It’s an age-old question – and a difficult decision. But, before you embark on an MBA, here are 5 crucial factors to consider.
Many business leaders and industry experts have, for years, debated the reasons why people succeed or fail as entrepreneurs. The course of this discourse has shifted and varied often.
However, in recent times, it has moved towards questioning the extent to which an entrepreneur’s educational qualifications and achievements matter. There are many people of the opinion that an MBA is vital to the success of an entrepreneur, especially for those looking to thrive at the head of a small business, which could grow into an international corporation.
But how true is this? Does an MBA actually make you a better entrepreneur? Although heated debates still continue over the pros and cons of such a qualification, it all boils down to your personal circumstances and the value you believe you will attain from an MBA.
Here are five essential questions to consider before you take the plunge.
1. How Valuable is the Degree to you?
One thing that many MBA proponents tend to pay more attention to when discussing how the MBA helps entrepreneurs is the degree. The prestige of having an MBA might be a great boon if you’re looking for employment at a business organisation. However, it is not the most important thing if you’re looking to become a successful entrepreneur.
Rather, the entrepreneurial knowledge that you will gain from the degree will play a crucial role in whether or not you can make it big. Whether you’ve just launched a startup or you’re a couple of years in, your ability to make logical, well-thought-out business decisions will determine whether you survive the highly competitive market.
2. Can Your Personal Finances Afford It?
Your Current Financial Situation
However, there are other things that you need to consider beyond the knowledge that MBA impacts. For instance, do you have the financial capacity for the program? Or will you have to take on loans and be in debt? Already, student debt in the US has hit USD 1.5 trillion.
Undoubtedly, the cost of undergoing an MBA programme is high and might not be affordable. It’s also worth considering whether you will have the financial stability afterwards to pay back any debt you may incur for the degree.
In addition, you should also weigh up how much this tuition money could help your business if you invest in your own company and watch it grow.
Your Future Financial Prospects
Of course, an MBA degree has the potential to improve your future financial earnings. College graduates are paid more than their high school counterparts. Similarly, this makes the MBA important for boosting your long-term prospects.
However, it also depends on whether you think you’ll be focusing on being an entrepreneur and starting your own company in the long-run, or whether you’d like to continue building your credentials for if you ever rejoin the hierarchy of a more established business. In the former case, it might be worth forgoing the MBA and doubling down on your entrepreneurial efforts. In the latter, the MBA may prove to be a competitive advantage when you turn your attention to job hunting.
3. How Much Will an MBA Help Your Career?
According to a report in Assignment Help, many successful entrepreneurs regard MBAs as being vital for success. Career professionals who rely on their roles in other people’s companies as a source of livelihood would likely benefit from an MBA, as the qualification would undoubtedly help convince any interviewers that they are more than capable of filling a post.
An entrepreneur, on the other hand, has no superior to report to, so it’s worth weighing up the MBA against the advantages that experience and passion will bring you. For people who argue against an entrepreneur needing an MBA, the major talking point for them is who an entrepreneur is accountable to.
Peter Thiel and Elon Musk are among those that believe an MBA isn’t essential for entrepreneurs. They claim that the MBA program cultivates “herd-like” thinking, which hinders the entrepreneur from being in total control of their business and destiny. They believe that not everybody might need an MBA as a tool for their success.
4. What Skills Will You Learn From an MBA?
Graduate programmes such as MBAs impart key management abilities and leadership skills, which can make a big difference in the way you manage your business.
Furthermore, an MBA can provide a roadmap with helpful business models and competitive strategies, preventing aspiring entrepreneurs from making common, but costly mistakes. For example, if you don’t know how to conduct thorough market research, it will be challenging to determine the processes that work or do not work in the market. There is no way that you can write off this knowledge and skill that entrepreneurs can get at an MBA program.
Diversifying your education can also work to complement your existing skills and your future needs. For instance, if someone already has a BSc in computer engineering or other fields unrelated to business, an MBA can enhance that pre-existing knowledge and skill set.
A secondary advantage of an MBA is that it provides ample networking opportunities. Students can meet with other people and have a broader network of contacts to reach out to even after the degree when the going gets tough. It’s certainly an added advantage, if not the main focus, of the degree.
5. What Alternatives to an MBA Do You Have?
If you’re still on the fence about taking an MBA, it might be worth investigating what other routes are available to you. For example, it might prove useful to join an entrepreneurship group and connect more closely with your community. That will open up opportunities to exchange ideas and strategies with fellow entrepreneurs in the same boat as you.
Mentorship may also be a viable option, especially if you already have investors who may be willing to share their experience. After all, entrepreneurship is all about trial and error.
An MBA can absolutely help you diversify your education and equip you with the skills you need to become a successful entrepreneur. At the same time, don’t underestimate what you can achieve by sheer determination and a hefty dose of research. There are many roads to success. Only you can decide if taking an MBA is part of yours.