It takes more than just a good idea to kick-start and grow your company. Whether it’s a brick-and-mortar business, a scalable start-up, or a social enterprise, success lies in the skilful execution of your idea. Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one way of learning the skillset you need to turn your passion and purpose into business success. However, an MBA may not be right for everyone. The key is understanding the benefits of an MBA and how those benefits can help you achieve your specific goals.
Does an entrepreneur need an MBA?
While many aspiring entrepreneurs are keen to launch their ideas in the real world, choosing to do an MBA program at the same time will only help you build your business. When done right, an MBA does not take time away from your start-up but provides you with the practical knowledge that helps you run a business more efficiently. You will be able to apply what you learn into making your company succeed immediately.
Why do entrepreneurs need an MBA?
Here are seven reasons why getting an MBA is an essential investment in your entrepreneurial career.
1. You need to know how to scale your business
If you want to run a successful company, you must know how to grow a business. Running a small company does not translate into managing one with hundreds of employees. As you generate more revenue, you need to know how to hire the right people, how teams fit into your company’s culture and vision, and how you can engage staff in what you are trying to accomplish.
An MBA provides the skills needed to grow companies from start-ups stage to IPO. You'll learn about finance, marketing strategy, operations management, and using data to successfully scale your business.
Therefore, getting an MBA can be an essential investment in your entrepreneurial career. Another advantage of an MBA is that it teaches you how to make tough decisions, even with limited data and resources.
2. You need to know about technology, accounting, financing, taxation and business law
While some entrepreneurs may be accountants by profession or have a background in accounting, most aren’t familiar with the financial aspects of running a business. Getting an MBA will help you understand the financial side of things and teach you how to think about your business strategically. It will help you think of your business as a complex system that is scalable and can expand to include several products or services and run by a variety of people who share the same vision.
As your business grows, you will need to hire people who can handle the accounting and administrative side of things. An MBA will help you figure out how best to delegate work within your company so that everyone has a clear idea of what they are responsible for.
However, you can't just outsource your understanding of these vital areas. You also need to have a solid foundation in them yourself and recognise how they affect profits.
An MBA will help you learn about accounting, payroll, taxation and other legal areas so that you understand what it takes to sustain long-term success. That’s one reason why many believe that getting an MBA helps you to be a better entrepreneur.
3. MBAs are well trained in leadership skills
There's more than just sales and marketing strategy involved in getting your start-up off the ground. You also have to know how to recruit the right people, work with the media, and take care of customer service problems.
While entrepreneurs are leaders at heart, they need to lead a team towards achieving certain goals for the business. Therefore, entrepreneurs have to think about cultivating leadership skills in their employees as well.
When deciding whether to fund a start-up, many venture capital investors look not at the idea but at the founders. MBA graduates score highly on the criteria of being skilled leaders. This is because an MBA program emphasises leadership skills such as negotiation and decision-making, skills that are essential if you want to be an entrepreneur who can successfully grow a business.
4. An MBA will sharpen your skills
According to the U.S. Small Business Association, 30 per cent of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50 per cent during the first five years, and 66 per cent during the first 10 years. One of the most common reasons businesses start to flounder is having poor financial and operational frameworks. While products and passion may lie at the heart of the entrepreneurial spirit, many entrepreneurs fail to thrive without proper structures, strategies, management, and business plans.
An MBA can help entrepreneurs get ahead in business by building essential fundamental knowledge and practical insights into business administration. The lessons learnt about finance, governance, operations management, strategy, data-driven decision making, marketing, and organisational leadership and management are the skills needed to thrive in a competitive marketplace. Whether it’s taking steps to manage your cash flow from operations, navigating tax laws, creating a legal structure, managing employee relationships, or setting up an organisational framework through a business plan, an MBA will give you the skills to solve complex business problems.
Entrepreneurs need to wear many hats – from marketing to sales management and business development to social media execution. According to Pete Flint, CEO and co-founder of Trulia, doing an MBA is going to make you a better entrepreneur. He says doing an MBA gives you access to capital and talent; exposes you to different disciplines and case studies; and provides you with the creative space to think big, as well as the environment to fail safely.
