Can an MBA Help you Become a Better Entrepreneur?

So you're a budding entrepreneur, and you've got your sights set high, just as they should be. You look to entrepreneurial greats like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, and you learn that not only did they not pursue and advanced degree, but they didn't even finish college.

Perhaps you've considered the possibility of going back to school to get an MBA to better prepare you for the challenges you'll face as an entrepreneur. On the other hand, you may think you don't need it because you see examples of successful, degree-less entrepreneurs everywhere. Of course, you certainly don't need an MBA. But here's how it may help you in your future entrepreneurial goals:

1. An MBA will teach you the business lingo you need to convince investors.
If anything, getting an MBA degree will teach much of the business language that you may not know. Starting and maintaining a business requires meetings with investors, lawyers, and many other specialized professionals. When you go to business school, you'll learn about the lingo so that you can be more effective and persuasive on the funding front.

As female entrepreneur Virginia Raemy notes in an interview with The Next Women, getting funding for her start up was possible precisely because she had an MBA.

2. An MBA gives you an instant network of like-minded professionals to help you nurture and achieve your goals. 
Entrepreneurs, as you probably know by now, are a very different breed of animal. Most of your friends probably aren't entrepreneurs themselves. When you enroll in an MBA program, you'll meet hundreds of people who are just like you. They share the same dreams and goals. In this environment, you'll be more motivated to follow through with your business plan when you're surrounded by those who want to help you succeed. Think of it as instant networking.

For example, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business offers specific networking events for women entrepreneurs! Most B schools offer similar opportunities uniquely tailored to women.

3. More MBA programs offer concentrations in entrepreneurship now than ever before.
You may be reticent to jump on the MBA bandwagon because you think that most of the courses are geared toward those who want to work for businesses, not found them. While this may have been true in the past, now, more and more programs are offering specific entrepreneur concentrations so that you can learn all the skills it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, as noted in this Reuters article.

Don't get me wrong-an MBA is a serious investment, and if you can't afford it now, it's better to wait until you can or consider options. At the end of the day, and MBA isn't absolutely essential for success. But it might be able to get you to success more quickly. Good luck!

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She enjoys writing about women in the workplace, education, small business trends and more. Originally from Hartford, Mariana is an expert on education in Connecticut. Mariana welcomes your comments below!


Anonymous said...

MBA not only helps to become a better entrepreneur it also helps to increase job opportunities in many ways, especially in a competitive job market like today.

Deb Bailey said...

Hi Abigail, that's true. Having an MBA can help job applicants to stand out from the crowd. Thanks for your comments!

Nic Windley said...

Great article positioning the positives and I especially like your point about being able to connect with investors better. If you're still wondering what is an MBA course really for it's certainly not a golden ticket to a better career as you need to apply yourself long after completing the course, however it can signal to potential employers when combined with your experience what your contribution to an organisation might be and the value you could bring.

Deborah A Bailey said...

Good points, Nic. Thanks very much for your comments!

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