Six Ways an MBA Can Teach You to Become an Entrepreneur

Sep 2, 2014
Tags: B-School, Choosing the Right School, Entrepreneurship, MBA, School Selection

Maryke Steenkamp

Submitted by Maryke Luijendijk-Steenkamp, director of MBA Marketing & Admissions, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. 

Entrepreneurship is all the rage in global business nowadays. A question that I’m being asked all the time is: “Does the MBA teach me entrepreneurship?” I think the question you should be asking is: “Does the MBA teach me to be an entrepreneur.”

The answer is yes! Entrepreneurship is not just about starting your own business. In today’s global economy, we all need to have an entrepreneurial mind-set to survive. Anyone who can grab opportunities, take risks, think innovatively, and make things happen can be classed as an entrepreneur.

Here are six ways your MBA experience can teach you to become an entrepreneur.

  1. Download FREE GMATPrepBuild a global network. One of the key benefits of the MBA is that it provides a platform for you to engage with an extremely diverse pool of people, ensuring that you build up a very substantial network in a short scope of time. For an entrepreneur, having a network that spans across industries and, maybe even more importantly, across geographies is imperative. This is useful for entrepreneurs looking to expand their international scope. You learn to get your point or pitch across in a way that is adaptive to the culture with whom you are interacting. We teach that it is not only about what you are saying, it is also about the way in which you say it!
  2. Take calculated risks. The MBA teaches you to take risks. For entrepreneurs, this is of great value; being an entrepreneur is never risk-free. Succeeding in business is all about taking calculated decisions that maximize opportunity while trying to minimize risk. 
  3. Gain a “sustainability” mind-set. At RSM, we want our MBA’s to think about the effect their actions have on themselves and others – today, tomorrow, and years into the future. We stimulate you to think about more than just the bottom line, while still maintaining a sound bottom line. Placing entrepreneurial candidates with this mind-set and awareness into the global economy will most definitely be beneficial to all. 
  4. Embrace change. The influence of disruptive technology in most areas of business has had a major impact on the way we work. In order to stay ahead in your industry, you need to be an entrepreneur in the workplace. This requires adaptability, openness to change and being comfortable with being uncomfortable – all attributes that we foster and teach in the MBA. 
  5. Present your ideas effectively. One of the soft skills taught in an MBA program is how to present effectively. Sometimes delivering the most professional presentation might just be a differentiating factor in pushing your ideas or business plans through. The MBA also teaches you to devise and present your business plan. This can be in the traditional sense of the word, i.e. pitching a new business idea, but it also refers to what happens every day at work – pitching an idea or project to both internal and external stakeholders. As the business landscape becomes more and more competitive with more and more ideas in need of support and funding, ensuring that you have a solid business plan to pitch is crucial.
  6. Leverage opportunities outside the classroom. One of the most important aspects of the MBA experience is the opportunities you will have outside of the MBA classroom. Here at RSM, for example, you can be part of the Venture Capital Club and/or the Entrepreneurship Club where you get to engage with alumni and other industry partners, providing you a platform to discuss the latest trends in entrepreneurship and the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship offers a start-up campus and entrepreneurship boot camps.

Through an MBA program, you can gain the invaluable attributes you need to become an entrepreneur – be that setting up your own business or carving your way in traditional business.