A top-tier MBA: Springboard to entrepreneurship

Jean-Philippe Odunlamiis a senior consultant atThe MBA Exchange. He has guided a wide variety of applicants in gaining acceptance to major business schools worldwide.

Many people typically think of an MBA degree as a "ticket" to the ideal corporate job. However, a top-tier MBA program is also the perfect springboard for those thinking of launching a new venture. In fact, at some leading business schools, more than 50% of alumni become entrepreneurs at some point during their post-MBA careers.

Based on my own experience launching a $5MM international venture while attending business school — and confirmed by hundreds of former admissions clients of The MBA Exchange who have founded businesses — here are 4 primary advantages of an MBA education for aspiring entrepreneurs:

1. The MBA Toolkit
Entrepreneurs and leaders of start-ups typically have to wear many hats, especially in the early days of the venture. The founder must design marketing strategies, identify sales channels, address regulatory requirements and confront various general management issues. Top-tier MBA programs offer a broad base of knowledge and skills covering all these areas and more. At most programs, students can also choose highly specialized classes and thus fill in any knowledge gaps.

2. The Credibility Bump
Successfully launching a business requires credibility to help secure customers, investors, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders. A top-tier MBA immediately gives the entrepreneur a trusted “brand” that key constituents will recognize and trust.

3. A Risk-Free Environment
Having a “risk-free” laboratory to plan and test the venture greatly enhances its likelihood of sustainable success. Two years at a top-tier MBA program is plenty of time to research and explore ideas, processes and products, with no risk if the student-entrepreneur decides to delay or even cancel the proposed launch. Since over 95% of students at top-tier MBA programs receive a job offer, the potential entrepreneur has career options besides the venture.

4. A Full "Ecosystem"
A conducive ecosystem of investors, partners, and advisors in a single place is a tremendous asset for startups, but very rare outside of a few places like Silicon Valley or Wall Street. Top-tier MBA programs offer an amazing network of alumni, professors, and classmates who stand ready to support aspiring entrepreneurs and become the venture’s stakeholders. Additionally, many MBA programs host start-up competitions and entrepreneurship conferences for their students and alumni, giving them immediate access to high-value investors, partners and advisors.

So whether you’re planning to launch the next revolutionary app, thinking of raising a first-time private equity fund, or have dreams of founding a fashion-leading clothing brand in China, a top MBA education offers resources to help you succeed. Next step? Get a free, expert evaluation of your MBA candidacy.