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12 MAY 2019

Do you need an MBA degree to become an entrepreneur?

Do you remember the most successful episodes of Sharktank? Look at the ones in which Mark Cuban or Chris Sacca have invested. Even some of the very successful ones such as – Scrub Daddy (investment made by Lori) could do $140 Million dollars in sales. He studied a Major in Psychology, and not an MBA. 

I am a strong believer of the opinion (Calling it an opinion and not a fact) that An MBA degree cannot make you an entrepreneur. I believe that an MBA degree can make an “Already entrepreneur” more resourceful and more capable of creating success in a venture. However, an MBA degree independently cannot shift your mindset and tell you to quit your job and start depending on your own actions to create a livelihood. 

However, an MBA degree can significantly help the existing Entrepreneurial genes in creating a huge success out of their venture. 

Your ability to develop ROCKSOLID Business Plans 

One of the very important benefits of an MBA degree is that an education in business helps entrepreneurs develop great business plans. Everyone has an idea and everybody’s neighbor has an idea to, but one needs a strong structure and a plan to put that idea and make an enterprise out of it. An MBA degree helps one understand how to build a strong business plan that can measure the effectiveness of the actions the teams will take in order to scale an organization. 

A lot of entrepreneurs tend to stay busy or stay occupied with actions that may not yield results. I am not suggesting that these entrepreneurs pretend to look busy. NO! I am suggesting that it is hard to find out if one is working towards creating results or if one is stuck in the MORASS of working hard. A solid business plan helps you keep track of your performance, and an MBA degree helps you develop one. 

Creating Leadership

A very important factor influencing the success of any enterprise is the effectiveness of the top leadership. How will you motivate teams to run in a direction or explored uncharted territories and stay motivated? People tend to lack focus in early stage companies in the wake of financial uncertainties. Not just employees but even the founders tend to chase easy money at the cost of long term goals, and it can hamper the growth plans or the whole purpose of the existence of the organization. Business schools expose MBA’s to a wide variety of chaotic cases and situations, and train entrepreneurs to deal with these situations in a simulated environment. 

Raising capital: You cannot afford to grow in 50 years with the money saved across three generations. You have to reach out to external investors, be conversational in finance and accounting, understand how your actions are related to the wealth creation to attract investors. An MBA degree makes one very conversational across these subjects and competencies. 

It is quite common for VC’s to invest in teams and in companies, and not necessarily in MBA’s. However, most of the entrepreneurs raising capital have been MBA’s in the recent past as they get used to playing with money and measuring their effectiveness financially. 

Being the right general manager: You got to understand how the various functions such as Finance, Operations, and marketing play with each other. If you are investing tonnes of capital and human resources in operations, you got to understand how to back up your organizational claims with the right set of marketing messages, and how to assess the financial results for the actions you took while restructuring the operations. For example- if a Pizza chain decides to invest in its delivery model in order to compete with the existing 30 minute or a free Pizza campaign, an MBA degree has to assess the benefit of that investment. What tools will you use to measure – how much incremental benefit will you get in delivering a PIZZA in 18 minutes, and if that is worth the investment. How will you leverage the 18-minute delivery message, and get your customers to know that it is going to make a difference? Sitting in SILOS and building the most effective supply chain will not help if your customers do not value you, or if your Corporate finance team hates you for the amount of money you had to spend just because you thought a change was important. An MBA degree builds this muscle necessary to juggle these balls simultaneously. 

Getting Credibility and network: this is another thing that may or may not matter to an Entrepreneur. An MBA degree from a top business school brings in a lot of credibilities. If you go to a top business school, the view of the world changes. Although I wish the world did not operate like this, the reality is that – Just because you are associated with a top business school, the world thinks that you are very likely to make the right decisions. Investors become more open to meeting you, people become more open to working with you, and customers tend to believe you more with a Rocksolid MBA degree.  An MBA degree also brings a solid network of people who graduate from your school, and you get to find business partners, mentors, friends, and customers from this network. You also get access to a very premium club that can bring a lot of resources in this world to your doorstep. 

In the nutshell, an MBA degree has a strong intrinsic value for people exploring to be their own bosses. It is definitely worth it even if you do not know what will you get from it. It is an expedited learning curve and totally worth the time and money.

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