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Why an MBA Is Great For Entrepreneurs

There’s no degree requirement for starting a business, but having an MBA can sure help. If you’re setting out on an entrepreneurial path, spending time in an MBA program can give you a boost. 

That’s because being in business school gives you access to a pool of resources as well as opportunities to try out your ideas that you wouldn’t otherwise have. 

An example of the advantage that MBA programs offer for entrepreneurs is the people. Being in B-school gives you a unique chance to broaden your network and make new connections. For entrepreneurs, this means both meeting other students with overlapping interests and finding mentors. 

Beyond general benefits for entrepreneurs like meeting new people and growing their leadership skills, most MBA programs provide more specific resources targeted at entrepreneurs. Many top MBA programs see helping entrepreneurs develop as a core part of what they do.

This begins with coursework. One example among many would be Stanford Graduate School of Business’s hands-on Startup Garage course, where students work in small groups to launch new ventures. 

However, the resources MBA programs offer for entrepreneurs extend far beyond coursework.

Many schools have entrepreneurship centers that offer coaching, workshops, opportunities to meet industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs, and support in launching new ventures.

Two examples of thriving entrepreneurship centers can be found at the Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and Harvard Business School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship.

Top business schools also have a variety of programs to support startups, including accelerators and incubators. These provide workspace, tools, coaching, community events, and sometimes even funding. 

HBS, for instance, has the Rock Accelerator and Harvard Innovation Labs. In the Bay Area, there is Stanford Venture Studio and Haas School of Business’s SkyDeck. 

Many business schools host competitions in which students, and sometimes alumni, can pitch their businesses. These provide both exposure and an opportunity to secure funding.

Two such competitions are the Booth School of Business’s New Venture Challenge and HBS’s New Venture Competition, which includes tracks for student businesses, student social enterprises, and alumni businesses.

The accelerators, competitions and various programs B-schools offer in helping MBA students turn business ideas into reality highlight another point: MBA programs are a great testing ground for businesses.

 MBA programs, in general, give students the opportunity to try new things, and this includes giving them the resources to test out a new business idea – or even multiple new business ideas. B-schools are places where the people and resources for making entrepreneurial ideas happen are especially concentrated.

Granted, not all business schools are equal when it comes to providing a boost to entrepreneurs. So what schools stand out in this regard – and, just as importantly, do you have a profile and story that will catch the attention of adcoms at these schools?

We can answer these questions and help you outline a plan for getting into an MBA program that will give your entrepreneurial career a strong start. Contact us for a free assessment!