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What degree do you need to start a business?

Got a great idea for a business, but not sure if you need to complete a degree before you get started? In this article, we’ll look at the advantages that studying a degree can give you when it comes to running a successful business. Plus, we’ll go into detail about the different types of business degrees that Swinburne Online offers.

Our Course Advisors often receive questions from people who want to expand their business knowledge and broaden their professional horizons. This article will provide answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions about entering the business world, including:

  • What degree do I need to start a business?
  • What are the best courses for entrepreneurs?
  • Which business major should I choose?


What qualifications do you need to start your own business?

If you’re starting your own small business, it’s not a legal requirement for you to have a degree qualification. Whether or not you choose to complete some study before you start a business is up to you – it also depends on your professional background. Perhaps you grew up helping your parents run their own business, so you have a good idea of what the realities of small business are like. Or you might have worked your way up within your industry, gathering on-the-job skills as you progressed.

However, if you feel that you have any areas of weakness – accounting, for instance – it’s a good idea to do some training before you jump in. In a university program, you’ll get to learn from experts who have many years of relevant industry experience. So, let’s have a look at some of the best courses for starting your own business.


Do I need a business degree to start a business?

Studying a degree offers the following advantages, helping you to:

  • Learn more about your industry
  • Develop your skills
  • Expand your professional network
  • Learn how to use technology to effectively run your business


Do I need to study business to start a business?

You don’t necessarily need to study a business degree before starting a business. Again, it helps to make a note of your own strengths and weaknesses, and then create a study plan that can fill in any knowledge gaps you might have.

Ultimately, the best degree for starting your own business will depend on what kind of business it is, who you have on your team (for instance, whether you’ll be entrusting the financial side of things to a business partner) and what kind of professional experience you already have.


What are the best degrees for entrepreneurs?

Another question our Course Advisors often get is ‘which course is best for entrepreneurship?’ Being an entrepreneur often comes with substantial risk, since the very nature of entrepreneurship is about creating a business venture that offers something new, or operates in ways that are innovative and sometimes also experimental.

If you want to start a business with the aim of making a positive difference in the world, you’re an entrepreneur. To be successful, you’re going to need to be competent, credible and confident – all things that a business degree can teach you. In terms of what to study to become an entrepreneur, courses with a focus on business administration, finance, market and management are all good choices.


Business Administration

Let’s take a look at two of Swinburne Online’s most popular business administration courses for aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs:

Bachelor of Business – Business Administration

This is a great choice for anyone with an interest in business, since it gives you a thorough understanding of how successful businesses function. As part of this degree, you’ll learn:

  • Leadership and Management
  • Organisational Behaviour
  • Sustainable Innovation
  • Data Management
  • Commercial Law
  • Strategic Planning & Project Management

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Widely regarded as one of the best online entrepreneurship courses, our MBA program will take your leadership skills to the next level. At Swinburne Online, you can tailor your studies by choosing one of the following streams: Project Management, Cybersecurity Management or Business.

As a Swinburne Online student, you’ll learn the following core units:

  • Business Strategy
  • Economics
  • Opportunity Discovery
  • Corporate Financial Management
  • Behaviour in Organisations
  • Marketing Management
  • Leadership for Innovation
  • Accounting Systems and Reporting

Plus, you can choose elective subjects to focus on areas that are of particular interest and use for your career goals.



A finance degree will help you manage the financial aspects of running a business, helping you to plan ahead for the future and make sound business decisions. You’ll learn how to analyse company data and evaluate changes in the market, to keep your company profitable.

Bachelor of Business – Finance

With Swinburne Online’s Bachelor of Business, you can choose to major in finance so you can master the money side of running a business. It’s one of the best courses for business owners, giving you the knowledge and skill to manage the books and keep your company’s finances in order.

Our Bachelor of Business (Finance major) covers the following topics:

  • Financial Management
  • Economic Principles
  • Fixed Income and Debt Markets
  • International Trade and Finance
  • Management of Investment Portfolios



To run a successful business in today’s world, you need to have a strong understanding of contemporary marketing practices. You might have a great product and a hard-working team, but if you’re not able to get the message out there to potential customers, you won’t get very far. Choosing a business degree with a major in marketing will give you the edge when it comes to starting your own business, helping you to create memorable connections with consumers in a space that’s constantly evolving.

