If you love the idea of starting your own business and believe you have what it takes to succeed, you’re in good company. Research suggests that 65 percent of Americans share your entrepreneurial ambition and optimism.
Unfortunately, the reality of running a business isn’t always so sunny. Sobering data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that one in five American small businesses fail in the first year.
While some challenges are impossible to avoid, many entrepreneurs fail simply because they’ve neglected to develop the unique skillset required for business success. They don’t know how to effectively evaluate opportunities, obtain capital, or assess risks. These skills can be gained through the day-to-day challenges of running a business, but the risks associated with this approach are significant.
A better option? Enrolling in a Master of Business Administration program prior to beginning your journey as an entrepreneur. Your MBA will help you cultivate key skills, including technical competencies as well as skills in communication, cultural awareness, and much more.
Despite being well aware of the existence of the MBA, many people wonder: What degree do you need to own a business? We’re here to clarify while settling any misconceptions you may have. Keep reading to learn what you can gain from an MBA program designed for aspiring entrepreneurs.
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Is MBA Necessary for Entrepreneurs?
Many aspiring entrepreneurs assume that they can gain all the knowledge they need through the clichéd school of hard knocks. This approach has certainly worked for some of today’s most respected business leaders, but it’s a risky path forward. In our emphasis on the wunderkind phenomenon, we’ve forgotten that many of today’s greatest business successes secured their MBAs first. Such was the case with Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Nike’s Phil Knight.
For every Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, there are many failed entrepreneurs who have learned that proceeding without graduate-level education means learning the hard way—leading to the potential loss of huge sums of money. This can be devastating not only for the budding entrepreneur who makes avoidable mistakes but also to any workers they employ or clients who rely on them.
In addition to providing an excellent foundation of knowledge and access to resources, an MBA offers a viable backup plan. In the volatile world of entrepreneurship, it’s always important to have a fallback. The transferable skills and prestige associated with an MBA can help you find work in a variety of sectors. Should you ultimately decide that the entrepreneurial approach is not for you, the right degree could still pave the path to a fulfilling business-oriented career.
Reasons an MBA Can Help You Start a Business
An MBA is a compelling option no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey. Perhaps you have concrete plans for launching a startup in a specific sector. Or maybe you’re interested in the idea of opening a business but aren’t quite sure how to proceed. Either way, you might be wondering: Can I start my own business after I earn my MBA?
The answer is a resounding yes. What’s more, your MBA could grant you a variety of advantages you might not enjoy if you embark on your entrepreneurial plans right away. Yes, you might need to delay the launch of your business for a few years while you focus on graduate coursework, but the knowledge, skills, and connections you gain along the way could turbocharge future efforts.
If you’re like many entrepreneurial-minded individuals, you may wonder: What degree do you need to own a business? Is graduate-level education truly necessary? To help you decide, we’ve highlighted the most compelling reasons for earning your MBA before you open a business.
Learn to Think More Strategically
A strategic mindset will serve you well as you take on today’s complex business environment. Every decision you make—no matter how small it may seem at the outset—could hold huge implications for the future of your business. Your thought process should build on an effective framework to integrate data and opinions from several resources. You’ll need to take research, metrics, industry trends, and even your own intuition into account.
While many people assume that such a thought process can only be developed through experience in the business world, this could not be further from the truth. Through targeted coursework and exposure to the business world’s greatest success stories, you can discover why strategic thinking is so important—and you can do the hard work needed to develop your own critical thinking skills. You’ll delve into key theories and frameworks, which can serve as a much-needed blueprint as you take on a variety of entrepreneurial challenges.
Improve Communication Skills
Effective written and verbal communication is key to success in all walks of life, but it’s particularly important for aspiring entrepreneurs. How you communicate can determine whether you’re able to secure a commitment from investors, acquire the best team members to support your mission, or relate to your clients and customers. Communication is also crucial for developing your brand and marketing strategy.
Your MBA program will introduce you to the many facets of business communication. You’ll learn how to inspire and motivate those with the potential to move your business forward. You will also discover how to adapt your message to appeal to many types of stakeholders.
Cover Relevant Curriculum for Entrepreneurs
All core MBA classes are relevant to entrepreneurs. This program provides a crucial knowledge base through classes such as New Venture Creation, Entrepreneurial Finance, and Sustainable Growth and Scalability—all of which are essential for entrepreneurial success.
In addition to building a foundation with the courses highlighted above, an MBA can provide a targeted curriculum specifically developed with future entrepreneurs in mind. If you pursue a concentration in Entrepreneurship, you will take classes that delve into the specific concerns and processes related to venture creation, operational financial management, and sustainable growth.
With an Entrepreneurship concentration, you’ll gain an overview of key concepts to support your business objectives at every stage. You’ll also have the opportunity to apply your newfound skills as you develop business plans you can put into action.
Identify Access Opportunities to Resources
Many aspiring business owners underestimate the extent to which they’ll require resources at the outset of the business formation process. Knowing which resources are necessary serves as an important first step, but this is only the beginning. Once you recognize what you require, you’ll need to actually obtain said resources—and this will be far easier if you have an MBA to point you in the right direction.
As you pursue your concentration in Entrepreneurship, you will learn how to evaluate and take advantage of economic opportunities such as mezzanine financing and bank lines of credit. You’ll analyze these options based on the realities of risk and availability in your industry of choice.
Grow Personally and Professionally
From empathy to grit, an MBA can help you develop many key qualities for your developing personal and professional life. MBA programs may be rigorous, but the inherent challenges of MBA coursework are exactly what you need to prepare for a promising future.
As an MBA student, your rapid growth will be facilitated by instructors who want to see you succeed—and fellow students who share your bright outlook. A carefully developed MBA curriculum can make you more creative, intuitive, or empathetic. Such growth will leave you truly prepared to take on the opportunities and challenges of a competitive market.
Advance Your Business Skill Set
A variety of tools and techniques can be called upon to handle the wide array of business issues you’ll encounter as a budding entrepreneur. Ideally, your business skill set will include the following:
- Project management
- Quantitative reasoning
- Risk management
- Quality assurance
- Asset management
- Public relations
These and other essentials can be developed under the guidance of respected professionals. Your instructors will introduce you to key tools and technologies, while also giving you the chance to apply them through case studies, computer simulations, and capstone projects.
Many of the greatest benefits of an MBA derive from the people with whom you interact while pursuing your degree. Whether these individuals intend to launch startups or find work in the corporate sector, they can prove valuable as you seek the resources and insight needed to get your business up and running.
The students and instructors involved with your MBA program form an excellent networking foundation upon which you can continue to build in years to come. You may continue to rely on these connections long after you’ve entered the business world.
In addition to fellow students, your MBA program will introduce you to valuable mentors who can continue to provide guidance long after you’ve graduated. Your advisor will be a key source of inspiration, as will your instructors. You may also encounter mentorship opportunities while completing capstone projects. Through these relationships, you’ll gain excellent insight, as well as the confidence needed to tackle your most ambitious business goals.
If you dream of owning a business but need to acquire targeted skills and knowledge first, you are the perfect candidate for a Master of Business Administration. Don’t neglect this opportunity to position yourself for entrepreneurial success.
Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!