Entrepreneurs are a special sort. It takes vision, determination, drive, and courage to start a successful new venture. In the class of 2011, only 5% of grads told us they intend to set out on that path. Most of these students—tomorrow’s entrepreneurs—credit their management education with giving them the “know-how” to turn their visions into viable business plans.
These emerging entrepreneurs realize that success, whether working for themselves or for someone else, will depend on their mastery of general business knowledge. Decision-making skills, the ability to manage strategy and innovation—these are the foundational skills and abilities that business grads across the board say they improve most during their graduate studies.
Fully 80% of this year’s self-employed grads say their management education has been extremely important in helping them lead and grow their businesses. What have they learned that’s so business-critical? It’s a pretty wide-ranging list:
Importance of Graduate Business Education for Business Owners
What drives these entrepreneurs?
Passion. Passion for what they are doing is the #1 motivator for starting their businesses. Not surprisingly, entrepreneurial types attach the least importance to job security and rank high in terms of their comfort with change and likelihood to adopt new ideas. In fact, 31% of self-employed grads from the class of 2011 classified themselves as innovators, compared with less than a quarter of all other students (as measured by the individual innovativeness questionnaire included in our survey). What may surprise you is that most of the grads planning on starting new businesses completed executive MBA programs—nearly a quarter of these entrepreneurs developed their business concept while working at a previous job.
What’s their predicted success rate?
We can’t really predict the success rate of the Class of 2011’s entrepreneurs, but let’s take a look at the MBAs who’ve gone before them (we survey b-school alumni every year to keep up on their progress). Check out the outcome measures of success for self-employed MBA alumni who graduated in the last decade:
• More than half (53%) oversee multiple employees
• 27% own multiple companies
• 28% run businesses with a multinational focus
• 41% reported more than $250,000 in total revenue in 2010—more than double the highest-level salary range for alumni working for companies
No matter what type of MBA or graduate business degree they earned, these entrepreneurs told us that their management education was an investment in themselves with a long-term pay-off for them and their enterprises.
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-Research Center at GMAC