MBA Entrepreneurship

5 Ways An MBA Can Help Entrepreneurs

A Master of Business Administration (MBA), whether you earned it from an institution such as Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business, is perceived to be highly beneficial. This type of degree is costly, but many believe it is money well spent. However, as an entrepreneur, you might be questioning whether you really need to bother earning such a prestigious qualification. After all, you don’t need to have an online MBA degree to make your business a success if you’ve already got what it takes. On the face of it, you might be right. Many entrepreneurs do perfectly well without a college education or an AACSB (Association To Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) online MBA to their name. They are able to turn their businesses into global success stories and live the high life. However, having a master’s degree in business administration can be invaluable, and here’s why: 1) How To Run A Business There are many different ways to run a business. By the time you have completed your MBA, you should know all of them. The expert knowledge you gain will give you valuable insights into the inner workings of large, successful businesses. You can use this knowledge to inform how you run your own business. Therefore, instead of making mistakes, you can learn from the mistakes made by others. 2) Valuable Contacts Your fellow students on an MBA course will all be high achievers in their own right, so the connections you make will come in useful when you start your own business. You will find that people you become friends with during the program often turn into valuable contacts a few years down the road. 3) Human Resources A growing business needs talented employees. One of...

Glassdoor for MBAs and Startups

One of the big issues with employment review websites, such as Glassdoor, is that feedback is usually submitted only by those who had a really great, or really bad, experience at a company. And feedback is so general, it doesn’t offer an accurate snapshot for people with diverse backgrounds: A business school student fresh out of undergrad sees the same salary range as someone with an MBA, for example. Smaller companies and startups without many employees, aren’t as well represented as major corporations. University of Chicago Booth startup TransparenC is hoping to change that with curated career sites. They’re starting with a website tailored to MBA students, called TransparentMBA, but they anticipate expanding their platform to law, engineering, and tech among other niche job seekers not served by general career sites like Glassdoor and Linkedin. The idea first came to Mitch Kirby, a UChicago Booth student, last fall when attempting to look for jobs post-graduation. Glassdoor felt like “information overload” he said, and most of the aggregate information didn’t give him an idea of how his qualification–an MBA from a top-ranked business school–would translate to a position or compensation. So he decided to create a platform that gave more granular information on companies and careers for MBA students (he coded it himself), and see if his classmates were interested. They were: about 50 percent of Booth students quickly signed up, he said. Profiles for companies, jobs, and industries are built through feedback that users provide, which they’re required to submit when signing up for the platform. Users can see feedback such as expected compensation, satisfaction rates, and culture fit for an MBA at a given company and position. They can also compare the experiences at the industry level. Kirby...

How MBA Grads Can Overcome 3 Startup Hiring Objections...

Job prospects look about as sunny as possible for 2016’s MBA grads. In fact, 85 percent of employers plan on hiring as many or more MBAs this year than last, according to The Economist. I’m sure stats like this come as welcome relief to the thousands of people who have taken on over $70,000 in debt to earn their advanced business degrees. Still, if you’re an MBA grad looking to join a startup, don’t let a positive jobs forecast lull you into a false sense of security. While you might have a degree from a top program and may even know about a particular industry inside and out, you can still be an expensive hire who might not have what it takes to make a meaningful contribution in the eyes of a founder. When founders tell me that MBA candidates aren’t “the right fit,” their objections generally often fall into a few different categories: experience, attitude, and salary. If you’re serious about getting your foot in the door at a startup, here are some tips on how to overcome these three common areas of founder skepticism. You lack the right experience It’s quite possible that you have built up a very impressive resume from working at larger companies. However, a startup might dismiss your big-name business experience because it isn’t an apples to apples comparison. A founder’s line of thinking could go something like this: “How do I know you’ll succeed when you have to complete a project with significantly fewer resources and in a shorter timeframe?” The burden is on you to convince startups that you thrive in small team environments when the deadlines are tight, and the stakes are high for a project’s success or failure. If...

