Yes, Entrepreneurship Can Be Taught

Entrepreneurship programs are all the rage at business schools across the country. But with the high price tag of MBA programs today, many aspiring entrepreneurs wonder if it’s worth the cost and if these programs deliver real value. An MBA is not going to make someone an entrepreneur. But business school does teach some fundamental skills necessary to run a business, generate revenue, establish partnerships, manage people and generally avoid financial or legal issues. While the investment is significant, think if it this way: An MBA can be easier and cheaper than learning lessons the hard way through a failed startup or spending years toiling in a corporate job. My company, Grammarly, an automated proofreader, was bootstrapped. I did not have ready access to mentors, nor the ability to hire experts that typically comes with substantial outside funding. I learned the ropes by drawing from the knowledge earned getting my MBA in Marketing and Finance. I was able to help my fellow entrepreneurs understand that a corporate vision, and the ability to sell that vision, is not enough to build a successful company. True success for a small company requires very specific and defined skills — from operations, to coding, to accounting, to taxes. Of course, it’s entirely possible to learn how to run a company by jumping in with both feet. However, an MBA can be a huge boost for entrepreneurs who start small. I credit my MBA with helping me to sell my previous company, MyDropBox. The degree bolstered my credibility with the acquiring company and gave me the tools I needed to navigate a sophisticated negotiation. While having an MBA was a key factor in my case, the truth is the business world won’t be easily...

Top Ten B-School Scandals & Controversies Of 2014...

No question, this past year was a doozy for misbehavior in the business school world. Two of the lead figures in the Top 10 B-School Scandals and Controversies of 2014 defrauded millions from investors. One business school was reported to have resorted to deception through exaggeration in order to boost enrollment and donations. An elite MBA program’s students were called out as booze-swilling, sex-crazy spendthrifts prone to mocking a poor sod who just wanted to do his damn schoolwork. Then there were the Jesuit schools, popping up in surprising places in a major set of rankings, raising the specter of conspiracy. Not to mention the epic Great Sichuan Chicken War, pitting an irate Harvard Business School professor against a family-owned Chinese restaurant. Taken together, these Top 10 stories show business school as a microcosm of the world, in all its pettiness and grandeur – and no shortage of the quirky, the kooky, the crooked, and the criminal. 1. An HBS Prof’s $4 Spat Over Spicy Chicken Harvard Business School professor Benjamin Edelman was mocked and disparaged world-wide after his dispute with a Boston-area Chinese restaurant over a $4 take-out overcharge went public, and viral. Though many saw Edelman’s prickly correspondence with a restaurant representative – and escalating demands for compensation – as petty and bullying, Poets&Quantstook the position that the professor, a dedicated and capable consumer-protection activist, was correct in his actions, though unnecessarily aggressive in his approach. Multiplying a small overcharge by the number of take-out orders per week could amount to thousands of dollars. And false advertised prices would give the restaurant an unfair competitive advantage over competitors. Edelman apologized, but he shouldn’t have – Sichuan Garden had it coming. 2. A Harvard MBA Assails the Party...

Was an MBA Worth Your Time and Money in 2014? What Critics Said...

Some revere it as an opportunity for personal transformation and professional advancement. Others dismiss it as a cash-burning summer camp for adults. The MBA is a divisive degree—depending on who you talk to, it will secure you a six-figure hedge fund gig, or send top venture capitalists running. Throughout the year, we asked chief executives, basketball pros, spiritual gurus, and financiers what they thought about business school and the people it produces. The best critics’ takes: Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan: “I wonder sometimes if business school is the corporatization of education.” Deepak Chopra, alternative medicine advocate: “We have immense problems right now—social injustice, economic injustice, climate change, war, terrorism, new epidemics of all kinds … and business is in a position to help.” Linda Heasley, CEO of Lane Bryant, UCLA Anderson MBA ’86: “It’s an amazing networking opportunity.” Antoine Walker, retired NBA star: “Having some [business] training on my own would definitely make me make better decisions, but also make me make wiser decisions.” T. Boone Pickens, CEO and founder of BP Capital Management: “If I were Drake, I wouldn’t waste my time on it.”Read full story:...

