Can an MBA Help You Start Your Own Business?

booksPopular wisdom holds that young, aspiring entrepreneurs needn’t bother to earn an MBA. It takes time and money to earn a Master of Business Administration, and most middle-management types can get their companies to pay their tuition at some point during their careers. If you want to start a business, on the other hand, you don’t need to prove your business acumen to anyone by showing them a degree – do you?

As a matter of fact, earning an MBA can be just as valuable for aspiring entrepreneurs as it for anyone else in the business world. MBA programs give you the chance to learn business lessons that you’d otherwise have to learn the hard way, through business failures that could ultimately cost you a chance at success. Every successful business has an MBA on board, not only for the business acumen, but also because having an MBA attracts top talent that can help your business succeed.

Get the Business Sense You Need to Succeed

There are two ways to develop a good head for business. One is to go out in the business world and learn the hard lessons of business through trial and error. The other is to go to business school and earn an MBA.

It might be tempting to choose the first road. After all, business school isn’t cheap; it can cost upwards of $140,000 just to pay for tuition, room and board, and books in a traditional MBA program. Factor in the two years of income lost to leaving the work force to attend school full-time, and that figure shoots up to $260,000 or more. That number goes up even further if you’re fortunate enough to get into one of the nation’s top programs.

But if you rely on trial and error to teach you business lessons, you may well regret it. Business failure in the real world has staying power. It can cost you some or all of your seed money, leaving you back at square one and making it that much harder to rustle up investors. In the end, your dreams of business success might never be realized simply because you didn’t have the business savvy to bring them to fruition.

In business school, you’ll have access to professors who can share with you their many years of work and expertise. You’ll examine a wide range of business scenarios across a wide range of industries of all kinds. You’ll emerge from the program with a solid understanding of basic business and financial concepts, a firm grasp of how to build a commercially successful business, and a formidable working knowledge of what goes into running a business.

When your start-up starts bleeding seed money, you’ll have the know-how to figure out why. When you’re in a meeting with a finance director or a hedge fund manager, you’ll have some inkling of what he or she is talking about. While you’re in business school, you’ll have the room to learn and grow while also enjoying a level of insulation against failure that simply isn’t available to entrepreneurs in the real world.

Cut MBA Costs with a Non-Traditional Program

You may be utterly convinced about the benefits of attending an MBA program before launching yourself into the world of entrepreneurship, but that doesn’t mean you’re not still worried about the cost. You may worry that by the time you graduate from an MBA program, you’ll have so much debt that you won’t be able to afford to start a business. But you can keep business school costs down when you attend an online program.

Many of the costs associated with earning an MBA come from taking years out of the work force to attend classes at a brick-and-mortar institution. Not only do you lose the money you would have earned during those years, you’ll acquire debt as you borrow the money you need to pay for living expenses on top of your school costs.

But when you go to school online, you’ll be able to stay in the work force while doing your class work on your own schedule. You’ll also save many of the costs associated with attending classes the old-fashioned way, including costs associated with traveling back and forth to class every day or relocating to the same city as your new school.

If you aspire to entrepreneurial success, you may think that you don’t need an MBA. Think again. Whether you’re working for yourself or someone else, an MBA can teach you the valuable lessons you need to enjoy success in the business world – and all things considered, it’ll be much easier than learning your business lessons the hard way, by failing in the real world again and again.

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