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Are MBAs a waste of money and time for entrepreneurs?

MBA is mastering of Degree in Business. Some says why study and put so much effort on it if you are already earning or a successful Entrepreneur. IS it really a waste of time? or Is MBA helpful for Entrepreneurs? Would really appreciate your thoughts about this.

40 Replies

Chuck Bartok
6
1
Chuck Bartok Entrepreneur
Marketing and Sales Manager at MD Building Systems of Florida, Inc
I have never seen the advantage of MBA talent, in recent times, for a true entrepreneurial mindset.
Most are instructed by theorists, who have never risked a dollar of their or had any practical business experience.
As my dad said many years ago, some one has to go out start the businesses and create jobs for the degreed.
I learned a lot at a very early age listening to self made entrepreneurs and applying massive action to what I heard.
today I would credit a potential employee who has been in real business circumstance over anyone with a degree.
The degree of innovation, belief in self and burning desire to succeed on own talent seems to not be a product of the halls of education.
Irwin Stein
8
0
Irwin Stein Advisor
Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.
I used to call my first failed business my MBA. It consumed my life for about 18 months and cost me about $70,000. I was in my 30s. I had a law degree and had worked on Wall Street. I understood basic accounting. Do I wish I had had an MBA. Yes . Not that it would have necessarily made the business successful, but I made some classic mistakes that I probably would not have made. Years later I taught business school students and interacted with MBA candidates and faculty. Many of the faculty had a lot of business experience, many consulted for startups and established businesses. An MBA is not for everyone. Neither is entrepreneurship. They are not mutually exclusive but in the final analysis, knowledge is power. An MBA might not help, but it couldn't hurt. `
Martin Omansky
1
0
Martin Omansky Entrepreneur
Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional
Always good to have a solid foundation upon which to build a career. However, most MBA programs don't really teach one about the real world. Only experience does that. Sent from my iPhone
Terri Friel
9
1
Terri Friel Advisor
CEO Doctus and Member International Advisory Board of Cracow School of Business CUE at Cracow University of Economics
Disagree with most of you. Was a Dean of a b school and taught in Bschools for 23 years after 10 years of working in industry as an engineer. A good MBA program should teach you some very valuable principles that I see many entrepreneurs do not understand in my consulting. I think it is very valuable if you have some experience first. About 5 years of business experience seems to make a significant difference in how people approach the degree. The other aspect of an MBA is other professionals in the room that teach their peers and build networks for new business relationships in the future. It would be pretty tough to replace the value of an MBA with just experience or any other degree. I think that's why it has persisted for so many years.
Maher Daoudi
1
3
Maher Daoudi Entrepreneur
CEO and Co-Founder at Skillvo
An MBA is a tool for the corporate world. Entrepreneurs need a "right now" broad education that equips the entrepreneur to use the latest tools and business practices to win. Digital marketing, new stuff. Cloud computing, new stuff. Managing a virtual team all over the world, new stuff.

You're not going to learn the "new stuff" in an MBA program. MBA program....simple child's play.

Entrepreneur Education? That's the toughest education of all because it never stops. An entrepreneur has to constantly learn new processes, systems and figure out how to tie multiple departments together and then redo it over and over as technology, people and environment change.

The reason it's impossible to teach entrepreneurship is because as soon as a program is put together to teach it, it's obsolete.

Entrepreneurship is a combination of an intense resilient obsessive grit to win....adaptive leadership skills to adjust from leading a small team to large team....and the desire to seek the latest knowledge to sharpen the entrepreneurs vision.....you can't teach people to be resilient, gritty, ambitious how to lead is constantly changing environments and live on the edge of risk.

Workshops, online courses, mentors, books, other entrepreneurs experiences and learn by doing......hacks to gain 10 years of formal education in 1 year, that's the entrepreneur way.
Ashley Aitken
0
2
Ashley Aitken Advisor
CEO and Co-Founder at HEDventures and Innovately
Nothing against the great MBAs around the place, some even have some great startup / entrepreneurial focused units/courses within them.

However, generally speaking in startup land, MBA stands for Must Be Avoided :-)

MBAs are for people who want to execute a known and proven business model, with perhaps some Horizon 1 innovation.

Startups are about searching for a repeatable, scalable, and viable business model. Very different skills and knowledge needed.

I suggest you would be better off reading "The Startup Owner's Manual' by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf.

Just my opinion.

Cheers,
Ashley.

Scott McGregor
3
1
Scott McGregor Entrepreneur • Advisor
Advisor, co-founder, consultant and part time executive to Tech Start-ups. Based in Silicon Valley.
I had run an entrepreneurial venture before going to get a masters in business from Carnegie-Mellon. Since then I've been in and even led multiple start-ups, and I have even taught masters of business courses for UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and Univ. of Phoenix Online. The thing about education is that it is designed to prepare you for what you might need some day, because in the moment you need it you won't be able to make enough time to make a good decision. You will always anticipate things you might need that you don't turn out to need. You might consider that a waste of time. Also true that if you have already become a successful entrepreneur you might not "need" that education. But know one knows in advance the answers.
Jason Gibb
8
1
Jason Gibb Entrepreneur
Real Estate, Director & Business Development, MBA, CMA
Do MBS's make you an entrepreneur, No. Did I love the experience, Yes. I know people that have been successful entrepreneurs both with and without MBA's, does not seem make a difference in my opinion, however... In my early 30's I ran a manufacturing company with $12M in sales. The company was acquired. In my late 30's I got an MBA and realized that if I had the MBA knowledge when the company was sold I could have gotten at least $1 Million more for the company. So is the MBA worth it? absolutely because it gives perspective on many things that you cannot learn being an entrepreneur as you go along. There are things you know that you don't know, but many things you don't know you don't know... and an MBA puts them on the radar so that you know where to look and what advice to seek and from whom at the right time you need it. I have seen many entrepreneurs fail and blow up their businesses because they reach a point where they are in over their heads and out of their range or they start listening to one set of advisors with no perspective or objectivity because they don't have the case study background that a good MBA delivers.
Heather Hollick
1
0
Heather Hollick Advisor
Executive, Professional, Career, and Life Coach
People get an education -- especially an advanced degree -- for three reasons:
  1. The knowledge
  2. The credibility
  3. The network
I have an MBA from UC Berkeley, which I got after being in the workforce for almost 20 years. I went for two reasons: the knowledge and the network (although the credibility of the Haas School has never hurt me.) It remains one of the most amazing learning experiences in my life. What I learned about pricing alone would have made it 'worth it.' But then there was also understanding competitive strategy, micro and macro economics, game theory, and the half-dozen other subjects that opened my mind to the way the world works.

As for the network, well, you'll have to value that yourself. How valuable is it to be connected -- and committed to the fellow success -- of thousands of people who share your personal ambitions at being successful?

With all of that said, whenever someone asks me, "Should I get an MBA" the answer for them is probably "No."

You decide for yourself. I wish you success.
Ashley Aitken
1
0
Ashley Aitken Advisor
CEO and Co-Founder at HEDventures and Innovately
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