MBA Programs Start to Follow Silicon Valley Into the Data Age...

Greg Pass, the former chief technology officer of Twitter, put the matter succinctly. The M.B.A., he observed, is “a challenged brand.” That’s because the degree suggests a person steeped in finance and corporate strategy rather than in the digital-age arts of speed and constant experimentation — and in skills like A/B testing, rapid prototyping and data-driven decision making, the bread and butter of Silicon Valley. Those skills are not just for high-tech start-ups. They are required now in every industry. And leading business schools are struggling to keep pace. Mr. Pass is on the faculty at Cornell Tech in New York, where an innovative new program brings M.B.A. candidates and graduate students in computer science together. Meanwhile, across the country, colleges are adding new courses in statistics, data science and A/B testing, which often involves testing different web page designs to see which attracts more traffic. Business plan competitions have become common. Students’ ideas usually have a digital component — websites, smartphone apps or sensor data — and prizes are up to $100,000 or more. Innovation and entrepreneurship centers have proliferated. Dual-degree programs, with a science or engineering degree added to an M.B.A., are increasing. Graduate business schools have picked up the digital ethos of experimentation and new ventures. At the Stanford Graduate School of Business, 150 elective courses are offered; 28 percent of those did not exist last year. “We’re responding to the best practices we see in the outside world like A/B testing and working with massive data sets,” said Garth Saloner, dean of the Stanford business school. “We’re adapting.”..Read full story:...

The Top Ten MBA Rankings Of 2014

Look at any one major business school ranking and you get a useful but quite limited view of programs and institutions. And as this year’s volatility in the Bloomberg Businessweek ranking shows, different methodologies may produce surprising, or even dubious results. To obtain, via rankings, a more comprehensive and realistic picture of the business school ecosystem and its individual components, it’s necessary to make use of a number of rankings. Fortunately, for year’s end, Poets&Quants has compiled a rankings collection almost certain to be found nowhere else – a clearinghouse of school-by-school information, viewed from every relevant angle. And beyond the Top 10 rankings, we’ve provided links to another 10 rankings that will further fill in the business school picture with even more perspectives, measurements, and details. The Top Ten Business School Rankings of 2014: 1. Poets&Quants’ 2014 Top 100 MBA Programs in the U.S. In the clash of the titans, a new victor emerges. For the first time since Poets&Quants debuted its composite ranking, Stanford Graduate School of Business edged out Harvard Business School. This ranking combines the five most influential business school rankings in the world, weighting them according to their degree of authority and credibility. The composite methodology cuts out many of the major rankings’ deficiencies, producing a list that’s now consulted more than The Economist’s. 2. Poets&Quants’ 2014 Best International Business School Ranking Outside the U.S., European business schools dominate the high end of the MBA program spectrum. The U.K. and Spain each claim three spots in the top 10. One fast-rising star is Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, whose six-position rise over 2013 was matched by an Asian institution, the National University of Singapore’s business school, which finished 14th. 3. The Best Online MBA...

Meet eight new MBA recruits at Morgan Stanley. How did they get the job?...

Getting a job as a newly-minted MBA in an investment banking associate programme in London is no easy task these days. While banks in the US continue to hire the best and brightest business school graduates, European firms are tending to bring in more analysts through graduate programmes for in-house training Share on twitter, or are simply laterally recruiting MBAs rather than indulging in formal associate programmes. Two banks that remain active on campus in Europe, according to the MBA careers officers we speak to, are Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley. The latter has just registered its new associate class on the Financial Conduct Authority website. What do these recruits tell us about what investment banks look for in their MBA recruits? 1. Arturo Rueda Ávila Arturo is an associate in Morgan Stanley’s investment banking division, and graduated this year from a two-year course at Columbia Business School. Interestingly, despite studying in the US, his summer internship was at J.P. Morgan in London and this follows seven years’ work experience in Spain and Panama. This is not financial services related, however. Having spent a brief stint working for holiday company Butlins, most Arturo’s professional experience was gained at Spanish construction firm Sacyr Vallehermoso, where he was latterly a quantity surveyor. His Masters in Civil Engineering from Universidad de Granada no doubt also helped bolster his credentials with financial services companies. 2. Raphael Bihler Raphael is a graduate from INSEAD in France/Singapore and has just joined Morgan Stanley’s IBD. He worked for Morgan Stanley for two years before undertaken his MBA last year and rejoining as an associate, suggesting that the bank could have taken the now unusual step of funding his degree. Raphael also has numerous internships under his...

