Five Reasons You Should Get An MBA

mba

As entrepreneurs we often rely on our natural business instincts to navigate the challenges we face as small business owners. We are independent self-starters and we’re willing to teach ourselves whatever we need to know to keep our company’s running strong. While we will read books and scour the web for the answers we need, many of us fail to consider traditional M.B.A. programs as a way to help us succeed in the business world.

Fortunately for us, many business schools have emerged with great programs designed specifically with the savvy entrepreneur in mind. So, while we may have once perceived an M.B.A. as a waste of time and money, it’s definitely worth looking into again. If investing in yourself is the best way to invest in your business, why not position yourself to learn from the brightest business minds of our time?

I know the process of applying to school, studying for the GMAT, and writing essays is daunting (trust me, I’m going through it now) but the long-term rewards of having an M.B.A. are priceless.

In case you’re still in doubt, the WSJ recently provided five reasons why every entrepreneur should consider getting an M.B.A…

1. M.B.A. programs allow you to sharpen your business skills across the board- whether you need to brush up on accounting, learn new marketing tricks, or explore new business strategies, business school gives you a chance to get the skills you need to strengthen your own company.

2. Most graduate business schools offer additional perks to entrepreneur-minded students- such as specific coursework for future business owners, free campus office space, coverage in alumni magazine, and access to successful entrepreneurs as guest speakers on campus.

3. Business school is a great way to build relationships with future business leaders- with top M.B.A. programs admitting between 200 and 900 students per year, you’ll have a chance to network with classmates, alumni, and future business leaders every day.

4. M.B.A. students have unparalleled access to business-plan competitions- having the discipline required to succeed in those competitions can improve the odds of launching a profitable venture, and can help you generate valuable publicity when you compete.

5. Earning an M.B.A. is a stamp of approval- it gives you extra credibility and makes it easier for you to attract prospective partners, potential investors, and possible clients.

You obviously don’t need an M.B.A. to have a successful business, but there are clear advantages to having this great accolade attached to your name. So, if you’re looking for new ways to grow your business, it may be time to head back to school.

3 Comments

  1. Mo
    Posted August 14, 2010 at 7:29 AM | Permalink

    Great article. I would like to argue, as an entrepreneur running a business w/ customers, while currently in business school, that most on this list (probably except for #3), could play out to the exact opposite effect due to earning an MBA … for example …

    #1. Some skills acquired or lessons taught can be cookie-cutter (too general), uncreative, or outdated, which can mold minds into a box that doesn’t allow them to be innovative enough to keep or set the pace in a fast-changing business landscape. Secondly, sometimes knowing every aspect of managing a business prevents an entrepreneur from giving up the control necessary to grow.

    #2. All nice and very useful perks. However, none can drive someone to push through inevitable challenges & set-backs. Once those perks are no longer available (post-graduation), can one still cope & be resourceful w/o the campus support framework? Sometimes, too many nice things too early can soften one’s resolve.

    #4. Most people don’t succeed in business plan competitions, just by the nature of the competition. Seems they sometimes have the effect of killing someone’s desire if their ideas are shot down or marginalized — even if it is a very viable/creative/innovative idea that “judges” don’t understand. (It’s often the least understood ideas initially, that have the most marketable potential; e.g. Twitter)

    #5. In some circles, achievements & experience, not degrees, garner respect. Sometime degrees even have the adverse effect of making some not want to work with you — just need to know your field.

    … Biggest lessons I’ve collected is to absorb as much as possible from your MBA experience to bolster you, but still keep your mind alert. Don’t simply accept that all teachings are the 100% right way — entrepreneurs still oftentimes somehow know what works best in their unique situations. Lastly, guard your dreams & aspirations — there will be many who can break your confidence in a competitive & opinion-filled MBA environment, sometimes not even intentionally, but it can happen nonetheless.

  2. Tyler P
    Posted August 15, 2010 at 12:50 AM | Permalink

    God bless you Mo! The best and probably only comment that should be posted (including mine). I have looked into an MBA, and read articles talking about the glut of MBA graduates and how it has dilluted the power and prestige of having one in the professional world. That’s one opinion. Truth is many students go from undergrad to graduate school without getting into the real world and working for a bit. Lucky them.

    I went to a graduate film school and the points you share are very true. The teachers seemed to think one way, and if you tried something out of the box you were graded negatively. For instance, to have a moving camera was frowned upon, however, I see that on prime time sitcoms ALL THE TIME. The other students were bright in their own right but in terms of innovation and diversity of experiences and outlook were as “fair” as their skin.

    To be the only person of color presented a continuous barrage of criticisms and explanations of how I was wrong and they were right. One black professor said we didn’t need any more black directors, we needed black doctors and lawyers. Imagine sitting in a room with him and ten white and Asian students and in your heart you know that these kids think that they are the shiznit and you slipped up being there (I was the only one with an undergraduate film degree). It does take a thick skin in both worlds, and the decision is the student’s, I am just glad I read the article and your comments. Holla!

  3. Mo
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    No problem Tyler P!
    And thanks for your insights on your grad film school experiences — in the back of my mind, thinking I might get an MFA one day.

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