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Entrepreneurship, Startups etc

Posted: April 14th, 2013, 10:31 am
by MBACrystalBall
This thread is for aspiring Enterpreneurs. If you have been toying with the idea of entrepreneurship and have an idea for a startup, but there are some aspects that you aren't sure about, post your queries here.

Read these introductory posts first. We'll keep updating this list as we publish more Entrepreneurship related articles.

Entrepreneurship 101
1. Are entrepreneurs born or made?
2. MBA entrepreneurs: Why many bschool grads may never launch a startup
3. Best Entrepreneurship MBA Resouces and successful alumni startups
4. Entrepreneurship: Making money from a franchisee business model
5. Women entrepreneurs in India with tech startups
6. Business Plan FAQ: What is it and how to create one?

In this thread we'll try to provide perspectives to help you with your startup plans.

Neeraj Agarwal started his career as an entrepreneur and went on to complete his MBA from Cambridge (read his Cambridge MBA story). After graduating, he has been advising startups in a formal capacity for several years.

Neeraj has offered to share his experience and knowledge about the field with MBA Crystal Ball readers who plan to take up the road that he's all-too-familiar with now.

Re: Entrepreneurship, Startups etc

Posted: June 4th, 2013, 3:36 am
by NeerajAgarwal
Hello everyone,

My name is Neeraj Agarwal and I am an entrepreneur with an MBA from the University of Cambridge. As Sameer has already pointed out, I've had a bit of an experience starting my own businesses as well as mentoring and advising start-ups in India and in the UK. I don't consider myself a 'guru', but would be very happy to share my knowledge and experiences with all budding entrepreneurs out here.

So don't hold yourself back anymore. If you've got a business idea that you want to discuss, have a question about writing a business plan, get some help or advice on your marketing strategy, customer segmentation, financials or anything to do with starting out on your own, please feel free to post your queries and I will try my best to answer them.

All the best!


Re: Entrepreneurship, Startups etc

Posted: September 6th, 2014, 10:43 pm
by roydev
Hi Neeraj,

My aim in life is to become an entrepreneur/business person.
I'm currently in the final year of engineering.
I come from a non business family background so i thought it would be better if i
studied mba in entrepreneurship where i might find like-minded people to start up a new venture.
In India i found just a couple of colleges offering mba in entrepreneurship like
EDI,Nirma ,but I'm not sure of them because of lack of information. Kindly throw some light on this mba specialization in india and whether its wise to take it up.

If its not worth, then i could do foreign mba in entrepreneurship
With 2 years of work experience, could you suggest top/ good and worthy b-schools? i havent been able to find any substantial information/rankings on this either.
It would be very helpful if you could guide me through this ,I know what i want to be but I'm clueless as to which path to choose.

Thanks and Regards.

Re: Entrepreneurship, Startups etc

Posted: September 8th, 2014, 2:44 pm
by MBACrystalBall
This thread has been dormant for a while, so I'm not sure if Neeraj is getting any notifications from the forum. I'll jump in to share some perspectives.
roydev wrote:Kindly throw some light on this mba specialization in india and whether its wise to take it up.
For starters, read this post on why many bschool grads may never launch a startup.

If you are really keen on entrepreneurship, the best way to learn would be to start right now. Start small, take smaller risks. But roll up your sleeves and experience it first hand.

roydev wrote:If its not worth, then i could do foreign mba in entrepreneurship

An MBA abroad will help only after a few years of work experience when you realise what gaps are there in your profile and connect them to the MBA.

roydev wrote:With 2 years of work experience, could you suggest top/ good and worthy b-schools?

Two years will be less for international MBA course, as the average for the top MBA colleges in USA is around 5 years.

All the top MBA programs are have a strong entrepreneurship focus - Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT Sloan.

In the next tier, you'll find programs like Haas, Kelley, Marshall that are also good for entrepreneurship, though it's not their primary focus.

Read more about why the Babson MBA is number 1 in entrepreneurship.

Good luck with your entrepreneurial journey.

Re: Entrepreneurship, Startups etc

Posted: May 3rd, 2018, 4:01 pm
by MBACrystalBall
Entrepreneurship ranks high on the careers list of ambitious folks who want the flexibility and the freedom of managing their own business ventures. Managing a startup is the best way to pool in all the knowledge picked up in a top Bschool. In this guest post for MBA Crystal Ball, Nupur Gupta (Founder of Crack The MBA) covers the best MBA programs for entrepreneurs and the excellent resources they offer. There’s a lot of information in there, so bookmark the page and digest the data slowly.

