Is an MBA worth it for entrepreneurs?
Is an MBA worth it? That’s a fair question to ask yourself and an incredibly important one. Not only do Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs not have MBAs, they dropped out of college before they could earn bachelor’s degrees.1 Elon Musk has several degrees, but none of them is an MBA. In an age when the Silicon Valley is booming and there’s a hot new iPhone app coming out every few months, it can seem like an MBA may not be necessary in our modern and highly connected world. And let us just say, if you have a once in a generation idea and you feel like this moment is the right time to strike, there’s nothing wrong with trying now. But we’ll also say that the Jobs, Zuckerbergs, and Gates of the world are rare.
An MBA is still a highly respected degree, and for good reason. Adding an MBA to your resume generally comes with a title change and a salary boost. In the corporate business world, it’s often required if you want your career to move forward. But is an MBA worth it for entrepreneurs who are willing to run their own company? If it’s obvious that you need more experience and you do not yet have the network and business acumen to help you succeed, then we believe it’s worth your time and money.
Develop Strategic Thinking
An idea, even an epic one, has limited value. Most entrepreneurs begin with an idea that they firmly believe is unprecedented and unique. But, according to Forbes, over 70 percent of startup founders come to the realization that their intellectual property is not a competitive advantage. Even if it’s legally protected by a patent or copyright law, the concept, product, or method in and of itself is not valuable without strategic planning and execution.
This is where business school can be immeasurably helpful. You’ll be surrounded by talented peers and professors, working with them on projects that tackle the many facets of business and management, discussing case studies, and meeting subject matter experts. Each of these activities will help you hone your strategic thinking. Good strategy requires an understanding of your target market, the competition, and the ability to change things in real-time, while not losing focus of your long-term goals.
Find Support Systems
When you attend business school, you’re essentially in a business bubble for one or two years. You’re surrounded by ambitious like-minded peers and you have the support and experience of your business professors to help guide you. This camaraderie may be the thing that helps get your business off the ground. Forbes found that mentored startups grow 3.5 times faster and raise 7 times more money.2 Starting and running a business means your attention will be constantly pulled in many directions. Having a mentor, be it a more experienced peer or a professor, can be instrumental in guiding you to focus and invest your time wisely. Their network and know-how can provide you with a roadmap that leads to higher odds of business success.
Additionally, being surrounded by highly driven people may prompt you to push past your perceived boundaries, especially after graduation. Seeing your peers and friends succeed, and having their support on your path to success, is great motivation.
Gain Global Perspectives
Even though most MBA candidates enter the program with a common goal, odds are most people come from diverse backgrounds. You may find yourself in class with someone from a completely different country with very different ideas of how to corner a market or run a business. Discussing case studies and working through projects with people from different backgrounds will help open your mind to how business is run throughout the world.
Attending a business school that provides the chance to study abroad is a great way to increase your global awareness and apply an ethical business mindset to global issues.
Grow Your Network
This has long been held as one of the biggest benefits of earning an MBA. A high-powered professional network that can connect you to people at the top of the food chain in some of the biggest companies. That can be true, you may develop a network that can deliver those types of connections. But networking is more than just amassing a group of people who you can ask for favors. When networking, you should show interest in the other people in your group and look to help them as well. It’s easy to take your network for granted, but at its core, networking allows you to stay in touch with like-minded professionals you can help, and who may be able to help you in return. And don’t be afraid to network outside of the business school. You may be able to meet engineering, computer science, or medical students who can give you insights that lead to your big break.
Invest in Yourself
There are some who say that the money you invest in an MBA would be better spent as capital toward the business you plan to start. While experience is a great teacher, there are some lessons that business school can help you learn more efficiently (and safely) than through trial and error.
If you’re ready to invest in yourself and your future goals, consider how CSUMB’s Online MBA program can help you increase your chances of success and achieve your business goals.
1 Retrieved on February 18, 2020, from content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1988080,00.html
2 Retrieved on February 18, 2020, from forbes.com/sites/abdoriani/2019/10/24/11-surprising-and-insightful-statistics-about-startups/#3c6c38816120