Is Business School for Entrepreneurs?
February 22, 2013
Just read an article titled ‘Is the MBA Relevant for Entrepreneurs?’ This is an interesting topic for me for a couple of reasons. First, I completed my MBA with dual concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Finance. The latter was a result of happenstance more than an actual interest in finance. I inadvertently satisfied the requirements for the concentration and find it almost comedic that I ended up with one. The former, however, was a target from the start.
Pursuing entrepreneurship as an academic discipline is an interesting undertaking and there are many out there who believe the mettle entrepreneurship requires cannot be learned, or, at the very least, it cannot be taught. It is this notion that strikes another chord with me. Coming from an undergraduate background in fine arts, I’ve run across the you-are-either-born-with-it-or-you-aren’t idea many times before.
I am among the group that holds entrepreneurship (and artistic endeavor for that matter) can be both taught and learned. I have been on both sides of this coin—i.e., the learning and the teaching—although I must admit that my hands-on foray into the world of entrepreneurship did result in, well, figuring out a way not to do it. Nonetheless, I maintain that success as an entrepreneur is much more a product of skills than personality traits. I will accept that certain folks have characteristics that lend themselves well to pursuing entrepreneurial ventures, but anyone with the desire to push forward a viable idea can do so. Entrepreneurial education just helps to make sure the execution is more likely to result in a sustainable business that is as strong as it can be.
Interestingly, entrepreneurship as an MBA concentration has grown by leaps and bounds over the past several decades. Many MBA aspirants have targeted business school as an opportunity to shore up knowledge, skill, and a network in order to pursue the dream of starting, sustaining, and perhaps even ultimately exiting one or more businesses. Academia has responded in kind. Not only will you find e-ship as a concentration at countless b-schools, but you will also find professors at universities who have dedicated their research lives to the activity, entrepreneurship centers housed within the walls of these universities that aim to support and nurture entrepreneurs and their ventures, and several annual b-school rankings, both graduate and undergraduate, centered around e’neurship that are highly competitive.
Whether an MBA is relevant for you and your entrepreneurial goals is something each individual must answer for themselves. In fact, honest introspection is precisely what admissions committees want most from applicants (read this recent Forbes article on that very idea). However, it is going to be very difficult to construct an argument about anything inherently irrelevant about utilizing an MBA education in order to help advance your career goals, whatever they may be.
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance of drawback, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and endless plans: The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would come his way.
Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it! Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe