Feeding your entrepreneurial drive: earning an MBA to start a business

For many business school entrants, an MBA program provides a sure pathway to job advancement or a new career. For others, it is the most crucial training opportunity for the greatest career journey of their life — entrepreneurship.

But how useful or necessary is an MBA for starting a business?

A BBC News article explores this question through talking with several entrepreneurs who each offer different points of view on the question. For example, for one entrepreneur an MBA was not necessary to succeed in growing a business. However, once his business was growing too rapidly to manage, he hired an MBA-qualified consultant to help.

Another entrepreneur avoided the debt of an MBA education and simply used resources to invest in his business. Adapting a learn-as-you-go approach eventually worked out to his benefit but perhaps not in the most efficient way. And lastly there are those entrepreneurs who did earn an MBA and became very successful with their business ventures. They point to the value of an MBA degree in becoming prepared and avoiding the lessons of failure.

However, building and nurturing a company until it reaches sustainable profitability and growth is something that many aspire to, yet few attain.

The often quoted statistic that eight out of 10 businesses fail may be somewhat misleading according to one Bloomberg article, yet the odds of success are still stacked against new business start-ups. The article explains that failure rates can be overinflated because the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates are based on business license renewals. This method doesn’t account for businesses that simply do not renew their licenses because they were sold at a profit or got acquired/merged with a larger company.

Nonetheless, many new businesses do fail. And according to the Bloomberg article mentioned above, the reasons might include poor planning, ignoring the competitive market, failing to adapt a plan based on market response, and underestimating the level of investment and work needed to launch and market a new product or service.

At Limestone College, the MBA program students will learn about business planning, analysis, strategy, and management — critical skills for advancing in today’s business world regardless of the career path they choose. However, for those interested in pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities, these skills will provide a solid foundation and know-how for various aspects of starting and running a business.