Can You Make Entrepreneurs?

October 18, 2011 · Leave a Comment 

With so many billionaires and well-known entrepreneurs that never graduated from college, like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Michael Dell; it calls to question whether or not an MBA can really create an entrepreneur.

However, this has not stopped well-respected business schools like Cass Business School of London creating courses and programs directed at fostering entrepreneurs. Although it does make their use somewhat debatable.

The Debate

There are many thoughts on the issue, and some support the MBA programs and believe that a graduate degree in business improves your chances of coming up with the next big business. Julie Meyer, founder of Ariadne Capital, states, “had I not gone to [business school], I wouldn’t be where I am today. It absolutely gave me the tools, network and the courage to build a company rather than just look for a job.” Other MBA graduates, such as Nick Badman of Cass Business School, believe that the degree won’t teach you how to be an entrepreneur, but an MBA still has important uses. He asserts, “a lot of the problems entrepreneurs face are very similar, whether it’s working out how to raise finance, build a team or market a product.” While getting an MBA you can take time to plan a business, as well; which is exactly what Nick Jenkins, founder of Moonpig, did. He states, business school allowed him to, “spend some time thinking of a business idea and drawing up business plans.”

Many are still unconvinced, though. Probably the most infamous is Steve Jobs, who, in his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005, stated that it was precisely because he lacked a degree he was a good entrepreneur. David Scott, founder of Vestra Wealth, emphasizes that the most important aspect of an entrepreneur is not cultivated in a classroom, but is rather something innate. He states, “a true entrepreneur will often not follow the logical path but will be led by their gut instinct. An MBA will never teach you how to trust your gut instinct.”

A Good Way to Sum it Up

Serial entrepreneur Richard Farleigh sums up his perspective on the debate by taking the middle road, “Choose carefully. And when you pass the MBA, stay humble, the real learning is on the job.”

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