The MBA degree and the astronomical rise in CEO pay...

Companies’ top-ranks are filled with talent from similar educational backgrounds. Uniform thinking could be playing a part in the massive CEO pay gains over the past few decades. During most MBA programs, business school students read numerous case studies, evaluating the strategies of many different kinds of companies, analyzing the cost of bringing new product lines to market and novel methods to cut expenses. You would think that, after all that training, MBA grads would be the perfect candidates to halt the runaway growth of CEO pay. But, in an ironic twist, could the rising number of MBAs be pushing the perceived value of a CEO ever higher? The MBA degree’s growth in popularity is one of the few trends in the business world that matches the extraordinary growth in executive pay. According to the most recent data, from the 2011-2012 graduating class, MBA students accounted for 25% of the total master’s handed out, with 191,571 students receiving the degree. Education and computer science/engineering students came in second and third, with 178,062 and 66,014 degree recipients, respectively. The MBA has grown in popularity for years. In fact, the number of MBAs issued has jumped 623% since 1970; education master’s degrees increased 103% during that time…Read full story:...

How Yale is beginning to crack into the elite B-school ranks...

Dean Ted Snyder has made it his mission to turn Yale’s business school into a truly global enterprise. The school’s recent rise in the rankings shows that his efforts are starting to pay off. It’s an alluring morning in New Haven, Conn. Under a brilliant sun, the air is crisp and cool. The leaves on the trees are beginning to transform into a kaleidoscope of colors. And Dean Edward “Ted” Snyder of Yale University’s School of Management is strolling the halls of the school’s brand new $243 million complex. Gathered in the lobby are a group of young people—a dozen or so prospective applicants to SOM—who are waiting for an admissions official to give them the pitch and a tour of the building, which looks so modern it could be the Starship Enterprise. Dean Snyder moseys over to the group and asks what interests them most about Yale’s School of Management. The first and second people who answer his question make him nearly wince. One earnest-looking young man immediately says that it is the school’s non-profit slant. Another says it is the relatively small size of Yale’s MBA program, which this fall enrolled just 323 students, a little more than a third of the totals at Harvard, Columbia, Wharton, Kellogg, and Booth. What Dean Snyder had hoped to hear was that these potential applicants were keen on Yale because it is, in the dean’s own words, “the most distinctively global U.S. business school.” That is, after all, what Snyder has tirelessly worked to do in repositioning the school since his arrival as dean in mid-2011. There are only two other answers that he would have preferred to hear this morning: that they’re keen to look at SOM because it...

The MBA is losing its magic

What is the staying power of an MBA education? Why year after year do students sign up for the countless MBA programmes across the world? Are they after new skills? Maybe. Eager to learn about the latest academic research output? Unlikely. Keen to go through a learning experience? Possibly. In search of a networking opportunity? Most certainly. But perhaps a principle motive is to boost their career prospects. The notion that the harder you work, the higher you will climb the corporate — and therefore social — ladder is rooted in our DNA. Very often, this also translates into the higher you are in the corporate echelons, the more successful you are. For many, an MBA degree promises to deliver this; for anyone wishing to progress in their career, just get an MBA and its magic will do the rest. Except that this magic stopped working quite a long time ago. On the one hand the financial crisis of 2008 caused many businesses to cut hiring, leading to a shortage of those jobs that MBA graduates covet. For others there has been a dawning realisation that cost-cutting employers are unlikely to offer financial sponsorship for those wishing to study for an MBA. As a result students have resorted to taking out large loans to finance their business education…Read full story: Financial...

