A Master of Business Administration (MBA) can open the door to high-paying positions in the corporate world. Does it also have value for an entrepreneur? Is the degree worth the investment for those who want to chart their own career outside a large corporation? Can the skills that are required to succeed as an entrepreneur be taught?
Many business schools believe an MBA does offer value to entrepreneurs and have introduced entrepreneurship specializations. If you’ve started your own business or are thinking about doing so, it pays to look at the benefits of an MBA.
An MBA provides familiarity with all the components that form a business, including accounting, finance, sales, marketing, and day-to-day administration. You may need to perform most or all of these functions in the early days of your business. As your business grows, you’ll have the advantage of understanding these key functions when you hire employees to take them over.
The essence of entrepreneurship is the passion that transforms an idea into a thriving business.
Passion is difficult to learn in school, but for those who have it, knowing how to get a business up and running can make all the difference in success or failure as an entrepreneur. Being confident about your business knowledge and skills will allow you to take the risks that are an inherent part of entrepreneurship. By looking at case studies of businesses that have failed, you will be better prepared to avoid making similar mistakes.
Entrepreneurship has become one of the most popular MBA degree specializations in recent years. According to Thomas Robertson, dean of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, these degrees can bring an entrepreneur up to speed in marketing, finance, and sources of capital. You could learn these things on your own, but the learning experience may be an expensive one if it affects the success of your early ventures. Robertson also points out that earning an MBA can make it easier to raise money for your business.
The best MBA entrepreneurship programs blend academic theory with real-world experience.
This often means requiring students to work in teams to set up a business venture. Some programs even provide opportunities for students to pitch their business plans to investors and venture capitalists. An MBA program can also provide an entrepreneur with valuable mentorship and networking opportunities. You may be able to connect with alumni in your sector or to complete an internship with a successful entrepreneur. The contacts you make while earning an MBA might never be available to you outside business school.
MBA programs that offer a specialization in entrepreneurship can teach you about the innovation life cycle, including how to take an idea through research and development, and introduce a new product or service. A good entrepreneurship program will help you learn how to spot emerging trends and opportunities in the market that will sustain your business over the long term.
Complete an MBA in entrepreneurship doesn’t mean that starting your own business will be your only option. An increasing number of established corporations and businesses are looking for employees with an entrepreneur’s mindset. Employers across the board expect initiative and innovation from MBA graduates.