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Top Entrepreneurship MBA: Business schools with entrepreneurial resources
by Nupur Gupta

In recent times, there has been an increased interest in entrepreneurship – the global financial crisis and rise of tech startups being in no small part responsible for this change in sentiment.

As a result, we have seen a lot of student interest in MBA programs with strong resources for Entrepreneurship. Therefore, the next two posts will be dedicated to this topic.

In today’s post, we will explore resources for entrepreneurship at 5 schools. In the interest of brevity, we will not look at each and every resource in detail but list them with the requisite links in one place to give a comparative idea between schools.

The schools that we will look at are:
Stanford, Harvard Business School, Wharton, MIT, U.C. Berkeley – Haas

Stanford MBA

Organizations & Resources
- Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
- Stanford Technology Ventures Program
- Stanford Entrepreneurship Network

Programs & Projects
- Entrepreneurial Summer Program
- Experiential Projects working with entrepreneurs
- Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

- Stanford Entrepreneur’s Challenge ($150k prize money) via BASES

- Entrepreneurship Club
- High Tech Club

- Entrepreneurship Week
- Berkeley Stanford Cleantech Conference
- GSB Conference on Entrepreneurship (Part of Entrepreneurship Week)

Select Courses
- Managing Growing Enterprises
- Social Entrepreneurship
- Entrepreneurship from the Perspective of Women

Harvard Business School (HBS MBA)

Organizations & Resources
- Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship
- Student Resource Center
- California Research Center

Programs & Projects
- Entrepreneurship-oriented Field Study
- Venture Creation Program
- Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program

- Business Plan Contest ($80k prize money)

- Entrepreneurship Club

- Entrepreneurship Conference

Select Courses
- The Entrepreneurial Manager (Required course for all MBA students)
- Doing Business in China
- Entrepreneurship in Education Reform

Wharton MBA

Organizations & Resources
- Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs
- Wharton Small Business Development Center
- Center for Technology Transfer

Programs & Projects
- Venture Initiation Program
- Entrepreneur In Residence Program

- Business Plan Competition ($100k prize money)

- Wharton Entrepreneurship Club
- Technology Club
- Wharton PE & VC Club

- Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference
- Wharton PE & VC Conference

Select Courses
- Venture Capital & The Finance of Innovation
- Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship
- Product Design & Development


Organizations & Resources
- Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship
- Sloan Entrepreneurs for International Development
- MIT Entrepreneurship Review

Programs & Projects (Also includes Founders’ Skills Accelerator)
- Entrepreneurship & Innovation Track
- Entrepreneurs In Residence Program
- MIT Global Startup Workshop

- MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition
- MIT Clean Energy Prize
- MIT Ideas Global Challenge

- MIT Sloan Entrepreneurship & Innovation Club
- MIT Sloan Business Club

- MIT VC Conference

- Future Medical Technologies
- Introduction to Technological Entrepreneurship
- Development of Mechanical Products

Berkeley Haas MBA

Organizations & Resources
- Lester Center for Entrepreneurship
- Startup@Berkeley

Programs & Projects
(Also includes Entrepreneurs’ Roundtable, EA Makers Meetup, Berkeley Lab Tours, Berkeley Collaboration Mixers)
- Berkeley Entrepreneurs’ Forum
- Best Practices Series
- Life as an Entrepreneur

Competitions (Also includes Venture Capital Investment Competition)
- Startup Competition
- Global Social Venture Competition
- Intel Global Challenge

- Haas Entrepreneurs’ Association
- Berkeley Solutions Group

- Berkeley Stanford Cleantech Conference
- Berkeley Finance Conference

- Opportunity Recognition: Technology & Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley
- Marketing for High Tech Entrepreneurs
- Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology

Some observations:

- All of the schools covered here are ranked for their Entrepreneurial programs in U.S. News’ rankings
- All of the schools have centers for entrepreneurship
- All of the schools have a club for entrepreneurship and peripheral clubs which are related in some way or the other
- Most schools have business plan competitions in some shape or form. While Stanford GSB does not have its own business plan, students can participate in the one sponsored by BASES
- In terms of coursework, schools do differ with some schools focusing more on Technology, others focusing on Product Development and so on. This could be a differentiator in making the choice
- Access to VCs could be a consideration
- The geographical location for the venture could be another consideration (as an example, for technology ventures, west coast may make sense whereas for certain ventures focused on fashion, NY might be the place to go)

In Part 2 of the series (scroll down for it), we will look at:

- Selected startups that have been impacted by graduates from these schools
- How graduates involved with these startups used resources available at school to aid them in their entrepreneurial journeys

Re: Entrepreneurship, Startups etc

Posted: May 3rd, 2018, 4:07 pm
by MBACrystalBall
Nupur Gupta, Founder of Crack The MBA, wrote a series of MBA entrepreneurship articles on MBA Crystal Ball. In this article, she describes the various entrepreneurial resources available in the best MBA programs. She also lists down some top startups that were built using the resources available in bschool.

