MBA Entrepreneurship

The Newest B-School Brag: Alumni Startups

As M.B.A.s show more interest in creating companies rather than working for them, schools are stepping up their efforts to track startups founded by alumni. Attempts to measure graduates’ success in venture funding and market valuation are at an early stage. But faculty and administrators say the metric could someday be as central to schools’ marketing as job placement and salary figures …Read full story: Wall Street...

Business School Vs. Incubator: An Entrepreneurial Test Drive At Stanford To Find Which Works Best...

If you are looking to buy a new car it is only natural to test drive the models you are interested in. You’ll quickly get a sense of quality, handling, comfort, and can back up your research with comparable data on cost, mileage, reliability, resale value and much more that is easily available online. But the decision to go to business school is not so straightforward. You can visit the schools, meet with students and alumni, talk to recruiters, assess costs and check performance on the numerous media MBA rankings. But what about that test drive? How can you compare the classroom experience from one school to another? And for the would-be entrepreneur, how do you decide if business school is a better option than an incubator? Zak Allal is an Algerian-born entrepreneur and doctor, who completed clinical rotations at Harvard Medical School and Oxford University Medical School. He is also a classically trained musician who includes performances at Carnegie Hall on his resume. This diverse background has contributed to a number of start-ups including 4 Dimension Therapeutics, which repurposes drugs for rare diseases, as well as international concert tours and a teaching fellowship at Singularity University, a Silicon Valley teaching organization founded and funded by the the likes of Google, IDEO, X Prize, Linkedin and the Kauffman Foundation.Read full story:...

22% Of Full-Time MBA Graduates Become Start-Up Founders...

More full-time MBA students are opting for entrepreneurship instead of corporate careers, according to new data from a survey of graduates from the world’s 100-highest ranked MBA programs. Some 22% of full-time MBA graduates are start-up founders, up 4% on last year, according to data from the FT MBA Rankings 2015, yet to be released. The figures – to be published in January – add weight to the theory that business school students are more open to pursuing risky ventures than stable, high-salary jobs. They also show that business schools’ efforts to train entrepreneurs with specialist master’s programs and MBA electives are starting to bear fruit. The shifting mentality of young managers has spurred these institutions to change the way they operate and deliver courses. Stanford GSB, for example, has opened a series of programs for technology entrepreneurs in collaboration with companies such as Microsoft, and Imperial College Business School and the London Stock Exchange opened a program for fast-growing ventures – Elite – which seeks to connect students with potential investors. While the survey data are encouraging, many business schools have a higher percentage of students entering the start-up scene. At the McDonough School of Business in Washington, up to 50% of students in a recent executive MBA class became start-up founders. The latest career reports also reflect this change in mentality. At Wharton School, once regarded as a feeder to investment banks, 55 MBAs from 2014’s class started their own businesses or are self-employed, up 50% from five years ago. This trend is also evident across the EMBA scene, which, although geared towards executives, is producing classes which see nearly a third of graduates start businesses or enter into partnerships with others. And of the top-70 Master...

Why Innovative Entrepreneurs Shouldn’t Write Off The MBA...

Nathan Furr recently published a thought-provoking analysis in Inc. on why the skills developed while obtaining an MBA are misaligned with the characteristics required for driving innovation. The article cites strong sentiment from leading investors and entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Scott Cook, who believe that graduate school curriculums stunt innovation. As an MBA and an entrepreneur myself who has seen firsthand that an MBA can be a significant driver of innovation and entrepreneurship, I believe it’s a subject that merits discussion, regardless of which camp you fall into. At the premise of the analysis is the theme that MBA programs employ traditional and outdated management principles that no longer apply in today’s agile startup movement. I wholeheartedly agree that such methodologies run contrary to what’s required to adapt and grow today. But leading MBA program have already adapted their approach to better reflect the realities of what it takes to succeed today. In its simplest form, such adaptation can be seen in new coursework that applies the principles of both value creation and value capture. At Wharton, such coursework included the themes of Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, Product Innovation and my personal favorite, Contagion – how products and services go viral. Outside of the classroom, MBA programs adopt lean methodologies to teamwork, idea creation and the overall learning process – all of which accelerate successes and failures and reward tackling the uncertain. Wharton’s “Learning Teams,” usually a five- to six-person team of students who work together on projects across courses, embodies the close-knit and oftentimes intense nature of accelerators and startups. The use of computer simulations whose variations reflect changes in the marketplace encourage students to ingest rapid feedback and iterate quickly. MBA programs have also advanced...

Do You Need An MBA To Be A Successful Entrepreneur?...

When I got my MBA from Northwestern University in 1985, I never planned to be an entrepreneur. My goal was to add to my business skills for my sales support job at IBM. I wanted the additional education credential on my resume, especially since IBM was paying the tuition. Six years later, I found myself starting my first company and heavily relying on what I had learned in business school. Here are the skills MBA’s learn that are critical to be a successful entrepreneur: How to work with a team. One of the best things that my MBA taught me was how to work with a team with diverse skills and backgrounds to accomplish specific goals. There were many times where we could not choose our team, but were forced to collaborate together in imperfect groups. This is good experience for working with a variety of people who may not all have the same objectives and skill levels. Remember that entrepreneurship is never a solo sport. How to meet impossible deadlines. Students often complained about what they saw as unrealistic deadlines by professors. Later, I realized that these impossible deadlines mimicked what happened in the real world as I had to work long hours to meet customer expectations. How to network. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Going to MBA school teaches students how to meet other people and determine who they can trust the most. Powerful networks for future work are always built at school. How to test ideas and their execution without penalty. Students can pretend to start businesses or launch real companies with minimal risk if the company fails. Failing quickly, learning what I can and then taking a new action was...

