Which Comes First: The Entrepreneur or the MBA?

The University of Michigan has the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. The University of Chicago has the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. And Wharton has the Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center. As more and more business schools add entrepreneurship to their list of concentrations, many people are asking the question: Can entrepreneurship be taught?

It’s sort of like the old chicken-or-the-egg debate: Which comes first? Do aspiring entrepreneurs need business school to succeed? Or is entrepreneurship a skill that’s innate, and the reason why many of today’s most successful business people (aka Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson) don’t even have a college degree?

I don’t have the answer to that question, but I can tell you that if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re thinking about starting your own business, there are certain benefits a business degree can provide. Here’s why you might want to think about enrolling in an entrepreneurship program before you open your own business:

An Business Degree Can Strengthen Your Weaknesses

Maybe you have an amazing vision that’s going to change the face of business forever. Or perhaps you’ve got an idea for the next big product that will revolutionize your industry. But despite these big ideas, your accounting skills are abysmal, you have no idea how to do a financial forecast, and your marketing expertise is non-existent.

If you’ve got business sense but are lacking in some key skill areas, a business degree is a great solution for you. Business degrees offer the option to concentrate in a particular area, such as finance, marketing, or management, which can bolster your knowledge in any unfamiliar fields. Being well-rounded is especially important for entrepreneurs, who often find themselves wearing many different hats in those first few years.

Meet Business Partners & Investors

It’s one thing to have a great business idea; it’s another to have the team to execute it. As you prepare to start your business, you’ll need a group of talented individuals with skills in a variety of areas, and there’s no better place to meet them than in business school. Some entrepreneurship programs even host events designed to connect budding entrepreneurs to one another.

In addition to future business partners, business schools can provide access to the group of professionals you need to fund your business: investors. From angel investors to venture capitalists, business programs will give you the chance to meet, network, and get exposure to these individuals at lectures, events, roundtable discussions, business plan competitions, seminars and more.

Get Support For Your Business

One of the greatest advantages of going to business school (and specifically an entrepreneurship program) is the amount of support you can get for your start up. Business schools have a wide array of programs, from business incubators to business plan competitions, that are designed to help a start-up get off the ground. Whether you’re able to use a business incubator to house your business until you can get your own office, or you use competition money to fund your payroll, business schools programs are designed to help entrepreneurs and their ideas thrive and grow.

In a time when many are questioning the ROI of a college degree, entrepreneurs may find that business programs not only provide the knowledge to help their business boom, but the partners, investors, and seed money as well.

About the Author: Noël Rozny is Web Editor & Content Manager at myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. Noël writes and edits the career and education blog, myPathfinder and is passionate about using these technologies to help students and job seekers alike find the degree program or career that’s right for them.

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