If you have a business idea that keeps you up at night, it’s going to be much easier to sell the adcoms on this plan for you to become an entrepreneur.
If you feel like “One day I’d like to start a business…” well, not so much. That’s much less convincing in terms of how it will go across in your essays. It’s not impossible to make the case for the MBA in that situation, but it’s not quite the same.
If you are jazzed up about this thing you want to build into a company, that you know will provide real value in the world and solve an actual problem (that people will pay money to solve – hint, if your idea does not pass that test then you’re not off to a strong start with it) then we’re betting that your enthusiasm for this idea will come through the page and your adcom reader will pick up on it as she goes through your app.
Even better if you’ve started to actually put some plans in place to get this idea going.
If that’s you, then we can 100% get behind your strategy of pitching that in your MBA applications.
Except that if that’s you…. Why do you need an MBA?
One of the most important criteria for success of an entrepreneur is motivation. Ideas are a dime a dozen. They don’t actually matter that much. A common refrain from venture capitalists is that they don’t fund ideas, they fund people. They vet the team and put their money in those who they feel will be able to execute.
Most successful businesses morph and change. They do not end up being, IRL, what was sketched out on a napkin in a cafe oh those many years before. Companies adapt, they refocus, they pivot.
What determines the success is the ability of the founders to be nimble, and to keep finding new inspiration and renewed drive to put in the long hours. To do the jobs that nobody else wants to do. To maintain the buck-stops-here mentality that’s so necessary when you’re building something from nothing.
If you have that, you’re going to be golden – whether it’s in building a new venture or just anything you do in life.
If you have that, then we ask again, WHY DO YOU NEED AN MBA?
An MBA is an exceptionally expensive way to build a business.
Are you SURE that that’s what you want to do with your limited resources in this life?
Or does it just sound good at the moment?
Look at it it this way:
You’re on fire with this idea, just waiting for the chance to go do it. You think that the infrastructure around the MBA is ideal since right now, you don’t really know where to start. OK great! That could work well.
But then, what happens after the first year of business school, when you’ve got this amazing idea all mapped out and you’ve even found some partner-friends at school who are on board with helping you build it, and maybe you’ve even pitched at some bplan competitions, and gotten a lot of very positive feedback… And you spend the summer actually DOING IT …
And then fall comes around, and you’re supposed to go back to school, for another year of MBA studies.
Do you put this amazing business that you’ve actually got some momentum behind on hold for a year?
Maybe your school will grant you a leave of absence. But if they do…. do you really think you’ll ever go back?
It all needs to be thought through carefully.
If you’re the kind of person for whom a startup is the right next step, we’d be willing to bet that you don’t need an MBA to do it.
If getting an MBA and starting a business some day both are just ideas that sort of sound like fun to you, then maybe you need to do more thinking before you combine them into an essay for the adcom.
If this post was interesting to you, then our special-purpose strategy guide on pitching entrepreneurial goals to the MBA adcoms may be even more useful.