What comes first – the MBA bird or the Entrepreneurial golden egg?
In other words, we should first start with a brief parley on whether an MBA really helps to push a start-up business forward (Read Are entrepreneurs born or made?).
After all, if history has taught us anything, it is teeming with uber successful entrepreneurs, often with no formal degree, let alone an MBA. Ever heard of the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and the other (x)illionaires? An incredible vision and some extraordinarily handy grey cells helped them gain a rightful place in the business hall of fame, for eternity.
But what about the other set of would-be business owners who are not anomalous miracles of human civilization? How can these individuals turn their ideas into successful ventures? The answer is in favour of an MBA with some form of entrepreneurial education, as indicated by several studies.
One such study, conducted by the University of Arizona Eller College of Business faculty members, in 2000, surveyed nearly 2,500 non-entrepreneurship vs entrepreneurship MBA graduates, for startup success.
The idea was to observe the impact of entrepreneurial studies, in MBA, given similar initial condition for the candidates surveyed – i.e., work experience, intellect, and other categorizations that determine admission into the MBA program.
They concluded that entrepreneurship education contributed to more risk-taking, a higher probability (three times) of starting a new business, or being self-employed, as compared to no entrepreneurial training.The propensity to earn more, the ability to expand ones’ business, and the capacity to transfer technology from academic training to the real world is also heightened. That probably explains why MBA startups from Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Wharton are making millions
Several other studies have also indicated a positive correlation between entrepreneurial studies, in MBA, and entrepreneurial success, after. It all comes down to certain advantages afforded as a part of such training.
- The above-mentioned quality of risk-taking is pronounced.
- MBA graduates are able to integrate their entrepreneurial education with other functional business aspects like marketing, accounting, economics, finance, and general management.
- Intercollege business plan competitions provide a stage to practice start-up skills.
- The social, and professional, interaction with the rich network of peers, classmates and alumni, helps in building relationships and ideas.
- Students are often afforded resources such as initial start-up funding, Loan Reduction Programs, and other financial incentives from either school or alumni.
- Students can also avail priceless resources in the form of rich experiences of faculty members, participate in entrepreneurial clubs and activities, associate with start-up incubators and obtain one-on-one coaching from experts.
As with everything else there are certain counterarguments that seem to suggest otherwise.
- Why brand IIT is better than IIM for start-ups in India
- Why Stanford is cautioning MBA students against entrepreneurship
- Top reasons why many top MBA grads won’t become entrepreneurs
- Do Indian entrepreneurs need an international MBA degree?
In this article, however, we will move on while siding with the opinion in favour of entrepreneurial MBA studies, and lay down some of the popular MBA programs that have been known to produce successful business founders and creators. The list, below, is borrowed from Financial Times’ 2017 best MBA programs for entrepreneurship. The ranking is based on b-school and b-school graduate surveys. We have also listed the various entrepreneurial resources, and education measures, provided in these b-schools.
Best MBA Programs for Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups
Top Business Schools with the Best Entrepreneurship Resources
|Business School||Entrepreneurship Resources|
|Stanford Graduate School of Business||
Notable Entrepreneurs: Joe Coulombe (Trader Joe’s), Phil Knight (Nike), Vinod Khosla (Sun Microsystems), Sam Yagan (OkCupid)
MIT entrepreneurs generate $2 trillion annual rev.
Notable Entrepreneurs: William Porter (eTrade), Magid Abraham (Comscore), Robin Chase (ZipCar), Bill Taylor (Fast Company Magazine)
|Babson College, Olin GSB||
Notable Entrepreneurs: Arthur M. Blank (Home Depot), Jonathan Carson (Family Education Network), Mathew R. Coffin (LowerMyBills.com), Mir Ibrahim Rahman (GEO Tv)
|University of Cambridge, Judge||
Notable Entrepreneurs: Ebon Upton (Raspberry Pi Foundation), Jas Bagniewski (Eve Sleep), Ben Barry (Ben Barry Modelling Agency)
|University of California at Berkeley, Haas||
Notable Entrepreneurs: Tom Anderson (MySpace), Marla Beck (BlueMercury), John Hanke (Keyhole, Inc. now Google Earth), Hansoo Lee (Magoosh)
|Dartmouth College Tuck||
Notable Entrepreneurs: Leon Black (Apollo Global Management), Naval Ravikant (AngelList), T. J. Rodgers (Cypress Semiconductors), John Bello (SoBe)
|City University Cass||
Notable Entrepreneurs: Sir Stelois Haji-Ioannou (easyGroup), Barrie Pettman (Emerald Group Publishing)
|Carnegie Mellon, Tepper||
Notable Entrepreneurs: Vinod Khosla (Sun Microsystems), David Alan Tepper (Appaloosa Management). Recent entrepreneur success stories
|University of Oxford, Said||
Notable Entrepreneurs:Sujeet Kumar (Kalinga Kusum&LexMantra), Elizabeth Filippouli (Global Thinkers), Michael Thornton & Greg Fitzgerald (Carbon Analytics) and more. List of top Said entrepreneurs is available here.
|Columbia Business School||
Notable Entrepreneurs: Nahema Mehta (Art Remba), Peggy Woodford (Woodford Capital Management), Marc Glosserman (Hill Country Barbecue Market), Alex Dickinson (Illumina, DNA sequencing).List of top Said entrepreneurs is available here.
Other noteworthy b-schools, for start-up blessings, include Chicago Booth, Wharton, Yale, Imperial College, Darden, Harvard, and pretty much all your big time big shots, and often even the relatively smaller shots like Brigham Young University, Ipade (Mexico), Incae (Costa Rica).
MBA, with an immersion in entrepreneurship training, can bring about the awareness that many new business owners are needed to possess. It provides the resources to beat the odds of failures. You can also explore Masters in Entrepreneurship options.
There is but one simple idea behind entrepreneurial education – the idea is to promote yours.
If you are looking to peek into the life of an entrepreneur, here’s an interesting read about a typical business day of an entrepreneur working to take her garment business into the next level.
Also, have you read these entrepreneurship blogs?