A question that I am often asked now that I am self-employed is if I think my college degrees were a waste. I sort of wrote about this last year in Is a Business Degree a Waste?
As a reminder, I have three degrees – my undergraduate degrees are a B.S. in Business and a B.A. in Management. And then I also have a Finance MBA.
I understand why people are asking this. I mean, technically I do not need any college degree to do what I do since I am my own boss. I also spent a lot of time and money (I had $40,000 in student loan debt at one point!) towards my college degrees.
Here is why I don’t think my college degrees were a waste of time or money:
I think my college degrees led me to where I currently am.
I won’t lie, I believe if I didn’t work towards my college degrees, then I probably never would have started blogging and freelancing.
Keep in mind, that I started freelancing online because I wanted to pay off my student loans. So, if it wasn’t for my student loans, I’m not sure if I ever would have even thought about freelancing online.
A college degree can help give you experience.
Unless you know exactly what you want to do when you are fresh out of high school, a college degree can give you good experience with what you want to do. College isn’t completely useless either, you actually learn about different things as well!
For example, if you want to start your own business, you may not start it right away. Instead, you may decide to work for someone else and gain experience and industry knowledge through that position – but, in many cases you will need a DEGREE to get that position.
Don’t get me wrong, I think experience is always a great thing, but sometimes in order to get that experience, you need a degree. Funny how that works, eh?
My college degrees help me talk about finance.
Since I have multiple business/finance degrees, it helps me talk about finance on my blog and the websites that I staff write on. My degrees will also help me work towards certain financial certifications if I decide to go for them in the future.
No, having a college degree is not a requirement for personal finance blogging, but it did help me learn and understand financial topics that I may not have thought about until I came across it in my personal life.
My degrees also help me with the backend of my business as well, as I know a decent amount about how to run a business, the accounting side of it, and the legal side of it as well (my financial analyst job that I used to have, had to do a lot with business law). All of this really makes it a lot easier to run my business efficiently and effectively.
The networking is great.
No, I did not go into $40,000 in student loan debt to hang out with other students, but it is a small benefit of going to college. The contacts that I made in college helped me when I had my financial analyst career, and they are also helping me with my current business as well.
Depending on the business or industry that you are in, networking when you are in college can really help your business. Some people don’t put any effort towards networking, and I just don’t understand that!
What do you think?
Are college degrees a waste of money and/or time if you’re self-employed?
Image via Flickr by Tamuc