Do entrepreneurs need an MBA?
Last updated on April 10th, 2014
Arun Jagannathan, the Founder & CEO of CrackVerbal has devised a simple test to assess your need for an MBA if you are an entrepreneur by nature. Take the test now and tell us your scores! 🙂
Entrepreneurship – A Rising Trend
In almost every MBA batch of any reputed B-School, one can find a certain cluster of students who have joined the program with the clear goal of starting their own venture instead of following the secure route of high-paying jobs. Though some people may feel that such a move is unnecessarily risky, these folks are not to be blamed, because the spirit of entrepreneurship runs in their veins!
Most entrepreneurs have some unique traits that set them apart from others – perseverance, an appetite for risk, leadership qualities, the ability to innovate and the foresightedness to grab opportunities at the right time and place.
So if some people are simply made to venture into entrepreneurship, the question begs to be asked – do they really need an MBA or is it just a passing fad? Is it really worth spending so much money on an MBA program, when you already know that you will be investing substantially in your business idea too?
Conversely, what is driving more and more entrepreneurs to get formal education and training in business management? What value addition will an MBA program provide? In our search for answers to this question, we, at CrackVerbal, surveyed some young entrepreneurs to understand their views on the subject.
Straight from the horse’s mouth!
Abhinav Jain – Founder, Alitum Solutions
The dynamic Abhinav Jain is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore. For the past 1.5 years, he has been fully engaged in his start-up Alitum Solutions, a firm that helps companies grow, by setting up business performance systems that aid de-centralization of management, inter-departmental collaboration etc. Abhinav feels that his MBA program helped him immensely to acquire practical & diversified business knowledge and develop key contacts that might come in handy in future.
The course also enhanced his self-confidence and prepared him to deal with different types of people and situations. Though he confesses that the MBA degree was accompanied by societal pressure to take up a regular job, it also worked in his favor. Abhinav has the confidence that owing to his IIM B degree, he can get back to a corporate job any time and this gives him reassurance. He believes that the educational loan he has incurred is like any other debt that accompanies entrepreneurship. So he was already mentally prepared for it.
His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? Be true to yourselves and be convinced just why you want to do an MBA!
Amit Sharma – CEO, Go Untucked
Self-motivated Amit Sharma is the founder of Go Untucked, an online apparel shopping website that prides itself on trendy designs at reasonable prices. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and has been working full-time with his startup for 2 years. He asserts that the MBA program has provided him with a general management perspective and helped him to ‘THINK BIG’.
His stint there also helped him to create a strong network of contacts, which he feels, is crucial to develop and expand his business. Amit doesn’t think that societal pressure is too much at this stage as he has learnt to take independent decisions with full faith in himself. What he feels is the hardest part of this journey is the debt that comes along with the MBA program and the entrepreneurship.
Amit’s take on the relevance of an MBA? A formal degree is not necessarily required to start your own business or even in the early stages of growth, but to scale up and raise funds in the long-run, such a program will definitely be of great use!
Nitin Pulyani – Founder, a socially adaptive learning platform
ISB alumnus Nitin Pulyani, a true IT-aficionado, established a socially adaptive learning platform for competitive tests. Nitin rationalizes the need for an MBA program for entrepreneurs by stating that a well-knit MBA program helps to augment networking and build up a strong business perspective.
For him, it was a smooth transition from corporate life to business as he knew exactly what he wanted and just needed self-motivation to turn his dreams into reality. The flip side, Nitin feels, is that it is quite hard to manage an educational loan as well as investment involved in his venture. However he feels lucky as his spouse is also earning.
His message to budding entrepreneurs? An MBA degree is certainly not mandatory –go for it only when you are clear what you want from it and how it will help grow your business!
Sameer Kamat – Founder, MBA Crystal Ball
Sameer Kamat a Cambridge University MBA, is the founder of the 1.5 years old MBA admission consulting firm, MBA Crystal Ball. He strongly feels that the knowledge, education and everything else in the MBA program was fantastic but most importantly the brand value of his alma mater worked for him! As his current venture involves helping other MBA aspirants to get into the top international schools, the Cambridge tag enhances his credibility.
After completing his MBA, Sameer moved into mergers & acquisitions, a highly sought-after field. So the general expectation from him (mostly implicit, though a few well-wishers were vocal about it) was to stick around and make lots of money. His transition from a high-paying job to a start-up did not happen with a bang -it was gradual. Only when he was convinced that the new venture had serious potential, did he transition out completely.
Sameer attended a 1-year MBA program and was lucky to have got a couple of scholarships as well. So, though the loan was a concern in the initial years, he was able to quickly pay it off and save a little as well, for a rainy day. That made his jump into entrepreneurship easier!
The words of wisdom from Sameer? Stop assuming that an MBA will convert you into successful entrepreneurs overnight! Entrepreneurship is more about having the right attitude, passion & skills and less about having a fancy degree. Start early and take small (calculated) risks. Have a ‘Plan B’ in case things don’t work out. And most importantly –keep faith and don’t let small failures stop you from trying!
The Bottom Line
Thus, while their inherent qualities fuel the spirit of an entrepreneur, the right MBA program can provide you with:
Business acumen and perspective
Credibility with your business associates
A network of contacts and like-minded professionals
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