Become an Entrepreneur After Your MBA
Written by Angela Ly for Gaebler Ventures
You have thought about starting your own business, but is still not sure whether to do it after your MBA. Here, we discuss taking the road less travelled.
Most MBA students graduate to become investment bankers and management consultants.
At least, many of them want to. MBAs are popping up everywhere, and the competition gets stiffer year after year. Therefore, many students settle for the 'lesser' jobs - the less glamorous ones. Still, thousands of applicants still hanker after the hot careers that eat away at your personal time and life.
Not me. What I have picked out for myself is definitely miles away from the dream that pushed me to do my MBA in the first place. You see, I had always wanted to become a consultant. But deep in my heart, I knew that that would be my top choice only if I were to join the corporate world. I knew that my 10-year goal was to start my own business. I wanted something that was truly mine, and I wanted to feel the passion and zeal that could be found in most dynamic start-up owners.
Let's explore and tackle 3 top reasons why people don't venture out on their own, even if they dream of doing so.
1. "I need a stable job that pays"
If the recession has taught you nothing else, it should have shown you that most jobs are not stable at all. As huge institutions go down, they drag along with them scores of employees. Unemployed, in an instant. However, there is some sense in this statement as many graduates cannot simply do not have sufficient financial resources to breathe life into their business ideas.
Say you have made a plan to work for 5 years. By then you would have saved up enough funds to get your business started. But how long would you have really ? Would 5 years be enough, or would it extend to 10 years? Would I still be at the same company, having been promoted, and unwilling to move out of my comfort zone by then?
The truth is, no one knows. The point I am trying to make here is that either option you choose, the path can curve in unexpected ways. You cannot plan the success of your business, and neither can you bet your last dollar on your rise up the corporate ladder.
I would suggest that even if you decide to accept that job offer upon graduation, just keep thinking about your business idea. Put it down into a business plan. Look for resources. Network. Talk to venture capital firms. Seek out partners. Make active attempts to realise your goal.
2. "I am afraid that my business will fail"
Every first-time entrepreneur suffers from bouts of fear from time to time. Even seasoned entrepreneurs have worries. After all, corporate bigwigs also worry all the time whether they are making the correct decisions. However, you shouldn't let your worries turn into utter lack of confidence. What your business needs most is for you to believe in it, and to nurture it, like a child. Do everything you can to prevent it from failing.
3. "I know nothing about starting and running a business"
Lack of experience is not an issue. Experience can be gained. Knowledge can be acquired. Do something to change the fact that you lack experience. Learn from a mentor, and watch how firms in the industry are doing things. Suss out the competition and establish your winning strategy.
The MBA would have taught you a slew of things you need to know about running a business. Having a business of your own means that you would be applying concepts learned in strategy, finance, accounting, marketing and technology management classes. Running your own business is the one very thing you can do to utilize all that you've learnt.
In conclusion, to those who have ever dreamt of starting their own business, break away from the traditional MBA routes. Take a chance on yourself. I know I will.
Angela is currently an MBA student at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Ms. Ly is looking to specialise in Finance, and has an interest in exploring topics in entrepreneurship and strategies for small businesses.
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