Why would you think about going to business school as a prelude to doing your startup? My most immediate answer would be, "because you are not ready to do it, or you do not really want to start a business, at all." If you want to start a business, start it now.
If you take two years to go to Business School, it will delay your startup by that amount of time. Chances are high that the program intensity will not really allow you to focus on your startup as well. Delaying revenue for two years may be fatal.
Another reason not to go to B-School is the cost. If you do not make the investment, you'll have more money to put into the business. So, if going to business school is absolutely not a prerequisite for an entrepreneur, what are the reasons that make an MBA potentially worthwhile.
This advice is freely offered by an entrepreneur who did not attend business school, although he has taught on an MBA program for several years.
Here are twenty good reasons for going to business school before you start your business:
- Challenge : you will be challenged to re-evaluate what you think business is all about; surely you will revise some of your cherished assumptions about what you think your startup should look like;
- New skills : the skills you learn may make you dissatisfied with where you work now and propel you faster into your startup; it is very likely that your startup will be based on what you have been doing, but better, and as you stay longer, the relative experience gain will diminish; if your employer pays for your MBA, you may be locked in for a certain number of years service;
- Business Plan Competitions : your B-School may have a business plan competition that you can enter-the top 25 offer a total of more than $ 3 million in prizes; while you may not be looking for funding, the experience from entering will be invaluable;
- Scholarships and mentoring : some B-Schools have entrepreneurship scholarships and / or offer mentoring programs;
- Business Incubators : there may be an associated business incubator or accelerator in which you can participate – they may involve fees, but they should be modest by comparison with the benefits of access to all kinds of technical / professional help at no additional cost;
- Filling knowledge gaps : you will fill in gaps in your knowledge base, eg, if you're a marketing person who knows nothing about finance, and say, managerial accounting is a required course, you'll get a rounded appreciation for business as a whole;
- Valuable contacts : you'll meet some very interesting people and may find partners for your venture;
- Meet entrepreneurs : there will be entrepreneurs that you'll meet and can be good for advice and feedback;
- Entrepreneurship courses : there may be an entrepreneurship course where you can test out your ideas;
- Meet companies and researchers easily : when companies or researchers come to campus, you can meet with them;
- Like-minded people : you are likely to be surrounded by more like-minded people than anywhere;
- Events to show off your startup : some B-Schools have year-end entrepreneurship showcases and / or elevator pitch events;
- Internships : internships at entrepreneurial companies are often available through the B-School-ones that you might mnot get on your own;
- Entrepreneurship clubs : entrepreneurship, venture and hi-tech clubs often exist within the school and can provide opportunities to get feedback on your startup ideas;
- Technology transfer : there are connections to other faculties, especially, science and engineering, where technology transfer possibilities may exist;
- Events for potential funders : B-Schools organize venture weeks and expos, sometimes inviting VCs or Angels to attend;
- Capstone Projects : as part of an MBA program, there is often a Capstone, where students can build their startup as part of their degree (and get a 'free' mentor / advisor); they are a way of bringing together all the student's learning on the program, so give a great opportunity to refine ideas;
- Action learning and consulting projects : action learning programs exist in some schools, where groups of students can undertake consulting projects, frequently with entrepreneurial companies;
- Access to the Business School's advisory board members : B-Schools generally have an advisory board, with business luminaries of various kinds and who are accessible to students;
- A place to recruits fans : fellow students will be cheerleaders!