MBA… Startup? I don’t get it.

With my first post I figured it made sense to discuss some of the reasons why I’ve decided to take on the herculean task of writing a regular blog aside from my own personal vanity. Sure, writing a blog sounds like fun and from what I hear it only consumes a few hours per day from my already wide-open schedule. Plus, the world’s been crying out, “Brian, there are too few blogs on the Internet and this one will finally bring the insight that has been lacking.”

In actuality, I’ve been fighting it but just as I’m compelled toward entrepreneurial ventures I’ve been compelled to write a blog knowing that in both cases the odds of success are against me. I hope the interplay between the experiences of starting a company and all-that-is business school will make for an interesting discussion, time will tell.

I’ve been asked on more than one occasion, “If you knew you were going to start a company [or work for a startup] why did you decide to get an MBA?” That’s a fair question. People go to B-school for a lot of reasons but I came back to school to meet people. As you can see from my bio I’m a startup guy and I learned the hard way how difficult it is to build a company without a quality team. There’s something magical that happens for a brief two-year period when the letters MBA meet the word Student, you’re presented with countless opportunities to meet leaders in the community who welcome sharing their experiences and, in many cases, contacts. Seattle is great for startups and the people who’ve been-there-and-done-that go out of their way to give back. Andy Sack, for example, is teaching one of my entrepreneur courses, he’s a great resource for people like me and he walks willingly onto campus twice a week to meet with us for two hours.

Nevertheless, two years and tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, or in my case a little over $100k, is a high price to pay to meet people. It’s not like there’s a shortage of successful entrepreneurs without college degrees let alone MBA’s to suggest an advanced degree is a requirement. B-school is an expensive option but, just like a startup, it’s an opportunity to compress many years of effort into just a few so I decided that its numerous benefits offered the greatest return on my investment.

I don’t know their names but there are people who I’m searching for somewhere out there and they’re looking for me but the world’s a big place. So I guess this blog, like my decision to pursue an MBA, is about the same thing – meeting a bunch of smart people while looking for the right ones.

P.S. Despite my reason for returning to school I am now better equipped to start a company or work for a startup. I’ve noticed on occasion there are some misunderstandings about the nature and purpose of business school and I’m a bit of a walking billboard for the Foster School of Business so I’m happy to discuss the program and b-school in general.

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One response to “MBA… Startup? I don’t get it.

  1. Welcome to blogging!

    I’m in the same sort of boat, so I know what you mean about people asking “why”? I’ve already got a Masters in Econ, and am interested in starting a business of some sort. Somewhat logically, people just say to me “Why don’t you just start a business already, what do you need to learn?” Two semesters in at Fuqua, I can see that there’s a ton of stuff I still need to learn!

    I absolutely agree that something magical happens when an MBA class comes together. While I could’ve taken an Accounting class at the local community college, or learned spreadsheet modeling from a book, by going through the experiences with my classmates, we’ve got a bond that goes beyond just technical skills. In some ways, I feel like the MBA program is an extended job interview, for jobs we haven’t created yet!

    In the future, I’m sure many of us will go on to successful ventures, and the first thing we’ll thinking about when we’re hiring or creating businesses is “I wonder if any of my classmates are interested?”

    That’s well worth the money, IMO.

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