Does an MBA better prepare you for entrepreneurship?
Is it worthwhile to pursue an MBA (and all the costs associated with it) if you are planning on becoming an entrepreneur and launching your own startup or should you focus that time, energy and money directly on building your business? Are there advantages to an MBA that will help you operate better or get more funding?
You don't learn how to be an entrepreneur in a classroom. I went to Babson and I learned so much, but the hands-on experience I gained while working at a startup taught me much more about this career than any course did. MBAs aren't necessary in the startup world. If you feel like you need more skills, then look into Boston Startup School. That program was the ideal MBA-alternative for entrepreneurs.
OMG...No! I have an MBA from a good school and it helped me in the corporate world. But no way did we cover anything remotely related to entrepreneurship. I've had to learn through entrepreneurs' groups, partnering with successful entrepreneurs, and 'hard knocks'.
Nothing beats experience.
An MBA is a piece of paper, experience is pure gold.
Depends on where you get your MBA, I had 4 courses in starting a business with professors who were serial entrepreneurs. I went to the Zicklin School of Business in NYC. What an education. I thank God for my MBA because without it, I couldn't command the top dollar. The top dollar I wasn't able to achieve doing the same work without the sheepskin.
I'd start by selling something and see how it goes. I did my MBA in my 40's, once I had a lot of hands on experience of managing things, and it was useful in helping me understand what had gone on. An MBA without hands on experience leads to dillusional behaviour because it is academic and theoretical; what matters most is how you apply these ideas in the real world and for that you need to have done it for a while. Delay the MBA, sell stufff and see if the entrepreneual things is for you before you invest in an MBA. You can learn a lot for free anyway. Take a look at http://businessgrowthguides.com/landing/free-training and my daily business blog www.markballett.com or invest a few dollars and buy my book at http://www.amazon.com/Ideas-Small-Business-Success-ebook/dp/B009BV78H2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349806116&sr=8-1&keywords=mark+ballett it will give you a much better return on capital than any MBA and actually that is what business is all about, so why not start where you mean to go. Mark
I would never say too anyone not to get an MBA, but if your dream is entrepreneurship I don't think it will be much help. You need to have the basic understanding of running a business like accounting/P&L, marketing , sales, HR, ETC. Even an MBA will not help with funding, funding will come because you have a better mouse trap and the VC's want a part of it. Find the field you want to work in, get a job and learn the business, then go out on your own.
An MBA prepares the student to understand and deal with the major elements - finance, marketing, sales, operations, HR, etc. - that he or she would find in a large business. Unless the program is focused on startups, I would say that knowledge is very helpful but not sufficient. Some universities and community colleges offer shorter programs aimed at startups, and the class time plus the involvement with other prospective entrepreneurs would probably be more valuable than a 'standard' MBA (plus get you back in the world faster).
In short, nope. The curriculum for most MBA programs is by definition 5-10 years out of date. Things are changing so fast in the startup world that whatever you're taught will be mostly irrelevant by the time you get out. That's only going to get worse.
Moreover, most MBA programs emphasize analysis and planning skills, with VERY LITTLE in the way of hands-on management or collaboration, and almost nothing specific to the day-to-day skills required for starting a company. In many ways, MBA programs teach you to think like a big-company specialist and reward deep, labor-and-time-intensive thinking.
Your business plan and pro-forma model and detailed marketing surveys mean exactly nothing when it comes to today's real-time startup marketplace.
Even though an MBA gives you a general perspective about the business and corporate world, it is very limited and narrows down the assumptions that exist in the real world, particularly when it comes to start and run a new business, where things are quite different and there is no recipe for success. In my personal case, I recently got my MBA and can say that most of these programs prepare students to get into the increasingly tough job market, I mean, to be employees rather than employers.
Hi Stephen, just dive right into it.
Don't even consider talking to those VCs or Angels that think you'll need an MBA.
There is nothing more defining to get funding than something you create that
others want. When that's combined with the fire in your belly, that will get others
coming your way.
If you did an MBA, you won't give yourself a chance to fail or endure, so skip it.
I had a start up and learned a lot from it, now I'm working on my MBA. I can say that I'm 100% sure that if I had it to do over again, I'd take the MBA first. While there are many things you will not learn in a class room, the more knowledge you have BEFORE you start, the more likely you will be successful. I think it's the equivalent of working smarter, not harder. If you have a good understanding of business before you start up then you are more likely to run an efficient, organized, competent business. There's a reason most businesses fail and I don't think over-education is anywhere near the top. It's usually because people with real skills/ideas don't understand how to run their business. So, is it worthwhile? Absolutely. Is it necessary? No. Will it prepare you properly? Probably not. Will it help you adapt and change? Certainly.
