Planning for Business Success While Still in College

Many people see college as a social rite of passage as much as a time to get an education and prepare for a job. While you should certainly give yourself permission to have fun from time to time, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of why you are there in the first place. If you start preparing for success in business while you’re still an undergraduate, you’ll graduate with many skills and advantages your peers won’t have. Here are some tips that can help you hit the post-graduation ground running.

Be Smart About Student Loans

There’s nothing wrong with taking out student loans. Student loans are one of the few smart types of debt you can assume, helping you get the education you need to ensure a higher salary. However, you also need to shop and budget carefully when it comes to student loans. Be sure to do your research so you ensure that you are getting the best interest rate and repayment plan possible. You should also borrow only as much as you need. Keep in mind that the most expensive school that accepts you may not necessarily be the best.


It’s never too early to start networking. Your professors, your classmates and anyone you meet through professional organizations are all potentially helpful contacts. Some people are uncomfortable with the concept of networking because they feel it is insincere, but if you are truly a good networker, the opposite is true. Effective networking is about establishing genuine relationships. Having a real interest in people and engaging with them will create connections that you may maintain for decades.

Start a Business

Businesses start somewhere, including your room. Your initial investment will be time and equipment, which can be a reliable computer you can buy refurbished. You can accept freelance work or sell things to make money online. This money can go to your living expenses or savings for future ventures. Moreover, the experience will provide you with insights on running a business and dealing with people.

Look Ahead to the MBA

Many people who have high aspirations for business success see the MBA as a kind of educational holy grail. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind about an MBA. First, in general, the best programs prefer candidates who have a few years of work experience rather than those just out of their undergraduate program. Second, one of the major benefits of getting this degree is the connections you make, so those networking skills you honed as an undergraduate will serve you will. Third, not all programs are created equal. You should aim to go to the best school you can get into. This means that it’s never too early to start thinking about where you’d like to get your MBA even as an undergraduate, not because you are going to go to graduate school right away but because you can start laying the groundwork that will make you irresistible to top selection committees in a few years’ time.

Set Goals

Setting short, medium and long-term goals is key to success. This can also help you see where goals follow from one another and what you expect to get from pursuing each one. For example, you’ll have a different trajectory depending on whether your ambition is to return home to take over the family business, to become the CEO of a major international corporation or to be a startup entrepreneur.

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