Why More MBAs Should Buy Small Businesses

Searching for a small business to buy and run instead of taking a more traditional post-MBA job like consulting is an idea that we’re seeing catch on at top business schools. At the Harvard Business School, for example, the number of MBAs who decide to look for a business to acquire right after graduation has gone from less than a handful a decade ago to more than a dozen, and in an occasional year, twice that amount. Stanford’s most recent study of search funds also reports a record number of active search funds. Still, we often wonder why more students don’t follow the entrepreneurship-through-acquisition path. One of the most common concerns that we hear as we advise our students at HBS is that searching for a business to buy — a full-time endeavor — is too “risky.” While everyone should surely weigh this choice based on their own individual circumstances and subjective preferences, we think that these concerns about “risk” are misplaced and that searching for a business is less risky than other career paths that are traditionally considered more stable. We put quotes around “risk” because we don’t think our students are focused on financial measures of risk — like the volatility of lifetime earnings — when they tell us that searching for a business seems more “risky” than taking a more traditional job. We don’t think there is much data to assess the actual financial risk of searching in comparison to other more traditional careers because there isn’t much historical data on financial rewards for either career. And, interestingly, while our students talk to us a lot about the “risk,” they don’t talk to us about the money differential; indeed, when they look at the business plans...

These 6 Sloan Startups Are so MIT

When it comes to ground-breaking scientific discoveries and technological developments, MIT kills it. But the accolades in those areas sometimes might overshadow the fact that the Institute fosters stellar businesses, as well. Sloan is a big name among business schools, and its students have launched many a startup that are just so MIT. Let’s celebrate these Sloan startups: Here’s a list of some of the most interesting startups from the B school – both current student ventures, along with spin-outs. Insurify This Sloan spin-out is taking car insurance into the 21st Century. Insurify has already made waves with its auto insurance shopping platform, which includes a virtual insurance agent – Evia – who’s there to help. The venture secured $2 million in seed funding in January, so it’s off to a steady start. GoodSIRS The recent winner of MIT Sloan’s Healthcare Innovation Prize, GoodSIRS is trying to save millions of lives each year with its filtration treatment for sepsis. The common, fatal condition occurs when people’s bodies go into overdrive trying to fight an infection, causing organ failure. With GoodSIRS’ selective filtration technology, we’ll be able to remove the offending chemicals from the bloodstream and prevent deaths from sepsis. Gomango Here in the U.S., we walk into a grocery store, peruse the produce section and think nothing of it. In developing nations where refrigeration is lacking, a significant portion of food spoils before it makes it to market. Gomango is creating a network of rental cooling boxes in India that would let farmers prevent food spoilage, sell more at markets and even transport their products to areas further away to be more lucrative. EarID We love talking about what’s good and not good for your health, yet we know...

63 MBA Grads Raised $15bn In Venture Capital For Their $65bn ‘Unicorn’ startups...

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Here Are Poets&Quants Top MBA Startups

Do you need an MBA to do a successful startup? Of course not. But when it comes to using an MBA experience to launch a company, you won’t get much of an argument from the business school graduates whose companies have landed on Poets&Quants’ third annual ranking of the Top 100 MBA Startups. For the first time since the rankings were created, the top spot goes to a venture that had not already been sold. SoFi, a Stanford-founded student loan refinancing company, charged to the top of this year’s list with a monstrous $1.4 billion raised for operations in the past five years. Their leap up the rankings was anchored by a $1 billion Series E round announced last September. Next was GrabTaxi, the Southeastern Asia taxi booking app founded by a team from Harvard, with $680 million in venture backing. Rounding out the top three was Stanford-founded RelateIQ, which was acquired by Salesforce for $390 million and is now SalesforceIQ. Cultural Moment or Frothy VC Market? While SoFi and Grabtaxi certainly set the pace in the race for later series funding, they were not the only two startups to make big moves this year. Harvard-founded Oscar Insurance zoomed from $150 million and ninth place last year to $327.5 million and fourth place this year. Wharton-founded razor venture, Harry’s, nudged up one spot to fifth this year, with $287 million in total funding. And PillPack, founded by an MIT Sloan School of Management team, catapulted from 70th to 13th, with total backing of $62.8 million. Whether they’re enjoying a cultural moment or a frothy venture capital market, startup fever on business school campuses has never been hotter. Last year, 84 out of the 908 graduating MBAs from Harvard launched...

