If you’re an entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur, you may look up to business moguls like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, who build their business empires without the benefit of a graduate education in business.
But these success stories are relatively rare; much more common are the tales of men and women who mastered management theory, learned about business structures, and incubated their business ideas in the sheltered environment of an MBA program. Whether you’re dreaming of starting your own business, or looking for ways to take your own business to the next level, an MBA could help. MBA programs impart valuable skills that may be hard to master outside of the rarified halls of academia. What’s more, these programs take the trial-and-error element out of entrepreneurial endeavor, making your first small business venture more likely to succeed, and smoothing the seas for future ventures.
Learn the Skills You Need to Run a Successful Business
Sure, you don’t need an MBA in order to start a business; you just need to be able to come up with seed money, find some investors, and hang out a shingle. But if that business venture fails, you could lose your capital and even find yourself in debt. Worse, it’ll be harder to convince investors to fund your next venture, because they’ll be understandably turned off by your previous failure.
By earning an MBA before you venture out into the world of entrepreneurship, you’ll have the chance to develop the skills you need to succeed in business in a systemic fashion. You’ll learn about management theory, business planning, and different business structures in-depth. You’ll gain insight into the strategies of successful business leaders, and you’ll work on learning how to replicate those successes in an environment where failure needn’t be catastrophic. Rather than having to outsource tasks such as writing a compelling business plan, you’ll learn to assemble these documents yourself, which will leave you with more control over your strategy for attracting investors as well as with a deeper understanding of your business and its goals.
Work Out the Bugs in Your Business Plan
Business school will put you in close contact with professors and alumni who can help you crystallize and refine your business plan until it’s ready to be put to the test in the outside world. Your business plan will benefit greatly from your professors’ years of experience and expertise. If your idea is doomed to failure, you’ll learn about it with little risk to your future entrepreneurial potential. You’ll also learn how to develop viable business plans for the future.
Network, Network, Network
Whether you choose to attend on-campus MBA programs or MBA online programs, this degree will offer you one of the most valuable networking opportunities of your career. It’s a truism that adversity brings people together, and going to grad school together will help you and your classmates forge strong bonds of friendship and professional respect. Most, if not all, of your classmates will be professionals with at least a few years of work experience in the business world, and they’ll be able to bring knowledge and insights of their industries to bear on the MBA classroom. Each one of them is on the way to greater things, and someday you’ll be able to turn these personal connections into professional or social opportunities as you grow your business or otherwise move forward in your career.
Don’t discount the importance of other alumni connections, either. Completing an MBA means you’ll automatically have something in common with many other business leaders. This, too, will give you access to a pool of potential partners, eligible business contacts, or fulfilling social relationships.
Grow Your Business
Launching a company is one thing, but actually running that business is a very different animal. Any number of problems could arise once your business is off the ground; MBA studies can give you the skills and insight to identify and solve these problems. If your existing business is stagnating or you’re simply interested in taking things up a notch, an MBA can instill the skills you’ll need to expand to a national or international market. And, thanks to your network of b-school contacts, you’ll have access to the talent you need to make it happen.
While you don’t need an MBA to start or grow a business, earning the degree can be your ticket to business greatness. The odds of any given business venture failing are too high not to give yourself every chance of success. Whether you already own a business or you’re still an aspiring entrepreneur, make an investment in yourself and your future — enroll in an MBA.
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