Why Does an Entrepreneur Need an MBA?



MBA programs b-schools have traditionally marketed their MBA programs and EMBA programs to corporate employees. The historical paradigm was that you get a bachelors degree, work for a big company and then if you are ambitious enough and have the energy and intellectual curiosity, you go for an MBA.  It improves your chances of advancing up the corporate ladder and burnishes your CV and opens outside opportunities. Those many clear benefits can begin being felt and acted on as soon as you graduate.

But, what about the entrepreneurs in society? Entrepreneurs are the growth engines of the modern economy, and entrepreneurship is encouraged, and taught in business schools. But, while business schools may want to create entrepreneurs, how many do they attract to the schools to study?

Who is this typical entrepreneur? She or he is someone who pursues work or business that she loves to do or something they find purpose in, or often both.  If someone has owned a number of businesses or been an entrepreneur for a while, one can assume they are good at it.  What you cannot assume is they are capable of growing an enterprise to its full potential on just the skills that make them a good entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs will be attracted to an MBA or EMBA program if they find value or benefits. The first obvious benefit is in learning to operationalize the foundation business skills that they need to manage a business beyond the start up phase. As activities wrapped in a business framework grow, they become much more complicated, and a good business education can prepare someone for being successful at managing that complexity. Understanding the fundamentals of accounting, marketing, business law, strategy and organizational behavior will support the entrepreneur in effectively making the decisions demanded for creating and sustaining healthy business growth.

These skills provide a good balance for the successful entrepreneur to become the successful business leader. At RBS, we have welcomed entrepreneurs in virtually all of our Executive MBA classes. They are a strong complement to the corporate executives and leaders who study with us.  Their contribution to the learning environment makes our EMBA program a great place for corporate executives, professionals and entrepreneurs to study.


By William Schaub
RBS Executive MBA Program Director