There is a posse of successful MBA graduates in big business, from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to Forbes’ sixth most powerful woman in the world, Melinda Gates. Nike founder Phil Knight (who turned a tiny company called Blue Ribbon Sports into a household name) credits the discovery of his entrepreneurial spirit to a “small business class,” otherwise known as an MBA. By taking a leaf out of their book, you too can become a dynamic business leader.
5. An MBA will build your support network
Most people who commit to an MBA are ambitious, motivated and purpose-driven. With personalities like that, business school becomes a potent incubator of like-minded individuals. Plus, MBA programs provide access to some of the best faculty members in business education as well as industry experts in entrepreneurship and innovation. This sort of connection is invaluable as it creates a future network of business associates, partners and collaborators. After all, it is commonly known that people do business with people they know, like, trust and value. In addition, access to global industry experts, professors and previous alumni also creates an opportunity for mentorship from the best of the best.
An MBA essentially helps you compile the greatest business address book you could ever want. This certainly rings true for TentCraft President and CEO Matt Bulloch, who told the Financial Times that one of his classmates became one of his biggest customers.
Being an entrepreneur is fundamentally about venturing into uncharted territory. By forging relationships with dependable peers and professionals during an MBA, you are more likely to have a ready-made support network that you can trade with, exchange in mutual referrals, and turn to for advice when the entrepreneurial roller-coaster ride gets a bit bumpy. These relationships will not only give you a competitive advantage but also likely turn into life rafts for your business.
6. An MBA will expand your worldview
Business school attracts students from all corners of the globe. This means the pool of people you will be meeting will bring a diversity of thought to business practices and any problem-solving situation. Through this international lens, you will gain an in-depth understanding of worldwide trends and market dynamics and cultivate a global mindset.
The ability to think globally is about developing the skills to work efficiently with business leaders and organisations with cultural differences. According to research from the UK Centre for Economics and Business, fostering an international outlook improves the bottom line. So it makes good business sense to think globally and act locally.
Diversity of thought can lead to innovation and creative ideas by challenging the status quo. According to the Deloitte report Diversity’s new frontier: Diversity of thought and the future of the workforce, diversity of thought can help guard against groupthink and expert overconfidence, increase the scale of new insights and help organisations identify the right employees who can best tackle their most pressing problems. In a global economy, exploring management approaches in different cultural contexts opens the door to new opportunities.
7. An MBA will give you cache
Given that nearly 40 per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs have an MBA on their resume, it is safe to assume that going to business school is great for your reputation. An MBA carries weight in terms of building your brand. It tells the business world that you have the nerve for entrepreneurship and the business intelligence that goes with managing new enterprises.
An MBA gives you a point of difference – you will stand out from the pack. By studying at a business school, your credibility will get a boost as you will be able to confidently demonstrate your ability to think strategically, tackle problems and handle risk. You will leave no doubt that you can adapt to changing economic conditions and have the mindset to see opportunity everywhere.
Your MBA status will also help you open some highly sought-after doors. Executive Director Elissa Sangster of the Forté Foundation, a nonprofit organisation focused on encouraging women to complete MBAs, says an MBA degree can help people break into certain highly competitive business sectors, such as Silicon Valley tech companies or the Wall Street finance industry.
Enrol in an online MBA
If you agree with us on the question of whether an entrepreneur needs an MBA, you may be looking for a university with the resources to help you launch your next venture.
The problem is that you want to advance your business education, but you do not have time for a full-time MBA program.
The good news is that you can earn your MBA online.
We get it! You are busy with work and family, so why should you try to fit on-campus classes into your busy schedule?
JCU’s fully online MBA Global program is the answer. With our flexible part-time format, students can earn their degree in just two years while balancing work and life commitments. Our curriculum focuses on developing global business skills that will give you an edge in today’s competitive job market.
To succeed in business today requires more than a strong education; it requires leadership skills based on knowledge and experience. This MBA program has been specifically designed for students who want to take their game to the next level. By earning your MBA with us, you will be able to apply your global thinking not just at work but also within every aspect of your life. You'll gain confidence as you learn to make better decisions by leveraging data-driven insights into strategic decision-making.
Our unique online format allows you to study from anywhere in the world while accessing resources, such as outstanding academic staff.
We also set every student up to be successful with support from a dedicated Student Success Advisor.
What are you waiting for?
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Find out more about JCU’s online MBA Global.
Get in touch with our Enrolment team on 1300 535 919