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, he says it is valuable for those who want to scale a business. "An early stage startup doesn't need an MBA skillset, but when a company gets to scale, that's when it becomes necessary."
The startup fever may come, in part, from the growing group of MBAs leading young, hip companies. Warby Parker, Yelp, Rent the Runway, Zynga, OKCupid, GrubHub, and BirchBox were all started by entrepreneurs with MBAs.
"The entrepreneurial spirit is everywhere here," says Wharton second-year MBA candidate Isabelle Park...