Majoring in entrepreneurship is paying off in more ways than one for graduates from the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business and its Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy.
While many entrepreneurship graduates are launching companies and working for themselves, many others are applying the skills they learned – including business development and creative problem-solving – at established companies.
“A degree in entrepreneurship and everything it teaches offers a lot of career possibilities,” said Matthew Higgins, chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the David Eccles School of Business. “A degree in entrepreneurship prepares you for many career paths. You can work for yourself, a small business, or a large corporation – they all value people with entrepreneurial skills and are willing to pay good salaries for them.”
Whatever path these students choose, they have plenty of options to find career success. One indication of this are the salaries they report after graduation.
A recent graduating class of entrepreneurship majors reported making an average salary of $69,530 per year immediately after graduating, according to a survey by the Eccles School for the 2021-22 academic year. This was the highest average salary reported by all Eccles School graduates and 13% higher than salaries reported from other majors for this period.
While these numbers are only a sample and don’t guarantee the same results, they do show the potential salary a student can make with an entrepreneurship degree. It also shows how these graduates can potentially make more than graduates in other majors.
“Entrepreneurship students are learning some of the most important skills that employers are seeking,” said Kathryn Hoffman Abby, assistant dean of business career services and corporate outreach at the Eccles School. “Our office helps connect students with jobs before and after graduations, and we have found entrepreneurship students have a lot of flexibility to pursue a broad variety of career paths.”
All business students have access to the Business Career Success office (formerly Business Career Services) at the Eccles School. It helps them from their first days on campus to graduation. Career coaches guide students through career exploration, self-branding, experiential learning and internships, and info sessions and networking events. The more students take advantage of these free services, the more they benefit.
Entrepreneurship graduates report using the Business Career Success office, and they secure a wide variety of jobs after graduation.
James Tanner “JT” Craft is one of the entrepreneurship majors who graduated in May 2023. He is currently working part-time at Cotopaxi while growing his startup, StickerArmor. He is also talking to several other startups to support their product launches and go-to-market strategies.
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“As an entrepreneurship major at the U, I have learned many valuable lessons,” Craft said. “One of the biggest takeaways was learning that as an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to take risks and not be afraid to fail. Adaptability, flexibility, and understanding one’s target market are key. I learned to think about entrepreneurship scientifically by testing and proving my ideas to find out what has the possibility to work and what doesn’t.”
He added, “I think the entrepreneurship major is valuable because of the broad range of topics and concepts that are covered within the curriculum as well as the amazing connections that you form throughout the program. It teaches students how to identify and evaluate business opportunities, how to create a business plan, and the foundation and confidence to test their ideas.”
Another entrepreneurship graduate, Mac Bohonnon, has been working in several roles at Inoca Capital Partners, a private-equity firm, since he graduated. When discussing his time in the entrepreneurship program, Bohonnon explained how his field of study helped him reach his career goals.
“When I was studying entrepreneurship, I had the ability to shape the courses the way I wanted,” Bohonnon said. “I learned that you get out of it what you put into it, which I really appreciated. I knew I probably wasn’t going to start a company, but I felt like the program really taught me to think outside the box and think entrepreneurially.”
Becky Petersen, who is also an entrepreneurship graduate, works as associate director of onboarding and training at Solairus Aviation, a private, aviation-service company. Petersen got the job through an internship and has since been promoted twice within the company.
“I think that the mindset that the entrepreneurship major builds is essential for anyone who wants to be successful in business,” Petersen said. “It teaches you to think outside the box in all aspects which can help build up any company, not just one that you create – skills that can be useful in any career are the fearlessness of applying yourself to something you have never done before and the ability to seek opportunities in all things.”
Other entrepreneurship graduates pursue many career paths, including following their dreams to become business owners, working at technology companies in the Salt Lake City area and beyond, advancing to graduate school programs, working for family-owned businesses, and much more.
What entrepreneurship graduates learn is they can adapt to any situation to add value and make an impact. Jobs of all sorts benefit from these qualities.
In addition to an entrepreneurship major, the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the Eccles School offers entrepreneurship electives, a three-course Lassonde+X program for all majors, a certificate, a minor, and a one-of-a-kind Master of Business Creation, which is available in an online, part-time format or a full-time, in-person format.
Learn more about ways to study entrepreneurship and request information on the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy website at eccles.utah.edu/entp.