How important is getting an MBA for running a startup?

QUESTION:

I’m debating between going back to school for an MBA or diving in and launching a startup. How important is getting an MBA for running a startup?

ANSWER:

Steve Hoffman

Steve Hoffman

by Steve Hoffman, Cofounder of LavaMind

More education never hurts. But you don’t need an MBA to run a startup. Experience is always the best teacher.

In fact, many MBA schools don’t teach you what you actually need to know in order to run a startup. They’re more geared towards traditional businesses.

Did Bill Gates have an MBA when he started Microsoft? Did Steve Jobs have an MBA when he started Apple? Did Mark Zuckerberg have an MBA when he started Facebook?

The list goes on. Being a successful entrepreneur means understanding your business inside and out. An MBA can never teach you this. You have to know the space and the industry and have the mind to innovate and improve upon it.

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That said, many of today’s MBA schools are changing with the times. They’re incorporating more entrepreneurial programs and altering their curriculums. So getting an MBA from the right university may actually help.

All in all, I believe the school of hard knocks is the best way to learn.

Do I have an MBA?  No.

Good luck!

Comments & Advice:
  1. JohnHollier John Hollier says:

    How important is getting an MBA for running a startup? As Steve said, IT ISN'T!!

    In many cases I think people with a traditional MBA make the worse entrepreneurs.

    If you're set on going back to school make sure you enroll in a program that is, at its core, an entrepreneurial program.

    Or take the money you would spend on tuition and avail yourself of the vast array of online training and live seminars through which you can learn more about the nuts and bolts of entrepreneurship – and probably save some money in the process, that you can then apply to starting your business.

    John Hollier
    Chief Collaborator
    Collaborative Xceleration
    'accelerating the attainment of business dreams'
    http://www.collaborativexceleration.com

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