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
February 19, 2013
How many self-assessment tools for personal development are out there? Let me Google that for you … Well, I don’t know about you, but the ocean certainly seems red with more than 4.7 million search query results.
If you are looking for such a tool or wondering about any that are particularly relevant to meeting your academic and career goals, let me focus your search by directing you to GMAC’s ReflectTM. Developed by GMAC in partnership with Hogan Assessments, Reflect offers clients a unique report and subsequent action plan, including resources, that are presented from a business perspective using business language.
After purchasing the tool for $99.99, customers take approximately 45 minutes to answer more than 500 dichotomous questions (i.e., true/false, yes/no) and immediately receive quantified ranking across ten different competencies. From operational thinking to strategic vision, from resilience to interpersonal intuition, each of the competencies are presented alongside details, actions, and benchmarks. For the next three years, participants can work to complete prescribed actions, utilize embedded resources to do so, and track their personal developmental progress.
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Reflect is the action-oriented focus coupled with resources with which individuals can complete those actions. After all, there is little value in reading a descriptive assessment report without any prescriptive information that allows you to strive toward betterment. This notion is precisely what underpins Kaplan’s Smart ReportsTM technology.
Interestingly, the Reflect project was originally began under the auspices of creating a soft-skills assessment for admissions committees at business schools to use when making admissions decisions. It was thought that such an assessment would be a useful complement to the hard skills assessment of competencies the GMAT quantifies. As the product development team moved forward, it became apparent that “soft-skills are coachable and not appropriate for high-stakes testing,” said Andy Martelli, VP of GMAC product development, as paraphrased here. During a product preview event in held last year in Chicago, Mr. Martelli went onto explain that the target customers of Reflect were business school students interested in identifying strengths and weaknesses in order to zero-in on specific behaviors they can work to modify during the time spent pursuing and professionally implementing an advanced degree in management.
If you have used Reflect, please give us your feedback below!