Bachelor of Business – Marketing

If you choose the marketing major as part of the Bachelor of Business at Swinburne Online, you’ll study the following core topics:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Marketing Innovation and Branding
  • Marketing Research, Data and Insights
  • Consumer Behaviour
  • Marketing Communications



For those asking if you need a business degree to start a business, a bachelor program that offers accounting as a major is a really solid choice. Not only will you gain an accreditation from the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) and Certified Practising Accounts (CPA) Australia, you’ll also learn how to help businesses and people reach their financial goals.

Bachelor of Business – Accounting

At Swinburne Online, you’ll have the opportunity to work on an industry consulting project with a live client, and you’ll also get to hear from guest speakers throughout your degree.

As part of this course, you’ll study the following core units:

  • Accounting Systems
  • Business Systems
  • Financial Statements
  • Company Accounting
  • Economics


Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

If you’re planning to start a business in the area of technology, a bachelor of business that allows you to major in ICT is a smart choice. General ICT knowledge is helpful for all business owners to know, enabling you to troubleshoot whenever technical issues arise, and implement new technologies to help your business run more efficiently.

Bachelor of Information and Communication Technology

This degree can help you create and build your company’s online presence, while bringing you up to speed with recent technological developments relevant to your industry. You’ll also learn useful workplace skills such as stakeholder management, and legal and ethical practice.

Core units of the Bachelor of ICT include:

  • Project Management
  • Software Development
  • Situation Analysis
  • Professional Communication
  • Understanding Technologies
  • Data Management

Graduate Certificate of Programming and Development

For those looking to upskill with a postgraduate qualification, our Graduate Certificate of Programming and Development will help you to become a key architect for the next generation of digital landscapes.

As part of this course, you’ll learn:

  • Programming
  • ICT Issue Assessment
  • Sourcing Software
  • Understanding Technologies
  • Applying Technologies


What skills are needed to run a business?

If you’re trying to decide what type of study you should complete before you start a business, it might help to reflect on the key skills that business owners need. These include:

  • Leadership and delegation
  • Accounting, finance and budgeting
  • Sales and marketing
  • Communication
  • Project management
  • Networking

There are some ways that you can develop these skills without studying a degree, such as reading books, attending industry meet-ups and workshops, and seeking advice from a trusted mentor.

You can also get in touch with our friendly Course Consultants at Swinburne Online, who can help you with questions like ‘what degree do I need to start a business?’

Learn more about our Bachelor of Business, or contact us for further information.


When it comes to starting a business, a Bachelor of Business – Entrepreneurship can be an invaluable asset. This specialised degree hones your skills in innovation, risk management, and strategic planning – all crucial for launching and sustaining a successful venture. It equips you with the tools to turn your business idea into a thriving reality.
When it comes to preparing for a small business endeavour, consider honing your skills in areas that can make a significant impact on your success. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, focusing on business-related fields can be beneficial. Courses in business administration, finance, marketing, and management can provide a comprehensive toolkit for navigating the challenges of running a small business effectively. At Swinburne Online, our Bachelor of Business – Marketing programme can help you master contemporary marketing practices, including digital marketing, branding, and consumer behaviour. If financial management is your forte, the Bachelor of Business – Finance programme can empower you to make sound financial decisions and strategise for your business’s future. Remember, your chosen field of study should align with your strengths and the unique needs of your small business.
Running a successful business demands a blend of skills that can steer your venture towards growth and prosperity. Here are three major skills that are paramount:
  • Leadership and Delegation: Effective leadership involves inspiring and guiding your team to work cohesively towards common goals. Delegation is crucial to distribute tasks efficiently and ensure each aspect of your business receives the attention it deserves.
  • Financial Acumen: Understanding your business’s financial health is fundamental. Proficiency in financial management, budgeting, and analysis empowers you to make informed decisions that drive profitability and sustainability.
  • Communication and Networking: The ability to convey your ideas clearly to customers, partners, and employees is essential. Effective communication fosters collaboration and builds strong relationships. Networking allows you to connect with potential clients, partners, and mentors who can contribute to your business’s success.