Why MBA does not Give You a Free Pass to be an Entrepreneur

This article is written by Mohammad Eslim, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Dr. Erhan Erkut received a BSc in Industrial Engineering from Bogazici University in 1980 and a Ph.D. University of Alberta School of Business during 1985-2005. He is a member of the Canadian Operational Research Society. Dr. Erkut has established a Center for Excellence in Management and Management.

Steve Blank is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur based in Pescadero, California.

Blank is recognized for developing the Customer Development method that launched the Lean Startup movement, a methodology which recognized that startups are not smaller versions of large companies, but require their own set of processes and tools to be successful. His Lean Launchpad class (taught as the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps) has become the standard for commercialization for all federal research. They were both at Startup Istanbul, where they talked about pivoting in entrepreneurship.

Be a nerd or a bookworm and get through your education with flying colors into a respected college. Then work harder and harder until you get your Master of Business Administration (MBA) and be ready to be working in the middle of all the action the business can bring into your life. You would imagine yourself working in a company as an ordinary employee, then you will either ascend the ladder to the top of the hierarchy of the company, or you might think of making your own business and build your own company.  

The arising question is how can you, the brilliant student taught in astounding universities and colleges, not be successful at building your own business despite of the framed MBA certificate on your wall?

You should probably know that by the end of the MBA program you are expected to be able to know how to run business companies as in companies that are already founded and working in any field they are in, and large corporates that are in the process of turning into an empire in the oil industry, power generation and huge manufactured products industry. 

Either way, you will find yourself in an already build company with a plan and a product with the knowledge of who your customers are. And this is right where the issue is, first MBA is a program that teaches you how to administrate an existing establishment whereas entrepreneurship is when you make your own foundation based on your idea. Companies that are rolling in the business world nowadays are working based on a business plan the investors supported first then the board approved of it which makes it hard for the company to seek a new direction or follow a new idea if one failed delivering the expected results. 

Being an entrepreneur, with or without a certificate, demands only for your idea to be delivering a solution that is needed in the market, be it a product or a service, and you can deliberately make changes in it to suite your own plan and achieve your own goal. The business you made and the company you made is simply following that big idea of yours into reality and a place in the market. You wouldn’t need a business plan that only bring you to success in the MBA program and In front of a company’s board members. 

Either way, that leads us to the next point or the next reason why MBA job is different than an entrepreneurial job in a decision-maker position in a company. You see…when the results are not as they are expected to be through the plan and the forecast, more specifically the sales are not as estimated in numbers, they fire the sales department head then may be the marketing manager and might as well fire next the CEO himself; they never thought of firing the plan they are working on and this is how you are taught in the program.

However, an entrepreneur would think about changing the approach in marketing, change the plan or the direction they are warding into. An entrepreneur knows he should fire the plan before firing people, simply because people where working according to the plan.

Of course finding a job with your academic qualification is an easy way into a company, maybe easier than an entrepreneur’s, but MBA is not an entrepreneurship membership. People sometimes think they can be an entrepreneurs once they understand and learn more about business which is not completely true, because you have to remember that an entrepreneur have and idea that he will implement it into a company. 

For entrepreneurs who wish to gain more knowledge about entrepreneurship and business, it is recommended to take classes about entrepreneurship and learn about all of its aspects. MBA is not a failure alert but it’s a supplicant for when you have built your own company. Remember that business plans and certificates are not the pass into making your own entrepreneurial startups.

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