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MBA alumni with successful startup ventures
by Nupur Gupta

Welcome back to Part 2 of our two-part series on Entrepreneurship. In part 1 above, we looked at the resources for entrepreneurship available at five schools i.e. Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, MIT Sloan and Berkeley Haas.

In this post, we will look at a few startups from graduates of these schools and also how the founding members at these startups were able to leverage their education, resources and network at these schools to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. (Stanford) is a career site for young professionals under the age of 30. The company is a result of a collaborative research project between the School of Engineering and Graduate School of Business at Stanford. The premise is to make job search a more fun and engaging prospect for the Facebook Millennial Generation. The site was started by Stanford MBA graduates Brendan and Adeyemi. The two met at business school and conceived Identified as part of a research project. To date, Identified has raised $22.5mn in venture funding and has a user base of over 10 million users aged 18-29. (Harvard) was started by section-mates Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss at Harvard Business School. Their company enables women to wear a new dress for every occasion. The outfits enable women to look trendy and glamorous at all times at just a fraction of the price that they would otherwise pay to buy a designer dress. In addition, this also enables designers to reach a greater audience and create an addiction for their wares with future clients. The company has received coverage in esteemed publications such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Time, among others. (Wharton)

WallStreetOasis (WSO) is an online community, which provides guidance and entertainment to professionals working in finance. WSO receives over 4 million Pageviews a month and provides various products and services to its members such as financial modeling training, industry guides, mock interviews, mentoring, resume review and access to Wall Street jobs. WSO is a great example of a startup that was started by a founder before business school and was fleshed out further using b-school resources. WSO was initially started in 2006 as and was later renamed to Its founder, Patrick Curtis, is a 2010 MBA graduate from The Wharton School.

HotPotato (MIT Sloan)

HotPotato is a location-based social media startup based out of New York that got acquired by Facebook in 2010. HotPotato is a little bit unique than the other startups mentioned here in that co-founder Saadiq Rodgers-King (MIT Sloan MBA ’08) got involved with it in a part-time capacity and then quit his full-time job (in 2009) to work on the startup full-time. Also, another unique aspect of the startup is that while the others are still around, HotPotato now redirects directly to Facebook and as part of the acquisition, all user data was deleted.

* Note: HotPotato was acquired by Facebook in 2010 (Berkeley Haas)

Indiegogo is an international crowd-funding site founded by Danae Ringelmann, Slava Rubin, and Eric Schell in 2007. The idea behind the startup is to empower ideas and enable people to raise and donate funds easily. Danae & Eric are 2008 graduates of Haas and met at business school. Through their venture, they have managed to democratize fundraising and enable entrepreneurs to create campaigns and raise funds based on their needs.

How an MBA helped entrepreneurs in their startups

1. Education

All startups require different skills pertaining to Operations, Marketing & Communications, Finance, Accounting, Strategy and more. An MBA education helps provide the basic foundation that is required by startups in execution. As an example, when creating their business plan or raising funds, the founders at Identified would certainly have been using their knowledge of Finance to build their financial projections.

2. Resources

Resources for entrepreneurs available at business school were covered in-depth in Part 1 of this series. As an example, while at Wharton, Pat Gilbert (of WallStreetOasis, mentioned above) used the entrepreneurial resources at Wharton to his use and WSO was selected to be part of the Venture Initiation Program in 2008 and also received the Wharton Venture Award in 2009.

3. Network

Business school provides an amazing opportunity for entrepreneurs to network, not only while they are at school, but also beyond. The network can be imperative for many purposes such as fundraising, founding team, fulfilling human resource needs. As an example, Danae & Eric (of IndieGoGo) met at business school.

4. Brand

An intangible benefit that business schools provide is that of brand. Even though people may not openly admit it, having the brand on your resume can make an impact with many aspects of your startup – right from fundraising to public relations. Given that this is an intangible benefit, I would rather not quote examples here. Regardless, I am sure that at least some of would be able to connect the pieces for yourself.

Note: The intent of the article is not to cover each startup in great detail but to explain the basic nature of the startup and also the way that business school aided entrepreneurs in their entrepreneurial journey. Readers are encouraged to research into these startups in greater detail on their own. They all have a fantastic story to tell!