Why More Entrepreneurs Than Ever Are Going To Business School...

There’s an old Silicon Valley stereotype that MBAs are stiff, corporate types who you bring in to help grow your business but who lack the vision or creativity to start something worthwhile of their own. In the HBO series “Silicon Valley,” for example, business school grad Jared completely lacks personality and serves as the caregiver of the quirky entrepreneurs, who initially have no idea how to draw up a business plan. The idea of foregoing a formal education to pursue an entrepreneurial venture is furthered by tech leaders like billionaire investor Peter Thiel, who has a $100,000 fellowship for students who drop out of college to start a business. Today, however, more entrepreneurs than ever are going to business school to acquire a hard business background and test ideas before going out on their own. This year, for instance, one-fifth of MBAs from University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School graduated with an entrepreneurial concentration, while a full 40% of the Class of 2015 are studying entrepreneurship, according to Ted Zoller, director of the school’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. And a recent study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that more than 7% of its 2013 Wharton b-school grads started their own companies right after school – five times as many as in 2007. With a post-recession distaste for Wall St. and increasing interest in Silicon Valley – nearly a quarter of Harvard Business School’s 2014 grads moved to San Francisco after graduating – many MBA candidates at top b-schools are looking to gain an education in how to start and, more importantly, grow a company. While Zoller doesn’t recommend that aspiring entrepreneurs go for an MBA if they have a business idea they want to launch now,...

The value of an MBA: Chicago entrepreneurs weigh in...

you ask yourself: Is an MBA worth it? To answer that question, you must ask yourself what kind of work you plan to do or continue doing. Do you plan to work in banking, consulting, marketing, finance or insurance? MBA new hires in 2014 are expected to earn a $45,000 salary premium over new bachelor’s degree recipients in the U.S., according to the 2014 corporate recruiters survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council. The anticipated median starting salary for Class of 2014 MBA new hires stood at $95,000 in the U.S., the survey showed. “With every level of education, people increase their lifetime earnings and increase their career stability,” said John Challenger, CEO of Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “It’s easier to move positions, and (MBA holders) tend to see fewer periods of long-term unemployment. MBAs, in particular, come away with skills and a stamp of approval and credentials that businesses and employers value.” But what if you plan to start your own business? In either case, you must be willing to pay handsomely. Tuition at many programs costs about $40,000 per year — and much more at elite programs. “It’s never been proven to me that having an MBA leads directly to success in a startup,” Jill Salzman, founder of The Founding Moms, wrote in an email response to questions to leaders of Chicago’s startup community. “Success’ greatest predictors are in the personality, temperament and patience of the people who are running it.” Here is a look at how Chicago-based entrepreneurs have done with and without an MBA. Joseph Sheahan, co-founder and CEO of Savvo Digital Sommelier Solutions, which matches shoppers with wine at the point of purchase. Sheahan earned an MBA in 2012 from...

More MBA Students Seeking Entrepreneurial Skills...

A new study finds entrepreneurship programs and skills are more in demand from MBA students, compared to traditional areas such as banking, finance and consulting Entrepreneurship is becoming a growing priority for MBA students over the traditional areas of banking, finance and consulting, according to a new study conducted by education and marketing research firm CarringtonCrisp. “Tomorrow’s MBA 2011,” which surveyed 476 prospective MBA students in 79 countries, looks at the evolution of the business degree and found a growing demand for entrepreneurship in the curriculum, with entrepreneurship courses listed by students in their top-five most desired course content. Other valuable course content among prospective students included Strategic Management, Leadership, and Managing People and Organizations. Students are also recognizing the importance of pursuing an MBA to develop skills sets of a business owner. When asked what they want from a business school and MBA, 60 percent of respondents said they want an MBA that will improve their career prospects, while their second and third most important criteria were for an MBA that provides them with new skills and challenges them to think differently. Improving earning potential was listed as the fifth most important factor, chosen by just over a third of all respondents…Read full...

Need Start-Up Inspiration? Take a Peek at Harvard MBA Product Ideas...

Nine promising product ideas that recently received small funding awards from Harvard Business School These nine teams beat out 79 others to receive an average $5,000 from the Minimum Viable Product Fund, administered by the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship. These are awarded to the most promising ideas that follow the lean start-up methodology. The winning entries were incredibly wide ranging in scope, from a product that helps users plan their deaths to a service that allows wine lovers to order wine and follow it through the production process. Here were the winners. 1. Adiply: An automated self-serve tool that executes online advertising direct deals. 2. AfterSteps: An online end-of-life planning platform with educational resources and tools to create a plan, store it, and transfer it to designated beneficiaries. 3. Children’s Stories for American Muslims: A children’s entertainment and education brand for the underserved North American Muslim population. The business will start as a subscription service delivering monthly stories and will later expand into toys, books, games, videos, and licensing. 4. MatchLend: A tool to improve loan underwriting accuracy by incorporating data often missed by traditional methods. 5. MyDayz: A web application that allows women to keep track of their health data, focusing on period and fertility monitoring…Read full...