I absolutely think an MBA will help for two main reasons:
(1) It prepares you to think critically and supplies you with the references needed to write and execute a business plan which is helpful in vetting your ideas and getting others involved.
(2) It is invaluable for building a network of connections for partners, funders, mentors, and collaborators.
Of course, if you can bootstrap a business without an MBA, then your may actually be more successful. Remember, MOST entrepreneurs do not have an MBA.
If you do decide to get an MBA choose a school that will help you get the references, experiences, and networks that will help you most. A program that focuses on internships rather than case studies would be my recommendation.
Hello Stephen! I hope your project is going well.
I like your topic. However, I believe it may be highly controversial. I would like to share my personal opinion. I don't believe that MBA will make you a good entrepreneur. Good ideas and ability to draw people together to a common goal will. However, what MBA will give you is a set of skills that help you to analyse ideas/situations in a structured way. I believe this structured thinking can help you to create robust analysis. In its turn, such analysis, together with negotiation skills, can lead to better funding opportunities. But, and it is a big one, it is only valid if you have a GOOD IDEA first. I view any degree, including MBA, as a set of tools that you can apply in different context. However, if you start with nothing (no good ideas) even a good toolkit won't help you.
Whether or not to get an MBA is really going to depend on your situation and your personal motivation for getting one. Getting an MBA will take a considerable amount of time and money. I went back to school to get my MBA in Entrepreneurship after over 10 years with startups, including my own, to build out my network, to generate and vet new startup ideas, and to get a firmer understanding of the financial aspects of business (I'm an engineer by training). You definitely don't need an MBA to become an entrepreneur and I would highly recommend getting experience first as you'll not only get more out of the MBA experience, you will also be able to provide far better insight into the class discussions. Also, more importantly than the MBA, surround yourself with trustworthy mentors that have relevant experience from which you can learn.
One advantage of enrolling in an MBA program is the fact that you will be eligible for the numerous business plan competitions that are offered by universities throughout the world. Most of these competitions require the participation of MBA students. Winning a business plan competition typically provides for a variety of in-kind contributions such as legal and accounting help as well as much-needed non-dilutive cash to get your company going.
The greatest enterpreneurs have always been people with less than a college education and even drop-outs. The MBA is highly oversold and overvalued. Hard work and creativity, the kind you won't find in the staid educational systems in most countries, won't do it. Save your money and hire a consultant who DOES know what s/he's doing. Have them mentor you, then go out and make good.
It absolutely does help, although it is not all you need. MBAs typically focus on solving the problems of larger companies. You would get 80% of the value by taking only a few classes, Strategic Management, Marketing, and Finance. Even if you take those at the undergrad level you must do something. Too many entrepreneurs are unprepared without understanding the ABCs of business.
I will tell you from personal experience, you do NOT need an MBA to excel in business. I have an MBA with a focus in entrepreneurship studies, I've also owned companies. I learned more from owning my own company than I did getting the MBA.. Seriously, an MBAs is unnecessary cost, and a waste of time and money... not to mention, the a big fat student debt you will incur and will take forever to pay off, and the interest keeps piling up to be twice the cost of the useless degree. There is so much more you will learn hands on than by running after this piece of paper.... Moreover, everybody these days have an MBA so what's the point? It's easy to get and therefore highly competitive... when something is so abundantly available the value is weakened. It's the same as everybody having a high school diploma. Save your money and your time. Your hands-on experience will be sharper than MBA classes. I know from practical experience. I am keeping it real and tell you as it is. My best wishes!
My opinion is that you need some business knowledges but you don't need an "MBA". An MBA is mainly designed for managers that will have growing responsibilities in an MNC. Entrepreneurship is a little bit different.
If you live in the US business education like MBA are extremely expensive and I guess you would feel better having this money in your bank account.
Nevertheless, if you have no business background at all it may a bit difficult for you to start and operate your business.
You can take some courses or read some good books. Now if you want an MBA I know that William Howard Taft University organize MBA in Entrepreneurship. It's organize online, they are accredited and really cost efffective compare to traditional MBA's.
You can have also a look at my website www.athenasia.com
We assist entrepreneur to create their business plans but we don't offer templates or books or any "Do It Yourself" packages, instead we train and coach the entrepreneurs to come up with their own plan. This enables not only to get ownership on the plan created but also, and this is what interest you, get general business knowledges: http://www.athenasia.com/business-planning.html
When your business is growing Athenasia can help you with strategic performance management and again you are receiving training, coaching and consulting to develop your own. You can have a look at: http://www.athenasia.com/performance-management.html
This is the alternative way we have developed.
Get a few years of experience in your field first. Save money to get your MBA and start your company. With good experience and an MBA, you'll be more credible especially if you want to raise money - angel or venture capital.
I agree with the the other gentlemen that responded......I would wait on the MBA....get the practical experience