We know that thousands of entrepreneurs over the last half century have done very well without a Master of Business Administration degree. Names like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett come to mind. One of those guys didn’t even graduate college.
So maybe “need” isn’t the right word. Perhaps the question should be whether one would be more successful with an MBA degree than without one. Here you open up the suggestion of an MBA that deals largely in the background of the entrepreneur and the business they are in.
Those with an undergraduate in business, for instance, might be less inclined to believe they need more education to make their business successful. However, a liberal arts major with no financial experience may believe that an MBA would help them in understanding their business.
According to Guidant Financial there is a negative correlation between educational level and the number of entrepreneurs. It makes sense that very few with doctorate degrees go into business for themselves.
One of the benefits of obtaining an MBA or other master’s degree is that you will achieve opportunities that weren’t available to you before. You will be introduced to your peers in the program, business leaders in the community and scholars on the subject. A connection or relationship is surely built during the tenure of continuing education. From personal experience, doors were opened to me with an MBA that would not have been otherwise. I also met individuals at the university who I would eventually go into business with. I was also lucky enough to meet then-Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, who recently passed away. He tamed inflation so well we haven’t seen it since!
With that said, a criticism of MBA degrees is that they are too theoretical and the applicability to real-world business is slight. I would suggest that this is a half-truth. Certainly, the core curriculum is primarily theoretical. However, you will have a major component within the MBA itself, which will often bring with it skills you can use in business. Needless to say, accounting is one of them.
With the exception of an undergraduate degree in accounting, every entrepreneur should understand financial accounting. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of an MBA program. I would suggest that you audit a course at a local college or university, which will expose you to invaluable bookkeeping knowledge and allow you to better communicate with your accountant.
Another thing you shouldn’t ignore about getting an MBA is that it can help you grow and discover new passions. The process of learning can be transformative for many people, and it can help you grow both personally and professionally. I believe the two main deterrents are cost and time. The average MBA degree today is roughly $60,000 and requires two years of course study. Executive MBA’s have helped with both of these. An entrepreneur today has more options than ever before. If you’re looking to achieve a successful career in business, starting with one MBA course can give you an idea if further education is the right path for you.