When you hear stories of people like Steve Jobs, Matt Mullenweg, and others who dropped out of college but nevertheless were able to start successful businesses, it's easy to start assuming that you, too, can find success without a college degree. While this may be true for some people, it's important to keep in mind that these self-made billionaires without college degrees are the exceptions to the rule -- not the rule itself.

For the vast majority, attending business school is a very valid and important first step towards opening a successful business. Not only does attending business school result in a diploma that will cause others to take you more seriously, but it also leads to the following intangible benefits that will serve you well as you navigate the business world.

Intangible Benefit #1: Networking opportunities.

The saying "it's not what you know, but who you know" is definitely true in the business world. In school, you will be associating with all sorts of people who share your interest in business but who have talents and skills that differ from your own. As you mature in the business world, you'll find that these contacts you first made in business school come in handy. For instance, maybe you'll be running a tech company and find yourself yearning to add graphic design to your services. You'll probably remember someone from business school who was interested in design -- that person can point you towards some reliable designers or partner with your company.

Business school professors are often people with real-world business experience, so networking with them is invaluable, too. You can learn from their past mistakes so you don't end up making the same ones. Or you might meet someone who you really connect with and who is willing to serve as your mentor as you begin growing and developing your own business.

Intangible Benefit #2: A broad, encompassing world view.

You glean business ideas from what you know. The more you learn about the world, the greater the chances are that you'll come up with a truly unique, innovative, useful and profitable business idea. Most business schools value diversity and will expose you to people with a wide array of backgrounds. Talk to these people -- learn about their experiences and their unique world views. Doing so may help you identify that little niche in the market that your business can fill.

Intangible Benefit #3: The chance to bounce ideas off of other knowledgeable people.

An important first step of starting a business is to bounce your ideas off of other people and see what they think of them before you invest a lot of money. However, it's important to consider who you're bouncing your ideas off of. If you're asking your friends who work as teachers, doctors, lawyers, and chefs whether they think your business ideas are good, their opinions may not carry as much weight as the opinions of other business owners. Going to business school will put you in touch with many other business people who you can discuss your ideas with. You might even find someone to partner with.

Intangible Benefit #4: The chance to explore and consider possible business ideas without real financial risk.

A lot of business people try several ideas before they find one that is successful. This can be pretty costly -- in terms of both time and money. In business school, however, you will likely be assigned many projects. You can use these projects to experiment with your real business ideas and see how well they actually play out.

For instance, if you have a project that requires you to design a marketing strategy for a fake business, use this opportunity to come up with a marketing strategy for a business you're actually thinking of starting. You may confirm your assumption that the business is a great idea, or you may find out that the business is incredibly difficult to market and therefore not as great of an idea as you originally thought. Either way, you're out a lot less time and money than if you were to have actually started the business and a marketing campaign.

Attending business school is rarely a waste of time. It may mean putting off starting your business for a few years, but when you do graduate and start your business, you'll be more equipped to do so properly. For more information, you can contact local business schools like Academy Canada