The Benefits of an MBA for Startups and Entrepreneurs
Common folklore surrounding what it takes to start a business is awash with one familiar motif: the dropout-turned-billionaire entrepreneur.
Indeed, when enterprising individuals come of age and start contemplating business ideas, their dreams often adopt this narrative.
For a long time now, a contrast has been cast between two groups of people. In one corner, those who spend a significant part of their lives furnishing their educational backgrounds. And in the other, those who choose to act on their entrepreneurial dreams.
Still, many aspiring business owners have pursued a Master of Business Administration. They’ve done this to better equip themselves in their role as startup runners.
The evidence supporting this trend goes beyond the anecdotal.
For this reason, we think it’s important to understand what use an MBA could be to those in the startup world — whether well established or still aspiring.
Is an MBA Worth it?
What’s the Remuneration Like as an MBA Holder?
First off, is getting an MBA worthwhile to your earnings?
QS World Rankings conducted a survey to assess the revenues earned by entrepreneurs holding an MBA. The pay averaged $106,000 per annum, without aggregation across regions.
Here’s a more specific lowdown of the yearly revenue across countries:
- USA: US$ 102,100 per annum
- Italy: US$ 86,400 per annum
- France: US$ 98,500 per annum
- Germany: US$ 77,200 per annum
- Switzerland: US$ 123,500 per annum
- The UK: US$ 92,400 per annum
- Singapore: US$ 82,700 per annum
- Australia: US$ 98,400 per annum
- Canada: US$ 99,800 per annum
Promising, no? It even makes the prospect of repaying your tuition loan a little more plausible.
But here’s the rub: Pursuing an MBA is quite an investment. The fees can get pretty steep.
Especially if you opt for an ivy league school — most of which offer a curriculum no different than any other university.
That said, the investment of pursuing an MBA is worth it. And to prove this, we’ll look at five of the world’s most renowned MBA holders.
Four of The World’s Most Renowned MBAs
An American philanthropist, former politician, and business magnate, Michael Rubens Bloomberg is well known within entrepreneurial circles.
He’s the sole owner and founder of Bloomberg LP, a company that supplies financial data to investment companies and other entities.
He currently has a net worth of $40 billion and earned his MBA in 1966.
Are you filled with gratitude for your Nikes and have perhaps wondered in the past who to thank?
This is the guy.
To say that Phil Knight’s shoe brand has been successful is quite an understatement. It started as a small shoe retail outlet in 1964. And under his long stewardship, it has grown into a billion-dollar conglomerate.
As an individual, Phil Knight is worth well over $45 billion. He owes his business acumen at least partly to his MBA, which he acquired in 1966.
Perhaps one of the world’s most well-known philanthropists, Melinda Gates has carved out her niche within the business management world.
She graduated with an MBA in 1987. Since then, she has worked with Microsoft and the charitable startups she co-chairs, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. There’s a long list of entities to which she has dedicated her entrepreneurial expertise.
Tim Cook took up the role of Apple CEO following founder Steve Jobs in 2011. Those were some pretty big shoes to fill, to say the least.
Since then, he’s not only made good on Jobs’ vision for the largest tech conglomerate in the world — he has also steered Apple away from ethically grey manufacturing practices.
He’s been featured multiple times on the list of Fortune 500 CEOs. And is well known as a torchbearer for equality and civil and LGBT rights within the mainstream tech world.
Important Things to Consider Before Enrolling in Business Schools
How Long Is the Program?
The length of your program determines how quickly you will resume your entrepreneurial work. It also determines the density of your course requirements.
In colleges with shorter entrepreneurship MBA programs, students will typically spend six hours per day studying in class. While in programs of standard length students will typically spend half that: approximately three hours.
Though it varies between colleges, an MBA program runs for an average of between 11 and 16 months.
Where Is the Business School Located?
Your location determines the availability of your chosen specialization and the quality of education you have access to.
Indeed, a UK citizen residing in the capital will enjoy access to top business courses. Just as a Californian seeking to do a tech MBA will benefit immensely exactly where they live.
That said, there is still a lot to reap from living in a more rural environment.
Does the Tuition Cost to Return-on-Investment Look Favorable?
When assessing the return on investment of such an important financial decision, it’s vital to think beyond the prospect of revenue.
Sure, it’s important to choose an MBA in entrepreneurship program with a sustainable tuition tag. But the applications of an entrepreneurship MBA towards running your business are, in large part, analytical. And therefore individual.
Unlike MBA students looking to enter the job market, your goals are directed towards starting a business. And eventually, making everyday entrepreneurial decisions.
What Are Your Strengths and Interests?
There are numerous MBA specialization areas.
Think of it like this: If you can start a business in a subject, it can be studied and mastered. Finance. Tech. Textile design and manufacturing. Financial accounting and consultancy. Legal management; you name it.
It’s essential to have some idea of what your interests are. Which, of course, will almost always be wholly determined by your specific field of business.
Best MBA Programs
In addition to an MBA for entrepreneurship, there are several other specialized fields to choose from:
- IT (Information Technology)
- International Business
- Corporate Management
- Operations Management
Jobs for Entrepreneurs with MBAs
The jobs most suited and most accessible by MBA graduates include:
- Financial Consultant/Analyst – manages the firm’s accounting department and advises proprietors
- Marketing Manager – oversees advertisement development and product marketing strategies
- Research Manager – helps in budgeting, business plan formulation, and overseeing research projects
- Non-Profit Manager – organizes events to raise funds for various causes
- IT Department Head – managees developer teams; delegates and supervises business tasks
- Human Resource Manager — coordinates staff issues for startups, both internal and contracted
MBA for Entrepreneurship vs Actual Entrepreneurship: Myths Dispelled
Myth #1: You Must Pick One Path: School or Entrepreneurship
Ah yes. So the fallacy goes. While the rest of the world trudges on with actual entrepreneurial work, MBA students extricate themselves. For two years, they’re fed all there is to know about starting and running a new business.
