Should I get an MBA?

by Anjali Gupta

Is the $100,000 branded MBA worth it? If this is going through your head, I strongly recommend reading this essay aptly titled “The End of the MBA”.

I am considering starting the local chapter of the NoBS (New Order Business School) described in this article. After spending two years with those who would make it to a branded school, I have a fair idea of who should get in. Just last week I reviewed over 10 essays from I.S.B. applicants and often get several such requests for many other schools. I think NoBS would be a great way to get future entrepreneurs together. Any takers for my plan?

Having got an MBA from Wharton, I feel rather strange endorsing this essay. The ironical part is that I recently gave similar advice to a large group of entrepreneurs at the TiE-ISB conference last week. The MBA gets you credibility points while hiring your first few employees and while talking to VCs (but those points can be earned by getting revenue or real customers too).

An MBA is not required for entrepreneurship. A close mentor of mine makes the point well. An MBA would teach you to manage risk. And entrepreneurship is all about taking very big risks or very big bets (depends on how you look at them).

I wish I had read the essay before speaking at the conference. Quoting Seth, ask people who are thriving in today’s economy to name five things that helped them succeed, and they’ll probably come up with a list like this one.

1. Finding, hiring, and managing supergreat people

2. Embracing change and moving quickly

3. Understanding and excelling at business development and at making deals with other companies

4. Prioritizing tasks in a job that changes every day

5. Selling — to people, to companies, and to markets

I waited four years to start doing these. If you still have a choice, don’t wait.

Warning: A branded MBA is a fantastic platform for many well defined career paths. This post applies only to those debating between launching a startup and getting an MBA.