Do Entrepreneurs Need an MBA?

When starting a business, an entrepreneur often considers the value of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. There are many benefits to an MBA program with three often rising to the top: building business skills, networking with other professionals, and improving professional credibility. If this is you, it is important to ask yourself what is motivating you to seek an MBA and discover the alternatives that are also available. Then, you can decide which route is best for you. Read below to learn how an MBA helps you meet your goals along with an alternative option to meet the same goal.

  • Skills - the goal to develop the business skills necessary to build a successful business.
    • MBA: Typical MBA programs offer a general overview of all business classes for those without a business undergraduate degree. Also, upper level classes help you apply business principles to specific strategies as you study the best ways to be successful in business.
    • Alternative: MOOCS (massive open online classes) offer a free way to build your business acumen. In addition to MOOCS, some universities offer certifications within their MBA programs. Students in the certification courses typically take similar classes as the MBA program but the certification only requires a handful of classes and is more tailored to a specific business industry or skillset. An example is the certification program offered by Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
  • Networking - the goal is to meet people to create and foster professional and social relationships.
    • MBA: Class projects and discussion are fertile ground for creating and fostering professional relationship. Most programs also offer alumni events which offer more opportunities to meet others seeking professional connections.
    • Alternative: Join local organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce or your alma mater’s local alumni group. These can provide opportunities to meet others seeking professional and social connections. You can also ask people is your current network to introduce you to those in their network that work in a similar industry.
  • Credibility - the goal is to enhance your professional credibility and others’ confidence in your professional abilities.
    • MBA: The completion of an MBA from a reputable institution can speak to your business knowledge and likelihood of future professional successes. Not only does it look good on a resume but, for the entrepreneur, it can increase confidence in your future business partners and investors.
    • Alternative: So much of business success is dependent on professional relationships. To improve your credibility, be a person that others want to do business with. Read this article for 8 ways to establish your business credibility.

If you believe an MBA is your next step, you'll need to decide which program is best for you. If you are not sure and want learn more about your educational opportunities as an entrepreneur, schedule a call with your AthLife Advisor to discuss your specific goals and motivations. And for fun,take this quiz. It will help you understand your entrepreneurial personality type. The results can help you and your AthLife Advisor evaluate which educational opportunities fit you best.

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