Why Entrepreneurs Need an MBA Degree

Although anyone can be an entrepreneur, it takes more than a great idea to be successful. It also takes business acumen—the type of business knowledge and skills you learn when earning an MBA degree.

Based on the infographic below which looks at nearly 50 years of surveys from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), entrepreneurs are starting more companies now than ever before, and more quickly too.

There is strong history of MBA degree graduates turned entrepreneur superstars, including

  • Phil Knight, 1962 MBA degree from Stanford, founded Nike
  • Steve Hafner, 1997 MBA graduate from Northwestern University, co-founded
  • Shela Lirio Marcel, 1998 Harvard Business School MBA program, founded
  • Angie Hicks, 2000 Harvard Business School MBA program, founded Angie’s List

MBA programs provide aspiring entrepreneurs

  1. A well-rounded business education that you can rely on during the early, lean years. It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to play developer, salesperson, marketer, accountant, etc. Having a foundation in all aspects of business helps you tackle these aspects yourself or know when you need to bring in help.
  2. A sandbox to develop your ideas and business plans. Many MBA programs offer courses tailored to aspiring entrepreneurs. This is a “safe space” to fully develop business models before launching a business. It can also be an avenue to find startup funding as many business schools have their own venture funds to support student startups or provide connections with venture capitals.
  3. A network of talent to hire into your company or use as consultants or mentors to build your company.

As for MBA students aspirations? Well, it turns out

  • 15% of MBA candidates started a business while in school and expect to continue after graduation
  • 38% owned a business before school and expect to continue after graduation
  • 37% plan to start a business after graduation

As for what industry entrepreneurs are learning towards?

  • 37% launch a company in products/services
  • 17% in technology
  • 16% in consulting

Take a look at the infographic below for more information about entrepreneurs and MBA degrees.

Located in the metro Washington, D.C., area, George Mason’s MBA Program, prepares the next generation of business leaders through a rigorous, stimulating business and management curriculum based on a global perspective, industry demand, and leadership. It prepares MBA graduates with the skills they need to pursue the careers they want.

As well as offering a concentration in entrepreneurship, MBA students benefit from support from the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Mason’s MBA program is ranked #74 on the “Best Part-time MBA” list by U. S. News & World Report.

Inc. Magazine MBA degree entrepreneurs

Source: Inc. Magazine

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Paige Wolf

As director of graduate programs at George Mason's School of Business, my vision is to have a vibrant, collegial community of active learners who develop enduring professional relationships with faculty, staff, and fellow students while pursuing their degrees. Prior to this position, I spent 11 years with the School of Business as an associate professor of management teaching both MBA and undergraduate courses in organizational behavior and human resource management. I have more than 16 years of experience as an internal and external consultant on strategic human resource initiatives including team building, organizational development, competency modelling, performance management, employee selection systems, career planning, employee training and development, leadership assessment, and human resource audits.

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