College Degree Advice

31 Replies

Hi BP community,

I am not really new to BP I have been involved for over a year now, listened to basically every podcast (many more than once), read a handful of the books, and actually purchased my first investment property earlier this year. Over the past few years it has become more apparent to me than I have a passion for entrepreneurship and more specifically for real estate investing. 

All of that being said I recently got out of the military and am looking forward to the next chapter of my life. I have started going back to college with the plan of getting a business degree, really just because in my mind that makes the most sense. I do not think that a degree is extremely necessary for me to obtain with goals of being a full time real estate investor one day, however because of my situation with the military I have the GI bill available - which basically means I can get to go to school for free. So not going seems like it would be a waste since I know that the cost is the reason most people might not go to college. -- Also the govt pays me money for living along the way, so all the more reason to go to school

My main question is if there is anyone that can relate to my situation what type of degree would you propose that I pursue?? Im currently going to Auburn University and the have business degrees such as finance and entrepreneurship... but I do not know which one makes the most sense with my goals in mind. Also not to get too into the military benefits but I have a lottt of free schooling available, like roughly 8 years worth.. not that I intend to go to school that long.

I understand that it takes time to become a full time investor and that I will need income to bankroll my investments, and to receive loans etc. I do not know what type of actual job I will want in the real world I just know I want it to be related to Real Estate. I could go more in depth but this is already longer than I wanted it to be. Thank you to anyone who puts in their 2 cents.


I was a veteran who went and got his degree and I'm quite happy I did.

I do underwriting for the SBA now (which includes lots of commercial RE)  and I buy real estate on the side which is growing nicely, I'm happy with both.

If you can go to school for free I say do it. People say it's not worth it, but that doesn't apply if it's paid for.

@Aaron Millis  

Free.99 is an excellent price to pay for a college education!  

When i got my degree in business, the first 2 years were mostly introductory classes to the core paths; accounting, economics, finance, marketing, management, and Computer Information Systems.  That was great to get a baseline in all the areas before taking higher level courses in my major.

All paths are good, but when it comes to RE investing, I think marketing and accounting are the most useable skills that will lead to success.  Marketing will help you bring in $$$ and accounting will help you make sure that getting wasted.

Hi Aaron, 

I just enrolled in college last year myself. There's a shelf life of 15 years from when you ETS to use the GI bill, and I was getting close to losing it. I started off thinking I wanted to pursue business, but once I started taking classes I realized it wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. I found a school that offered a BS in Marketing and Entrepreneurship that looked much more in line with what I enjoyed. I think either would be good, but if you're not enjoying the classes you're taking you won't learn as much. Any degree is better than no degree so look over the class options and find something you will be passionate about. 

Good Luck!

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Hey Aaron!

If I were you....(and I graduated from Auburn)... I would go for a degree in finance, taking specialized real estate classes and maybe a few investment classes thrown in.  I think you will still have to take a couple of basic accounting courses with this degree.  You should probably go and talk to one of the business college academic advisors.  Look them up on the AU website.

I was in your situation about 5 years ago. If your main thing is going to be investing I would just go for a degree you are interested.  I took the Real estate BBA program at Temple but I got the most value out of the finance classes and not the real estate classes. I would say marketing would be good but most of what they teach in marketing is obsolete to me personally. So just pick something you are interested in!

Hi Aaron,

I think you have a great mindset.  There is going to be a lot of overlap with classes for most of the business majors.  I would look at the individual classes you are required to take, and go with the major that has the most classes that appeal to you.

If it was me, I would probably go with finance because I strongly believe that strong financial literacy is critical to success in business and investing.

Im not military but im a firm believer in education and taking full advantage of the GI bill. You put your life on the line so the least we (American ppl) can do is pay for your college. I would peruse a degree in finance or business. both are highly transferable and can get you a W2 at almost any company. the W2 will help you get financing for your RE career. I would also look into getting a VA loan asap and start house haking and take it from there.

Most importantly thank you for your service!   

WAR EAGLE!  :-D  I don't have any advice for you about what to major in as I wasn't into real estate when I went to Auburn, but thank you for your service!  I was in the Army and miss it terribly.  (I got medically retired last year.)  Good luck with your plans!  :-)

@Aaron Millis ,

Props to you for everything you've accomplished!    

I would suggest doing the finance degree, and do a minor or specialization  in real estate!     There's going to be a ton of overlap, and then whether you decide to do corporate or real estate, it will help you in either place!    Don't underestimate the power of being an alumni, and the connections you will make and build because of it!

Hi @Aaron Millis !

I too am a veteran, and utilized the GI to go to undergrad for business management/finance, and then on to law school. While this is a lot more school than most people want to go to, I find that it has been extremely helpful. I'm new to investing, but having practiced in real estate law, I have organically built a network of lenders, agents, investors, contractors and the like. I'm now in a position where I have the income to begin investing strongly, and the network of team members to make big things happen.

Everyone has a different path, but thought I'd share mine in the event it has any appeal to someone with 8 free years of schooling available!

Best of luck!

