Back
The War Room
Question
Post

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?

๐Ÿ‘ฅ Hiring
9
dunndraper
Old School Bravo
National Account Manager
There is no better teacher than the school of hard knocks.
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
+8
Account Executive
THIS โฌ†๏ธ๐Ÿ‘
GeneralCorp
Notable Contributor
+14
General of The War Room
NO.
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
+8
Account Executive
The commander has spoken.ย 
salesnerd
WR Officer
+16
Head of Growth
No.

Just because you have a college degree doesnโ€™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.ย 
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
+8
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.ย 
SADNESSLieutenant
Arsonist
+8
SDR
FAX
Premium_User
Good Citizen
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.ย 

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

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
+8
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.ย 
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
+8
Account Executive
Spot on. Barrier to entry needs to be lowered.ย 
Trinity
WR Officer
+7
BusDev
Nope, skills can be taught
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
+8
Account Executive
Spot on. Skills are learned in practice, not theory. Thanks for the input @Trinityย 
ihatecomingupwithusernames
Good Citizen
AE
I like this post. I had a similar journey. Education is nice and important, but you can be educated without school.ย 
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
+8
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
AE
Good question. Iโ€™d say try a little school and work. Find some balance and donโ€™t be afraid of taking some risk and adventure. Youโ€™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.ย 
Show 1 more replies
LoneMaverick
Opinionated
+2
Strategic Account Leader
Probably not and they often are not but lazy recuiters use them as a way to filter out applicants.
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
+8
Account Executive
Good point. 100% agree
YoureMuted
Opinionated
+1
AE
Nope
Jo
JordyA
Good Citizen
+1
Director of Enterprise Sales
No, entry level means entry level for a reason.
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
+8
Account Executive
That's right, and college is a barrier to entry in some cases.ย 
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
Going to have to agree with the crowd and agree that itโ€™s not necessary.
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
+8
Account Executive
I think this is something that needs to be talked about more frankly.ย 
SalesPharaoh
Politicker
+8
AM BDR
Hell no! Especially for communication heavy work??
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
+8
Account Executive
Yep, you don't learn business communication skills in school. Good point!
LordBusiness
Politicker
+7
Chief Revenue Officer
I'd say negative on the degree requirement for selling, one of my VP's never finished school.ย ย 
Derpfrickinvalu
Arsonist
+8
Account Executive
Love hearing stories like that. If you apply yourself you can make anything happen.ย 
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
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
+8
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 lolย 
Archivist
Good Citizen
Sales Manager
No!ย 

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

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

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

Sales especially entry level sales is all about grit not who can get in debt the fastest
SADNESSLieutenant
Arsonist
+8
SDR
NAH - I didnt get one and I did well
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
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
saygrace
Valued Contributor
+5
Sales Executive
Nope.ย 
BCD
Politicker
+6
BDR
noย 
privateryan
Politicker
+5
Director of Sales
Iโ€™d say no; I have a college degree and canโ€™t really say it helped me when I was in an intro role.ย 
MSPSales
Notorious Answer
+5
Account Executive
Nah you can learn everything necessary by doing the jobย 
6
The most ridiculous requirement you've seen for an "entry level" sales position?
Question
20
42
Types of College Degrees Held?
Question
77
Does Your Degree Matter?
+164
No_ty , ย  chinch32 , ย  ChicagoCloser1717 ย  and 164 people voted
*Voting in this poll no longer yields commission.
7
Job Market - Hard Hiring for Entry Level
Question
12