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5 areas of study that prepare you for startup success

28 September 2017
Familiarise yourself with the skills needed to disrupt the market

While there’s ongoing debate as to whether entrepreneurship can be taught in the classroom (or even at all), one thing can’t be disputed: fine-tuning certain skills can help you become a more successful entrepreneur.  

We’ve explored five areas of postgraduate study that you might consider pursuing if you want to become a startup extraordinaire:

1. Accounting

If you intend on becoming a trailblazer in your field, you’ll need to learn how to successfully manage your finances. Not only does it offer the clearest picture of your business’ success, but there will come a time when you will need to align your initiatives with monetisation, measure your progress and report this back to third parties.

An Accounting specialisation will equip you with the skills to understand, analyse and interpret both financial and non-financial information; useful for decision making and evaluating your financial position.

2. Communications

Being able to communicate persuasively is crucial to selling your product and services. At some stage, you’re going to need financial backing to create a scalable business, and you’ll likely need to address a group of ‘angel investors’ to get it.

Verbal and non-verbal skills are equally as important. Your ability to listen, analyse, write, develop and present influential content will no doubt strengthen your startup and set you apart from your competitors. Each of our postgraduate courses will allow you to practice a combination of these skills in class discussions and real-world industry, community and research challenges. 

3. Software Engineering

‘Including Engineering and/or Science in your degree is critical,’ suggests James Alexander, co-founder of INCUBATE, a leading student startup accelerator developed by the University of Sydney Union. If this isn’t realistic, you might like to consider starting with a software engineering subject. Startups tend to specialise in technology driven products and being able to engineer software systems and establish a business across a variety of platforms and a range of application domains will make you a force to be reckoned with.

Non-IT graduates wanting to enhance your existing careers with a technology-based qualification might like to consider starting with an individual subject or a shorter postgraduate qualification like a Graduate Diploma in Computing

4. Business Administration

Business models are changing rapidly in an increasingly complex and volatile world according to Professor Guy Ford, MBA Director at Sydney Business School. An MBA or Master of Business Administration will teach you how to run and grow a business – not just launch it. Our MBA, the nation’s number one program of its kind, will allow you to ‘learn by doing’ through workshops with industry leaders; intensive group work; and tackling real-world issues. You will graduate with the skills and knowledge to build and lead future enterprises in a digital, hyper-connected world. 

5. Marketing

Reaching out to your customer as early and often as possible is vital; their needs and what they are willing to pay for will dictate your startup. Marketing research will play a crucial role here, helping you identify and measure your products worth and who your target audience will be. This, teamed with your ability to create engaging and relevant content for a multitude of channels, will go a long way in helping you establish individual brand identity.

Remember you don’t need to commit to a Masters level degree. Depending on what your professional goals are, a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in Marketing might tick all the right boxes.