Is it possible to work in business development without a degree? Keep reading and find out if you have the right skills!
Do you need a degree to work as a business development professional?
The short answer is: NO!
But often companies do require a university degree.
However, it’s not a strict requirement.
First, having a degree doesn’t guarantee you a successful business development career.
Second, there aren't many universities offering specific education in business development.
Instead, if you want to work in business development you should work on developing the relevant skills.
Business Development is 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.
It is a much better investment to learn with specialized courses. At The BD School, we made it our mission to help ambitious professionals become great business developers.
Check out the certification program if you're interested in a very practical and effective business development course.
Let's dive deeper into the skills you should develop if you don't have a degree and want to work in business development.
Skills you won’t learn at university
So what should you work 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
At university, we’re often 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 the 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 grow in your business development career.
What to learn to work in business development without a degree
Motivation plays a critical role if you want to become a business development manager.
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 finding the perfect match.
Being a passionate business developer is the biggest asset you can possibly imagine!
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!
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 learned 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, recognizing when you need help, and be always open to learning.
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 business development course is one of the best ways to shorten your learning process and get results fast!
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!
Dare 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!