Harvard professor sorry for fighting restaurant over $4...

Harvard Business School associate professor Ben Edelman was in the running this week for “Most Disliked Guy on the Internet” — and all because of $4. After accusing a restaurant of overcharging him, Edelman began an epic back and forth with the management that went viral. Now, the professor is apologizing for letting the dispute spiral so out of control. According to Boston.com, the saga began last week when Edelman placed an order at a family-operated Boston-area Chinese restaurant named Sichuan Garden. He was hungry for sauteed prawns with roasted chili and peanut, stir-fried chicken with spicy capsicum, braised fish filets and napa cabbage with roasted chili, and shredded chicken with spicy garlic sauce. When he placed his order, Edelman thought his meal would run him $53.35. But when he checked his receipt, he noticed he’d been charged an additional $4 — or, as he noted in the first of several emails he sent to Sichuan Garden, an apparent “increase of $1 on each and every item.” Celebrated bartender Ran Duan, who manages the bar inside his parents’ Sichuan Garden location, was the one to respond to Edelman’s complaint. In doing so, he kicked off an epic three-day email exchange that ended with Edelman, who is also a lawyer and fashions himself as a “Web sheriff,” considering legal action against the restaurant. It turns out that the menu Edelman viewed on Sichuan Garden’s website was out of date, which Duan apologized for and said he would fix…Read full story:...

Best & Worst 2014 MBA Job Placement

When it comes to landing a job with your MBA degree, where a business school ranks tends to matter. The highest percentage of MBAs from the Class of 2014 have job offers at graduation and three months later if they graduate from programs that are ranked among the Top Ten. And graduates of the Top 25 MBA programs do better than grads of the next 25 programs (see table below). Even so, this year was a great time to graduate with an MBA degree. Some 85.9% of Top Ten graduates had job offers at graduation, while an impressive 95.4% had offers three months later. The numbers for the Top 25 schools were nearly as good: 83.9% had offers at commencement, while 94.2% received offers three months after graduation. And even the next group of schools, ranked 26th through 50th, did very well: 75.4% reported offers at graduation, while 91.5% had job opportunities three months later. At the three-month mark, four business schools in the U.S. tied for the best job offer rate. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School all reported that 98% of their graduating MBAs this year had job offers three months after commencement. For Emory, it was the third consecutive year with a 98% job offer rate, better than any other business school in the world. That’s an extraordinary record of success that no school, not Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, or Northwestern, can match. In fact, Stanford’s 94% offer rate is four full percentage points below Emory, while Harvard’s 93% offer rate is five percentage points under Goizueta. And for Tuck, it also was a special year....

Rotman apologizes for ‘inappropriate’ MBA assignment...

The Rotman School of Management has formally apologized to its students following backlash over a sexist MBA assignment. The apology, issued by dean Tiff Macklem and obtained by the Star, acknowledged the assignment featuring a fictional shoe-obsessed female character was “inappropriate.” “The assignment unfortunately did not reflect the standards and commitment to diversity that are core beliefs at the Rotman School,” wrote Macklem. He said professors have apologized to the first-year finance students given the assignment and that it will not be used again. The Star reported on the assignment Sunday after being forwarded a copy by a dismayed student. It follows business student Elle Forest, who is contemplating accepting a public relations job at jeweller Tiffany and Co. “Confused about the subtleties of the offer,” Forest turns to her fiancé Chip, a Yale grad, for help. The assignment spells out different possible compensation packages and along the way refers to Forest’s love of Tiffany and designer shoes — “Sorry. I was dreaming of that pair of Louboutins,” she tells her boyfriend at one point, later falling asleep while “dreaming of those little blue boxes and beautiful shoes.” Her post-grad plans involve a wedding in the Hamptons…Read full story: Toronto...