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Business development without a degree

by | Feb 4, 2021

Is it possible to work in business development without a degree? Keep reading and find out if you have the right skills!

Business development is a complex field and very often companies require a university degree. However, it’s not necessarily a strict requirement and it also doesn’t guarantee you a successful business development career. In fact, there are loads of successful people who did not even graduate. For example, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. 

This is because very often university degrees don’t really prepare for the labour market and, in the case of business development, there aren’t many university courses available anyways. Besides, the ones currently available are very theoretical and often not aligned with the reality of the business development field.

When it comes to business development what really matters is your attitude towards your job more than your degree. It’s about finding growth opportunities and this requires creativity, curiosity, and a strong dose of self-awareness. All these skills are not necessarily thought in universities, but they are absolutely necessary if you want to be a successful business developer.

Skills you won’t learn at university

So should you work on if you want to work in business development without a degree?

1 – Leverage your network

Business development is largely based on your ability to build relationships. In fact, a large part of success in this field comes from the people you know and the power of your network. Universities very often don’t talk about growing and cultivating networks, on the contrary, the grading systems can enhance rivalries and a conflictual atmosphere.

So, as long as you have a cooperative attitude and are able to leverage your network, you can be an extremely successful business developer, even without a degree!

2 – Improve your adaptability skills

If you want to work in business development, you MUST work on your adaptability skills because it’s a very dynamic field. Universities, on the other hand, are often very static, with a built-in roadmap on how to graduate. There you won’t learn how to scrap a roadmap and change your destination, as business development often dictates.

Learning how to adapt is essential to even have a chance of success in being a business developer.

3 – Think win-win

Also, we’re taught how to be competitive. Instead, we should accept that there is room for many people to be successful. You’re more likely to be successful if you help others to be successful, and then they’ll help you in return. Learn that making friends and allies is better than making enemies, and how to do that.

It’s important to learn cooperation and teamwork before competition.

4 – Understanding the market

No university will teach you when it’s the right time to expand your business. Or when is the best moment to hire new people and take on more responsibilities? A lot of the time this will come from a gut feeling and the strategic relationships you have built. No textbook can teach you this important skill. 

You likely learned a lot of responsibility while you were at university. In your professional career, everything is different. If you make a mistake and don’t deliver the necessary pieces of a project, your entire team will suffer. Understanding the impact that you have in a particular position will help you to maintain and expand upon your responsible qualities.

Read also: 8 business development skills you should master

What to learn to work in business development without a degree

Learn that discipline isn’t the key to achieving a goal, but motivation is. It’s important to know how to motivate yourself, that you challenge yourself, and that you experience how great it feels to achieve a goal.

Furthermore, positive and critical thinking are crucial. Individuals who can strategically think about the company are vital to any business development team. But be careful, critical thinking doesn’t mean negative thinking, in fact, it’s very important to have a positive outlook on life and your work. Sure, things may be ruined, but they can be changed for the better.

Find solutions instead of complaints. And most of all, learn to believe in yourself and to block out negative self-thinking.

One of the most important ways to be successful is to find something you’re passionate about and do that for a living. You might not know what it is yet, but a good way to find out is by trying different jobs and find the perfect match. Being a passionate business developer is the biggest asset you can possibly imagine!

Learn to be organized how to keep things in their place, how to keep a to-do list, set routines, and how to prioritize your task. All of that you can learn on your own, without any university degree.

Last, learn the ability to trust your instincts. It is one of the hardest skills to teach and one of the rarest skills to find, but when it comes to making big, life-changing choices such as which job to pursue, you should listen to your instincts. Besides, it can bring you very far in your business development career!

Conclusion

It may feel impossible, but getting a job in business development without a degree is entirely possible. There are many companies that value relevant skills or experience over education. They are aware that some skills can’t be learnt at universities, therefore they don’t think that degree is a must.

Of course you need intelligence but you don’t always acquire that from sitting in universities. Far more important are tenacity, drive, determination, the recognize when you need help and be always open to learn.

You can improve your skills by reading, finding mentors, networking with other professionals, and so on. Blogs are a great resource for learning new skills and definitely go for a more structured approach if you want to speed up your learning curve. Taking a specialized course is one of the best ways to shorten your learning process and get results fast! Especially if they are very practical and offer you the possibility to meet other people.

On this note, practice is definitely what will change your business development game. If you want to become a business developer, start acting like one in every aspect of your life! Dear to reach out to people, dare to do uncomfortable things. If you learn and are ready to challenge yourself, there are no professional goals you can’t achieve!

So don’t give up on your dream business development job, even if you don’t have a degree!

the business development school - content marketer silvija

Author

Silvija Kozlek

Content Marketer at The BD School

I love creating useful content that helps people become better at their job. My mission is to help you see how others do things and improve yourself.

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