But on closer inspection, this contrast of school vs. experience is not entirely valid. The theory comes tainted from the source.
For one, the first most important requirement for an entrepreneur is, and will always be, an appetite for prudent, calculated risk.
A decent case can be made that you’d be in a sufficient fiscal position after finishing your degree to start and run a new business.
About this question of time and value, Seth Godin says,
Myth #2: Traditional MBA Programs Trump Online MBA Programs
Not so. Truth is, many graduate business students set their sights only on a traditional, on-campus MBA at a brick-and-mortar school.
If we allow for a grander comparison, there are over 1,000 MBA programs in the United States.
Some are full-time, while others are part-time, often offering classes on nights and weekends.
Here at Quantic, we offer both an innovative free online program as well as an online executive program.
But, just like the world of business itself, MBA programs are changing rapidly. There are now over 330 online MBAs offered in the U.S — of which Quantic is a top contributor.
With two accredited, highly selective business degree programs — the free MBA and radically affordable Executive MBA — Quantic’s MBA programs are reliably well-reviewed and readily available online.
Online MBA Pros
The biggest reason that many entrepreneurs choose an online MBA is for the flexibility. Unlike traditional MBA programs, most online graduate business degrees allow you to work on your own time from anywhere.
Online MBA Cons
One disadvantage of an online MBA program is a lack of in-person community and connection.
MBA students often benefit from in-person conversations with peers and instructors. And that’s both in terms of academic collaboration and socializing. Fortunately, the Executive MBA also offers multiple weekend-long conferences held in cities around the world.
Traditional MBA Pros
In traditional business schools, MBA programs often appeal to students who want a little more hands-on guidance.
Fresh undergraduates from top business schools might prefer the additional in-person attention. At least that which is offered by a brick-and-mortar school, as well as the familiar daily routine of face-to-face classes.
Traditional MBA Cons
Of course, the most significant disadvantage of on-campus MBA programs is the lack of flexibility.
Say you have a family at home, existing business obligations, or a burgeoning career. For these students, it can be difficult to justify starting a full-time MBA program.
Traditional business schools offering MBAs also tend to host younger students on average and there aren’t as many international students at any given on-campus program.
Benefits of an MBA
At its most efficacious, an MBA will equip its holder with an exhaustive, well-rounded set of entrepreneurial tools.
Here’s what you can expect to gain from an MBA:
Firm Conceptual Foundation to Start & Run Your Business
MBAs are meant for aspiring corporate climbers just as much as aspiring entrepreneurs. And its core units are designed with either end in mind.
An MBA is as credible a tag as you can earn to validate your ability to steer businesses in any (and more) of these fields. And that’s regardless of your eventual course of trade. Whether mechanical operations, marketing and branding, financial services, communications, corporate law, even IT.
A recent study that profiled nearly 40 new businesses reliably found that, of those started within the past decade or so, at least 33% had an MBA-holding founder.
Essential Skills and Insights for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The world is awash with people hiding truly innovative ideas. The trouble is that most people lack the basic knowledge needed to be competitive in the real world.
An MBA will serve the crucial role of equipping you with the right know-how to see your ideas to fruition. Specifically, that which is needed to manipulate the market, find a niche and make it sustainably profitable.
Indeed, like most other fields, entrepreneurial knowledge is a priori — the concepts are testable, predictable, and hence actionable. And an MBA will go a long way in giving you the innate ability to pattern out your businesses’ course in just this way.
Thiruvenkateswaran Ramachandran, explains how his background and education, including his Quantic Executive MBA, prepared him to launch his startup in this student spotlight article.
Practical Communication, Leadership, and Problem Solving Skills
There’s no other way to make something meaningful out of your new businesses — you need the ability to communicate efficiently.
Regardless of your line of trade, if you do indeed want to accrue enough venture capital to bring your business ideas into fruition, you need to learn how to convince investors of the soundness of your product, service, or business plan.
Additionally, as a startup founder, you will need to learn how to manage teams of workers. And just as well, you’ll need the conceptual tools needed to understand the scale of a problem, scope out its dimensions, and determine how best to tackle it.
With an MBA from Quantic, you will gain the skills of interpersonal communication, teamwork and collaboration, adaptive thinking — and that’s just some of the tools in the MBA’s holster.
Extra Academic Credentials and International Experience to Appeal to Potential Investors and Partners
If you opt to enroll in either one of Quantic’s two MBA programs, it’s an excellent step towards making a credible case for your worth in the international business market.
An MBA is not only universally recognized as a valuable credential by investors you will eventually pitch to. But it’s also a mark of global exposure and evidence of compatibility with most business environments worldwide.
Get Started With Your MBA at Quantic
While an MBA is impactful, it’s essential to recognize that it is not a replacement to a business’s uniquely crucial requirements: the confidence to take necessary risks. Nor will it furnish you with the passion needed to see an idea through the inevitable successes and pitfalls.
What it will do, however, is take your leadership skills to the next level. All while building connections in a global community of high-achieving classmates and alumni.
Quantic’s online MBA program can serve as a game-changer in your business career, and we’re not the only ones saying it.
Our premier 13-month degree program is designed for mid-career professionals. It integrates collaborative group projects with our rigorous MBA curriculum and is enhanced with specializations in management, leadership, and advanced strategy.
And you don’t have to take it from us. Vay Cao, alumni of Quantic Business School and founder of Free the PhD, an advocacy and career development platform for PhDs, has very interesting things to say about her time at our campus. Check out this case study we conducted on her work and startup.