Stanford to MBAs: Study now, start-up later

In an environment of billion-dollar valuations for private companies and cloud-based software that makes start-up launches easier than ever, staying focused on academics can be challenging. Should you hit the books, or try to launch the next, great start-up when the idea and capital strike? Over the last few years, as the economy has recovered, Garth Saloner, outgoing dean of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, has watched the number of MBA graduates who launch ventures (in founding roles) rise to 16 percent for the class of 2015, slightly lower than the all-time high of 18 percent of graduates reached two years ago. “We’ve never seen that before. It’s a big number,” Saloner said. A decade ago that figure was in the single digits. Of course, graduates launching start-ups is something to laud and a testament to Stanford’s competitive two-year MBA program that can open a lot of doors in Silicon Valley. U.S. News & World Report ranked Stanford University’s business school No. 1 for 2015, and edged out Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton. On the other hand, more ventures founded out of business school also suggests students are spending a huge bulk of time creating ventures. Aspiring entrepreneurs may not be taking full advantage of lessons from professors and visiting professionals during the business school program. “What gives me pause is when students get so engaged in the start-up itself in the second year that they devote their energy to it at the expense of their second year,” said Saloner in an interview earlier this month. “That’s a lost opportunity.” Read MoreWomen closing the gender gap for entrepreneurship By the way, it’s not like Stanford business school students are dropping out in droves for start-up...

Does Getting An MBA Make You A Better Entrepreneur?...

This question originally appeared on Quora: Does getting an MBA make someone a better entrepreneur? Answer by Auren Hoffman, CEO of LiveRamp. started and sold 5 companies (and many more that failed), on Quora The value of an MBA is declining and for most schools, it is negative. In the 1980s, the ROI of almost any MBA (even from the least selective schools) was very positive. MBAs were the fast-track to a management career and many amazing companies exclusively recruited its management-track employees out of MBA programs. Most people without an MBA were at a disadvantage. Today, the winds have shifted. For companies in Silicon Valley (especially the hottest start-ups), MBAs from most schools are actually seen as negative signals (verses the a person with a similar resume but with two additional years of experience). Only a few schools (like Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, etc.) still have a positive ROI for jobs in technology companies. In fact, for most careers, the value of any graduate degree is significantly less today than it was 20 years ago. I expect a similar trend to continue to other industries over the next decade. Which means that one should have a really good reason and carefully think it through before getting their MBA. MBAs are really expensive 1. They generally run over $60k+/year in tuition and housing. 2. They take the person out of the workforce during the core growth years of their career. That means forgoing substantial after-tax income and also giving up career raises and promotions (which set a basis for compound interest). For many people, the total cost of getting an MBA (tuition, housing, lost income, lost promotions, etc.) will run over $400k and for some it will be even higher....

Do entrepreneurs need an MBA?

Before explaining why I think business school is wrong for today’s entrepreneurs, I must start with a confession: I almost went to business school. It was 1997 and I had left a job in strategy consulting because I wanted to start my own business. I knew I needed more experience and would benefit from meeting mentors, potential business partners and like-minded peers. But the world was changing fast and the internet was taking off. In the event, I decided I did not have the time and opted instead for intensive on-the-job learning. Within 10 months, I was ready to co-found my first internet business, the travel booking website lastminute.com. If I had studied for an MBA, I would have had to spend two years in the classroom while I felt an urgency to get started. With hindsight, the naivety, optimism and ignorance about the challenges ahead may have served me well. Traditional business school education teaches students how to manage big companies not how to found start-ups. Some programmes do now try to teach entrepreneurial skills but most are struggling to adapt fast enough to meet changing circumstances and demand. Even devising an academic programme to produce entrepreneurs would be virtually impossible. Some of the most important qualities in an entrepreneur are tenacity, determination and an ability to embrace uncertainty and risk. Business schools can’t teach that. Then there is the time and expense. Two years is a long time to spend in full-time education when you are young, full of ideas and already have a degree. Entrepreneurs must have an appetite for risk, but debt-laden students may understandably find theirs is diminished. Many will be inclined to seek corporate jobs where their ability to repay debt is more...

Start-up costs for MBA graduates pay off

The fear that starting a business will inevitably mean an enforced period of belt tightening and dining on nothing but baked bean suppers has dissuaded many high flying executives from quitting their jobs to become entrepreneurs. Salary data from 20- and 30-something MBA graduates, however, shows the reverse is in fact true. Far from earning less, those that quit corporate careers to create a start-up quickly make up any shortfall and are in fact earning more on average than their salaried peers just three years after completing their business school studies. In a sample of 7,800 MBA graduates from the world’s top 100 business schools that responded to the FT’s 2015 rankings research, 22 per cent had launched a start-up while studying for the qualification or shortly after completing their course. Three years after graduation, the average annual income among these fledgling entrepreneurs was $134,000, compared with $132,000 across the entire sample. Just 5 per cent of those who founded companies reported an annual salary of zero three years after graduation. However, even this may be an overstatement of the financial risk facing founders since this percentage includes those who chose not to reveal their income level in their survey response…Read full story: Financial...

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...