In business school doing MBA, one has had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most intelligent, motivated, structured, and driven individuals that one will ever hope to work with in the career.
Outside of business school without MBA, one gets the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most intelligent, motivated, structured, driven, creative, resourceful, scrappy, and ballsy, do-it-yourself individuals that one will ever hope to work with in the career.
The phrasing of these two sentences is purposely similar and different: not to generalize, but the words creative, resourceful, scrappy, ballsy, and do-it-yourself aren’t the first that come to mind when one thinks of years in business school. You get to meet a lot of super smart, well-connected people with clear milestones and career plans that amazed me with their specificity and measurability along that mystical totem pole of success. These were people who had gone places and were going places. That said, outside the forum of studying businesses and analyzing strategies, of looking at industries at arms length and guesstimating the viability of a new venture based on much more established analogs, there is a lot to be learned on the front lines. In execution. In getting your hands dirty, in translating your awesome idea into reality, in figuring out whether it fits to what kind of market, in selling the hell out of your concept so that you make a meaningful impression with the friends and family who throw you a bone — with angel investors who want to help, to gaining traction with your initial users who are just trying to understand why they should spend time on your product, to convincing your first customers to give you their money, to feeling confident they’re the right customers to talk to in the first place.
This we have gathered from observing a few startups and their founders, whose passion, conviction, vision, and focus manages to draw the talent pool needed — those creative, resourceful, scrappy, and ballsy do-it-yourself individuals willing to go long and sometimes do what might seem “beneath them” to execute. Getting an MBA will not make you a better or worse entrepreneur, but it will expose you to new industries and new ways of doing business, help you understand methods to vet your ideas and assess market potential, and connect you with incredible people who may think differently than you do. Whether you are a “good” entrepreneur is up to you, the quality of your idea and execution, your focus, dedication, and commitment, and the talent with which you manage to surround yourself.