If you’re looking to start your own business, or to improve your skills in managing and developing an existing enterprise, an MBA degree is worthy of your consideration.
While there have traditionally been arguments as to whether the qualification is best suited to those who wish to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors, these have largely subsided under the sheer scale of available opportunities and desire among students to explore their options in this regard.
In terms of opportunity, the Middle East is no exception to the general rule. A number of locations in the region offer great platforms for those looking to turn an idea into a functional business. Qatar and the UAE, for example, rank first and seventh out of 140 nations for the availability of venture capital to those with innovative ideas, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015–2016.
In terms of desire, the QS Applicant Survey 2015 tells us that ‘running your own business’ remains the most popular answer to the question ‘Where do you see themselves in 10 years’ time?’ cited by 27% of applicants worldwide in 2015. In addition, 31% of applicants this year list starting their own business as a primary reason behind their intention to embark on an MBA journey in the first place.
This level of interest has seen provisions for budding entrepreneurs flourish among the world’s leading business schools in recent years. Aside from specialized courses focused on giving entrepreneurs the necessary toolkit, the opportunities to network, build credibility with investors, and take part in startup competitions are unrivalled.
Three key benefits of a MBA, as cited by entrepreneurs
At TopMBA.com, we frequently have the pleasure of talking with those who have used the degree to fuel their entrepreneurial dreams. Here are three of the benefits we hear most often:
1. Expanding your business knowledge
No matter your industry background, there are bound to be a few holes in your business acumen. If you’ve been working in finance, for instance, maybe your marketing skills aren’t quite up to scratch, or vice versa. These gaps in your knowledge could impact on your chances of success when you start your own business, and are something that the core elements of an MBA program will seek to fill. Schools’ specialized entrepreneurship offerings, meanwhile, will provide you with an insight into the latest trends and strategies among today’s most successful startups.
“I knew I needed to learn more before I launched myself into operating a successful business; deeper knowledge and breadth in the main areas of business.”
Fadi Malas, MBA alumnus of Imperial College Business School and CEO of Just Falafel.
“I felt I needed some more grounding in business to help me develop Elevated Leisure into a more serious business by learning things relating to legal, tax, HR and all sorts of other disciplines in which I didn’t feel like I had enough experience.”
Oliver Proudlock, MBA student at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management and founder of Elevated Leisure.
Another key benefit to joining a business school community is the access it provides to an influential student and alumni network. Worried about how to find suitable investment for your company? An MBA program can introduce you to all the right people and give you the credibility needed to hold their interest. Many students even find themselves the perfect startup partner, or co-founder, during their time at business school.
“You instantly make 240 new friends who are going to go off and do influential things.”
Steven Renwick, Oxford MBA graduate and founder of Satago.
“Being surrounded by likeminded people, having highly engaging case discussions, meeting businesspeople, getting exposed to different industries and all of this happening at once allows people to quickly decide what their passions are and how best to pursue them.”
Nina Pogossova, Harvard Business School alumna and entrepreneur.
3. Learning if entrepreneurship is right for you and gaining confidence
Some people take an MBA with the specific purpose of turning an existing business idea into a reality– and one that has the best possible chance of success. Others get a taste for the entrepreneurial life during the program itself. Either way, business school is a great place to discover if you have a knack for building and running a startup. An environment in which you can develop and test out ideas in classes filled with high potential peers can also imbue you with the confidence you’ll need to develop and sustain a successful business.
“Back then I thought, ‘OK, I think I would be happy doing this every day of my life’. I already had some curiosity regarding the entrepreneurial world– that was one of the reasons why I chose to study here.”
Margarida Constantino, IE Business School alumna and founder of Bepetly.
“The MBA gave me confidence in my own ability more than anything. The skillset and classes gave me reference points.”
Scott Phillips, London Business School alumnus and co-founder of Rise Art.If you’re considering pursuing an MBA, join the QS World MBA Tour in Dubai on 21st November 2015. Register online to secure your place at www.topmba.com/Entrepreneur