools get tuition, they don’t have to pay for the utilities in the classroom or even paper for the printers that you’re not using on campus. They have a professor or instructor, more likely, to lead you through the classes, but there’s a cost savings there as well over one on campus since many of the virtual professors are remote as well.
That’s not to say you’re getting the sour end of the deal if you’re thinking about staying home to finish up a degree. In fact, the opposite is true for many degree seekers. If a piece of paper is holding you back from a job you’d truly enjoy – perhaps a technical certificate or a college degree that’s an entrance requirement to the field you’re considering, earning that degree online can be almost the same as actually attending the campus to do so.
Small Business Credentials at Virtual Universities
It is a bit different, however, when you’re considering heading back to school for an MBA or an advanced degree that will benefit your small business. Working online in an industry gives you a network of online contacts you can chat with and correspond with during the day. Taking classes online gives you an interface to send papers to a professor. There’s no small talk with peers; there’s very little chatter and discussion with knowledgeable professors outside of “group chat” hours.
In fact, the primary reason you’d even attend a university to help your business is missing – there’s virtually no networking.
Getting certifications and degrees can absolutely help your small business. Getting them from a virtual university might not be the answer, however. Sure, the classes are online and you can do class work at any time from home. This is great if you’re trying to move up in your company and nobody cares where the degree is from so long as you have one.
But you’re running you’re business and you need a degree that’s worth more than the tuition you’ve paid to earn it. You want a network of contacts. You need encouragement and mentoring from professors who are willing to chat and talk about things and theories after lectures. You need the benefits of the full university system that allows you to tap into resources that simply don’t exist online.
Will a virtual degree hurt you? Certainly not. But if you’re going to pay the money and take the classes, why not earn the sort of degree – and contacts – that will best benefit your own business?
Rebecca Garland is a professional freelance writer working hard to populate the internet with interesting, meaningful content. With advanced degrees in business, education and information science, she has experience evaluating true educational opportunities including school management software and virtual universities. You can learn more about Rebecca on her professional website.