If you’re like most aspiring entrepreneurs, you may be wondering whether you even need an MBA in order to succeed in the business world. After all, some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, never even graduated from college. Can an MBA teach you the skills you need for success, or would it mean spending a lot of tuition money on a credential that would look great on your resume, but wouldn’t necessarily make or break your business venture?
While it’s true that you don’t need an MBA in order to succeed in business, earning this degree can have many benefits for aspiring entrepreneurs. MBA tuition isn’t cheap, but going into business without a solid foundation of b-school knowledge will mean learning the ropes through trial and error, and the mistakes you’ll make as you learn the ins and outs of the business world could end up costing you much more than the price of tuition. A business-school education will give you the chance to work the kinks out of your business plan, build valuable network connections with peers, and foster relationships with mentors, as well as teaching you the basic business savvy you’ll need to make it big.
Establish a Foundation
In order to succeed in business, you need to know what you’re doing. Sure, , by making mistakes and picking things up as they go. But ultimately, leaping into a new business venture without a solid foundation of business knowledge could be costly.
An MBA will teach you about important aspects of running your own business, such as how to impose inventory and financial controls in order to prevent fraud; how to perform market research and understand the competitive landscape in which your business will operate; and how to form and implement marketing and e-commerce strategies. Earning an MBA can also leave you with valuable information about how to deal with investors, obtain funding from venture capitalists and maintain relationships with them, and how to expand without compromising the quality of your products. You’ll learn from the mistakes and successes of other entrepreneurs, running through case studies time and again until you could run a business in your sleep.
Polish Your Plan
You need more than just a good idea to succeed in business. You need a polished plan for how you’ll bring your idea to market. The stakes are high out in the real world; if your plan is flawed and fails, you could lose serious money. Worse, you could lose the faith of investors, meaning your next venture won’t get off the ground.
Grow Your Network
Whether you choose to or go with a more traditional path, business school will put you into contact with other talented, knowledgeable, and ambitious aspiring entrepreneurs. You’ll be exposed to new perspectives, cultures, and ideas, then form strong bonds with individuals who could prove to be valuable connections down the road. When you need some trustworthy managers or corporate connections in the future, you’ll be able to draw on your pool of b-school connections.
Business school will also help you form mentor-mentee relationships with faculty, many of whom are veteran businesspeople themselves. These mentor relationships can remain vital as you finish your degree and start, or expand, your business. They’ll be there to give guidance and answer questions as you grow a business of your own.
If you’re dreaming of starting your own business, or if you’ve already started your business but you’re feeling overwhelmed by the realities of entrepreneurship, an MBA could help. Business school can teach you everything you need to know about running your own business, so that when the time comes, you can avoid common pitfalls and mistakes, and guide your startup to long-term success.