College Degree: Should it be required for entry-level sales jobs?

Full transparency: I was an English major who dropped out to pursue a career in sales. I was able to get an SDR job that propelled me into a relatively successful career. I live a comfortable, prosperous life and have personally learned much more as an SDR/AE than I ever did in school.


Education is important, but often requires it's recipients to shoulder ridiculous debt with limited opportunity post-graduation. Lots of people who go to fancy schools with prestigious degrees end up working in sales anyway.


Do you think companies should continue requiring a degree as a prerequisite for entry-level sales jobs?

👥 Hiring
11
dunndraper
Personal Narrative
8
National Account Manager
There is no better teacher than the school of hard knocks.
salesnerd
WR Officer
6
Head of Growth
No.

Just because you have a college degree doesn’t make you instantly more qualified for a job. If you spent those years doing something that prepared you for the job, I consider that to be the same thing. 
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
0
Account Executive
Right, and often times people think they're entitled to a job because of the degree. Two of the best reps I've ever worked with hustled selling cars before they got into B2B. Didn't have the degree, but they were hungry. 
Premium_User
Fire Starter
3
Sales Manager
Let's separate it from the "knowledge", because the days of needing to go to college because it was the only place you could learn about your industry are long behind us.

I think you need to look past the qualification and look to what skills and abilities it indicates you SHOULD have coming out the far side of it. Someone with a bachelors degree should be reasonably be expected to be able to demonstrate higher-order critical thinking, rather than just parroting the pitch that marketing gave them. 

A college degree isn't the only way to build up your critical thinking skills, but it helps. 

I used to work in HR. The only reason most companies ask for college degrees is to screen candidates, and because they see their competitors doing the same.
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
0
Account Executive
I agree with this, lots of companies are posting "Bachelors degree or equivalent practical experience" these days. The degree is a good indicator, but it shouldn't be a road block for a person with the right skills/mindset. 
vizionz
Politicker
2
President
No, not for entry level. In fact, *most* sales positions shouldn't require a degree. Experience here is the most important factor. Entry-level = starting point (no degree needed).
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
1
Account Executive
Spot on. Barrier to entry needs to be lowered. 
Trinity
WR Officer
1
BusDev
Nope, skills can be taught
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
0
Account Executive
Spot on. Skills are learned in practice, not theory. Thanks for the input @Trinity 
ihatecomingupwithusernames
Good Citizen
1
AE
I like this post. I had a similar journey. Education is nice and important, but you can be educated without school. 
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
1
Account Executive
Facts! Love the way you phrased that. What advice do you have for people coming out of high school that aren't sure about what they want to do in life?
ihatecomingupwithusernames
Good Citizen
1
AE
Good question. I’d say try a little school and work. Find some balance and don’t be afraid of taking some risk and adventure. You’ll figure it out and doing a bit of everything right out of school will give you better exposure than just sitting in a classroom all day. 
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
0
Account Executive
Amazing, couldn't agree more. I think one of the biggest benefits of college is getting away from home and out of your comfort zone. Thing is you don't need to take on debt and follow the same path as everyone else to do that. You're so wealthy at that age in terms of time and energy, so risk and adventure as you say should be embraced. Thanks for the input @ihatecomingupwithusernames !
LoneMaverick
Opinionated
1
Strategic Account Leader
Probably not and they often are not but lazy recuiters use them as a way to filter out applicants.
JordyA
Good Citizen
1
Director of Enterprise Sales
No, entry level means entry level for a reason.
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
0
Account Executive
That's right, and college is a barrier to entry in some cases. 
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
1
Account Executive
Going to have to agree with the crowd and agree that it’s not necessary.
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
1
Account Executive
I think this is something that needs to be talked about more frankly. 
SalesPharaoh
Big Shot
1
AM BDR
Hell no! Especially for communication heavy work??
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
0
Account Executive
Yep, you don't learn business communication skills in school. Good point!
LordBusiness
Politicker
1
Chief Revenue Officer
I'd say negative on the degree requirement for selling, one of my VP's never finished school.  
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
0
Account Executive
Love hearing stories like that. If you apply yourself you can make anything happen. 
CaneWolf
Politicker
1
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
No, no, no, no. And I say this as somebody's whose college and education included a sales training curriculum (which was legit).

There are absolutely fields that require going to college. Examples of those fields include in teaching, the sciences and engineering. Sales is not the same way. Look at how many people come from Underwater Basket Weavingesque majors and then crush it in sales. That being said, way too many people in the sales profession probably should've spent more time in writing/business communications classes.


Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
1
Account Executive
Such a great perspective. To your point about business communication, it's always funny to see someone with a prestigious degree who can't seem to string a paragraph together lol 
Archivist
Contributor
1
Sales Manager
No! 

I have no degree but can hold a conversation with titans of my industry. 

A degree in most cases is just a barometer of can you stick it out in the suck.

I’ve met plenty of reps with a degree who plain suck at everything about sales. I’ve met others with no degree working some of the biggest deals I’ve ever seen. 

Sales especially entry level sales is all about grit not who can get in debt the fastest
SADNESSLieutenant
Politicker
1
Officer of ♥️
NAH - I didnt get one and I did well
Chep
WR Officer
1
Commercial Account Executive
Wish I saw this post before i decided to graduate during a global pandemic with 23k in student loans, but luckily uncle sam stopped my loan payments so that has been clutch
privateryan
Politicker
1
Director of Sales
I’d say no; I have a college degree and can’t really say it helped me when I was in an intro role. 
alecabral
Arsonist
1
Director - Digital Sales Transformation
I don't think it should be a hard requirement...
FromaBlankPerspective
Politicker
1
District Manager
No, but at least it builds your alcohol tolerance and gives you a few more years with your soul.
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
0
Account Executive
One of those things will serve you well in sales ;)
MSPSales
Politicker
0
Account Executive
Nah you can learn everything necessary by doing the job 
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