Accounting is the language of business, finance and investing. If you want to do management or be an entrepreneur, understanding accounting is invaluable. If you don't like accounting you do not have to get your degree in accounting but taking more than the minimum is highly recommended. 

The first thing you need to do is make a decision on what you want to do for a living. Keep in mind that wanting to be a full time investor does not require any formal education. Decide what you really want to do with the understanding that you may be doing it till you are 65. 

Full time investing is a dream until you get into it so don't count on it. Get a education to achieve a goal not because it is free. The fact is it is not free tax payers are paying to put you through school so you have a responsibility not to waste their money.

Go to school to achieve a employment goal or get out and find a job that will hopefully finance your investing and maybe enjoy.

Good to know an investor near me. I live in Columbus (about 45 minutes away).  I'm fairly new to BP but have already started investing in real estate. I currently have 2 rentals and also pursuing a bachelors degree in Accounting. I chose accounting before I even got into real estate which I'm glad I did because I know that my accounting knowledge will help me in my property investments. I have a year left until I finish with my bachelors degree and then after that I plan to get my masters so I could get my CPA. To answer your question though, I would say go for a degree that you believe you'll enjoy. When having a career, you can save up and keep investing in real estate. There's a lot of material online that you can learn from so use that to your advantage. If you're ever in Columbus then let me know and maybe we discuss more about real estate. 

@Aaron Millis I recently left the active army to pursue life as a real estate agent / investor and college student to get my MBA with a finance concentration.

Pros: learning about the time value of money and how to calculate the net present value of a project is absolutely mind blowing. So is taking a future arbitrage opportunity and paying for it in the future. It has made me make financial decision in completely different ways than I previously did and I am super thankful for the education. Additionally, it provides a great backup!

Cons: GI Bill money does not get counted toward your income because it is irregular. If you take on a job like me as a real estate agent it is difficult finding a bank to loan due to not having 2 years worth of new job history. So despite having several thousand dollars in liquid cash I have to find more creative ways to finance.

Despite the difficulties I think the benefits outweigh the issues. You can become an investor without it, but being able to speak the language of finance, think like a banker, and write a business plan will take you a long way to build credibility.

Besides with 8 years, you can take it slow with only a few classes online while you work and invest!

I have a different take on someone going to get their business degree. I truly think what has made me successful has been able to draw from different skill sets and knowledge sets to apply to business. I have my undergrad business degree, but I also have my teaching degree. The teaching degree has helped me in designing coaching, and mentoring programs for my employees. My belief is if you offer a specific rote skill you are easily replaced, the ability to think and draw in different points of view and knowledge areas makes you irreplaceable.

My standard recommendation for anyone thinking of business school is:
- plan for two degrees, your undergrad and your MBA.
- for you undergrad pick something you want to learn about and a topic you would love to become highly knowledgeable about - history, art, chemistry, engineering, music, whatever it is. Enroll and work hard and learn as much as you can.
- finish your undergrad and then enroll and do your MBA

You then have a foundation of knowledge that can help you in your business career.

I’d say business or finance. But mostly because of WHO you will be networking with. Get to know your fellow student even though there will likely be a age gap due to your service. Your network will make a big difference especially if you intend to stay local after you graduate.

I am not a big believer in college but if I were to choose the degrees that apply to this game, they would be finance and accounting being the most applicable. 

Hi @Aaron Millis - I would definitely take advantage of the free educational opportunities. Knowledge is power and business courses such as accounting and finance will be very beneficial. Along the way, I'm sure entrepreneurship will be discussed. It's a win-win situation. Good luck! 

I am apparently good with numbers according to my friends(bachelors in math) and I am also a newb so maybe I don't know how much math is to come so maybe I am biased to an irrational degree but here are my thoughts.

So far the math is pretty simple in real estate and I havent seen people using too many advanced math techniques. Finance would be cool but Im not sure how hard it would be to just learn it on your own and in the field hands on or using a financial specialist. I would look towards a major that gets you mucho $$$ for a job. If finance can get you a great high paying job then why the heck not do it? If you can earn a lot more capital majoring in something else then I would think that would be a good way to go because lack of capital is a big barrier to entry that is cutting me down right now but of course I live in high price Cali.

Thank you to everyone for your input!


It's a specialized business degree, you can make good money (starting $65k) in the construction field right out of college (and while in college with a required internship). I think the skills learned in college and as a construction project manager are the most beneficial to a real estate career because you will understand the ins and outs of construction and the management. Not all schools have this program, but you will stand out in the real estate or business crowd with this degree.

@Aaron Millis get the business degree. You will learn lots of things in school that you can apply to your business. As an added benefit it makes you more marketable by giving you better credentials. After school you will need to build a track record, which jumping into the business and learning. Another think to consider, if they will pay for 8 years, maybe an MBA is a good idea. My company only hires MBA for any management positions, regardless of experience. The great thing about education is it is the one thing nobody can take away from you. Even if you loose your job, lose your business, lose your house, you still have that degree.

Good luck and thanks for your service.

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