From Richard Branson to Steve Jobs, entrepreneurs might be considered the defining business leaders of this generation. The attraction is clear: especially for many people who may work in large, faceless organizations, the idea of the entrepreneur – who literally creates a concrete business idea out of a vision – serves as a kind of idealized fantasy.
Even for many MBAs, entrepreneurship seems to be all the rage these days. And why not? In an MBA program, participants pick up a wide range of managerial skills from organizational management to finance and strategy, all of which are required in the agile, cross-functional world of the startup.
Even MBAs who might not know that they want to start their own businesses might take electives in entrepreneurship, perhaps out of curiosity.
We look at some of alumni who are serial entrepreneurs. Some of them have been great and amazing and some of them have been total disasters–but they’re willing to go through it again because they love it.
You do sacrifice a lot to be an entrepreneur. Our culture has made it somewhat cool to be an entrepreneur, but the reality is much more difficult. You have to be prepared for that.
But many millennials aren’t put off by the hardships inherent in entrepreneurship. Instead, for the free-spirited generation currently entering the workforce, the allure of the entrepreneurial lifestyle often outweighs the negatives.
Although millennials often want to craft their own career path, that doesn’t mean they’re skipping out on school. Increasingly, aspiring entrepreneurs are pursuing MBAs instead of going it alone.
For many would-be entrepreneurs who are doing MBAs, “practical” is the name of the game.
Indeed, many business schools have introduced a variety of MBA electives and other resources that help students put their skills directly to work. The Wharton School and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, for instance, both offer business incubator facilities, while Rotterdam School of Management has a “Start-Up Bootcamp;” not to mention the numerous entrepreneurship electives offered by nearly every business school.
But do you need an MBA in order to succeed? What’s to stop somebody with a big idea to skip the MBA and jump right in?
One thing an MBA can do is expose students to the nitty-gritty of entrepreneurship, without the risk that normally comes with launching a startup in the real world.
And, luckily for the would-be entrepreneur, business schools are offering an increasing number of relevant courses. According to Sean Carr, the executive director of the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, MBA students at Darden have access to at least 28 entrepreneurship classes.
“These are highly experiential, hands-on courses across a broad range of entrepreneurial activities. Everything from finance to developing new ideas to marketing to operations and so forth”
It’s an introduction to entrepreneurship, it gets students developing their thinking in a more entrepreneurial way, because we find even if students don’t want to go on and become entrepreneurs and start their own companies, a lot of companies are saying they want graduates to come with an entrepreneurial mindset. They want intrapreneurs, they want people within the company with that thinking.