I get queried all the time about entrepreneurship at business school, and after my HBS reunion, I’m going to say YES! An MBA is great for entrepreneurship. Whether you are here in Silicon Valley, or anywhere in the world. Business education is about a way of thinking, much more than it is about actual techniques. The latter is useful too, and that’s why there’s such a thing as a core, but the rest of it is really about imagination.
I’m rushed with deadlines (still!) so I am going to cheat and repost a piece I read on the Official GMAT Blog. They have such great research over there, that it’s worth reading their column on the MBA and entrepreneurship:
You know that starting a new business takes passion, focus, tenacity, ambition, innovative ideas, and a willingness to take risks. But success also requires solid business knowledge, management expertise, funding, and the right people—and that’s where b-school can help.
Entrepreneurs Have Common Traits
Launching a new venture typically begins with a passion for what you’re doing: 94 percent of graduating entrepreneurs in the b-school class of 2012 say that passion was their #1 motivator for starting a business venture. Not surprisingly, these aspiring entrepreneurs are also more likely to seek outlets in which to exhibit leadership qualities, including the desire to set direction, take risks, inspire others, and engage in high-level innovative thinking.
Gaining Skills to Grow and Lead Companies
No matter which MBA or master’s program they attended, 91% of class of 2012 graduating entrepreneurs said their management education was important in helping them lead and grow their businesses. It served as a business incubator, allowing them to:
- Develop their business or product ideas in a low-risk environment
- Tap into the vast array of innovative research within their programs and school for ideas and support
- Access early funding opportunities through grants and angel investors
- Find team partners and mentors within the school or through the local business community
- Network and build relationships with potential business investors and customers
Business School Is Preparing Today’s Entrepreneurs
Of the five percent of class of 2012 graduating b-school students who identified themselves as entrepreneurs, 44% reported they actually started their business while in business school and 56% planned to launch their companies after graduation. A good portion of these grads were intent on launching businesses in the products and services sector (37%), consulting (20%), and the high-tech sector (17%).
Identifying an Entrepreneurial Program
Entrepreneurship is the fifth most popular among the specific concentrations selected by GMAT test takers in TY2012. In response to this growing student interest in entrepreneurial studies, b-schools everywhere are expanding the range and availability of related course offerings, concentrations, and degree programs.
MBA alumni who reported starting their own businesses over the past decade (2000–2010) have seen quantifiable success on many levels:
53% oversee multiple employees
41% report more than $250,000 (US dollars) in total revenue in 2010
28% run businesses with a multinational focus
27% own multiple companies*
Finding Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs
Prospective students we surveyed in 2011 showed there is a strong contingent of rising entrepreneurs across a swath of b-school programs: 30% of potential candidates for full-time two-year MBAs and management master’s programs have entrepreneurial career goals, as do a quarter or more of candidates for full-time one-year MBA (29%), flexible MBA (26%), executive MBA (25%), and finance master’s (24%) programs.
So no matter where you plan to apply to graduate b-school, you’ll have plenty of fellow entrepreneurs with whom to brainstorm.
*Source: GMAC, 2011, Alumni Perspectives Survey Report