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Why an MBA Can Help Make You A Better Entrepreneur

Why an MBA Can Help Make You A Better Entrepreneur main image

Image credit: Jenise Lee, Founder & CEO of PurPicks, (Schulich MBA)

Sponsored by Schulich School of Business, York University

Starting a business has become one of the top five motivations for studying an MBA.

Traditionally designed to provide managers and leaders with a better and more in-depth understanding of key areas in business, the MBA has since adapted and evolved in order to keep up with the demands and complexities of an increasingly competitive business environment. Hence, its increasing appeal to aspiring entrepreneurs.

We’ve taken a closer look at what makes the MBA an ideal route to help leverage entrepreneurial success.

You can road-test your ideas and get valuable feedback from your peers

Real-world relevance is crucial. While some argue the MBA can only go so far when it comes to real-life application of theories and strategies, the practical value of an MBA lies in experiential learning opportunities, including case-studies, group projects and work placements.

You’ll be in a stronger position to deal with any challenges along the way as opposed to learning from mistakes – although this might still happen on the odd occasion.

So, whether you’re in the first stages of getting your business off the ground, are just toying with the idea of having your own business, or are looking for ways to improve and enhance your current business venture, the MBA is a safe space which can help you refine your ideas, develop your business mindset and give you the confidence to launch your business.

Want to take your business idea for a practice run? At Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Canada, MBA students can pitch their business idea to a panel of industry professionals and venture capitalists as part of the Schulich Startup Night Competition and participate in the Schulich Startups Program to plan and grow their company.

As part of the leading-edge ENTR 6960 'Venture Match' course, MBA students can also be paired with a top Founder or Venture Capitalist in an on-site placement, working for them on a key strategic project.

Your understanding of specific business concepts, strategies and models will improve – giving you confidence to move forward with your own business

Entrepreneurs are full of innovative and creative ideas – but can lack essential business know-how and the skills needed to survive and thrive in the competitive market.

Schulich School of Business MBA graduate, Jenise Lee, is the Founder and CEO of PurPicks, a user-review site for organic skincare products. Although becoming an entrepreneur was never part of Jenise’s original career plan – even after she chose to embark on the MBA at Schulich – she soon found that “as my business acumen strengthened, in combination with my engineering skills, I started to see potential solutions to some of the world's problems. I realized that I wanted to solve big critical problems in our times through entrepreneurship.”

Although you may be well-versed in your leadership abilities and communication skills, the MBA is a great tool for bettering your knowledge of specific business models and processes, including an understanding of long-term and short-term financial concepts.

Networking is more than just a buzzword in the MBA

MBA networks present myriad opportunities, from potential business partners and collaborators to access to niche business expertise. For example, at Schulich they work to connect their Alumni Startups with top up-and-coming student talent through placement courses.

The value of a professional network should never be overlooked as it can help get you from where you are currently, to where you want to be.

“The network you develop during the Schulich MBA program and Schulich Startups Program can certainly help you to start or grow your venture in more ways that you can imagine,” said Daniel Warner, another MBA graduate at Schulich School of Business who went on to create MediSeen Health – a digital health startup in Ontario, Canada.

Why it works…

The MBA isn’t a foolproof guarantee of entrepreneurial success. However, over the years the number of MBAs who have gone on to set up their own businesses and be successful has risen dramatically – demonstrating that it does equip graduates with the business knowledge and skills necessary to help kickstart their entrepreneurial ventures.

Schulich MBA graduate Arnab Dastidar is the co-founder of SoulRooms, an all-inclusive co-living property company in Toronto. A self-proclaimed problem-solver from the get-go, Arnab didn’t aspire to become an entrepreneur – but having been spurred on by the constant frustrations that young professionals and expats faced when trying to find a suitable apartment to rent in Toronto, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

“This realization intrigued me to solve it, and here I am - an entrepreneur!”

When asked about his MBA experience at Schulich, Arnab was full of appreciation. He told us: “The myriad of specializations at Schulich helped me develop an understanding of domains I was interested in and provided learnings that I am using in my day-to-day life.”

“It greatly influences the way you can think and structure your approach towards a market or an industry. It provides a broader horizon of perspectives and proven tools that can help you represent and outshine your business better.”

Even after graduation, Schulich continues to support graduates with their businesses. For instance, the Schulich Entrepreneur in Residence remains an active advisor for Arnab’s company, Soul Rooms.

Written by Stephanie Lukins

As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopMBA.com and TopUniversities.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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