I started a business three years before going to business school. The business was successful — doubling revenue ever year since its inception. However, I still wanted to go to business school because I had no formal business education. Many people questioned my decision: “Why do you need to go to business school if you already have a successful business?” or “The best business education is working on your own startup.” While business school is a significant cost, the benefits an entrepreneur accrues are tremendous.
After my first year of business school, my mindset has changed. I now understand accounting, economic, operational, financial, and most importantly management principles that I simply
had no clue about before. This knowledge has served me well to transition from a fumbling entrepreneur to a confident business owner. For example, understanding how valuable customer retention is through a marketing class inspired me to implement a customer relationship management program that has been very profitable for my business.
Beyond the basics of the core business school education, my elective courses have been instrumental in changing my company. I took a course called “Management of Software Development” that taught me the importance of agile iteration, scrum methodology, and lean principles. Although I do not own a software company, applying these Silicon Valley methods to my business has been game-changing. Because of this one class, my internet marketing and analytics efforts have kicked into high gear.
Outside of the classroom, business schools offer a plethora of opportunities for entrepreneurs. Whether it’s receiving mentorship from the entrepreneurship program, attending lunch talks with successful entrepreneurs, or networking with other student entrepreneurs, an MBA program is a great place to get into your “entrepreneurial zone.” Some of the world’s biggest companies were started in business school (e.g. Nike), so yes, business school does take entrepreneurship seriously.
If you are an entrepreneur who is considering business school, I would highly recommend it. The knowledge and skills you learn will be vital in growing your business. While most of the concepts learned in class will only be theory for your classmates, you will be able to immediately apply these principles to your business. Essentially, business school is a live science experiment you can perform on your company! My business is now growing exponentially, and I could not have scaled it this quickly without the help of a graduate business school education.