Why an MBA May NOT Be What You Need


John Warrilow, noted writer for BNET.com, asserts that those looking to launch their own businesses need not complete an MBA program to be successful.  In fact, he goes so far as to claim that an MBA is bad for entrepreneurs.

First, it’s important to acknowledge that the list of successful entrepreneurs who were also dropouts is fairly lengthy and includes some heavy hitters like Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Coco Chanel and Steve Jobs.  However, that’s not conclusive evidence that traditional education is lost on the entrepreneurial-minded.  Warrilow provides four reasons that he believes seals his argument:

  1. MBA programs teach causal reasoning. In a study performed by University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, professor Saras Saravathy researched the differences between 45 ‘super-entrepreneurs’ and a group of MBA-toting corporate executives.  She found that they differ significantly in how they plan for the future.  Apparently, the executives make goals and then determine a path to achieving those goals—what Sarvathy calls ‘causal reasoning.’  The entrepreneurs, on the other hand, use ‘effectual reasoning’ which means they determine what resources they currently have access to and then decide what can be created from those resources.
  2. MBA programs teach adaptive thinking.  Another study—this one conducted by Dr. Michael Kirton—found that people can be grouped in two categories: adaptors and innovators.  Adaptors use others’ ideas and improve upon them while innovators create cutting-edge concepts and ideas of their own. Warrilow argues that more entrepreneurs are innovators, and he doesn’t expect that an MBA will do anything but train this tendency right out of them.
  3. Classmates will not be entrepreneurs. Most students enrolled in MBA programs have attended the right universities, earned the right grades, and participated in the right extra-curricular activities.  This eliminates the majority of entrepreneurs who have used their time to dabble in various entrepreneurial ventures.  As Warrilow explains, “In a tier-one MBA program, your peers have gotten to the top of their class by answering the question correctly, not by examining the efficacy of the question itself.  By the time these model citizens have put the finishing touches on their pristine educational credentials, every ounce of creativity has been replaced by pounds of correctness.”
  4. 40% of ‘risk-free’ years wasted in the classroom.  There’s no doubt that the older one becomes, the more responsibilities and attachments one acquires, including a spouse, children, mortgage payments and other bills.  The 20’s can be a great time of risk-free years when most are generally unburdened by such responsibilities.  Spending those years completing an MBA program can steal these precious years from prospective entrepreneurs.

While there are good reasons to develop new skills and develop one’s expertise, that doesn’t mean that graduate school is always the way to go about it.  Sometimes, it’s important to look for other avenues that will not hamper a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

Unconventional, Yet Rewarding Training

Small-business accounting is a valuable niche market.  In fact, over 90% of accounting opportunities can be found in the small-business arena.  Universal Accounting Center (UAC) has been training professionals like you in small-business accounting for 30 years because they recognize what many do not; most universities and trade programs are not preparing students for the typical, real-world accounting experiences they will encounter.

Becoming a small-business accountant doesn’t require years of valuable time.  Regardless of whether or not your ‘risk-free’ years have passed, UAC’s Professional Bookkeeper (PB) Program is not only reputable, but it’s self-paced, enabling a busy professional like you to take your time or complete the program quickly, in less than 60 hours, allowing you to quickly use those skills (entrepreneurial spirit intact) to launch your own business.  Call Universal at 1-877-833-7909 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-877-833-7909 end_of_the_skype_highlighting to enroll in this stellar program today!  Your future awaits you.


Warrilow, John. “4 Reasons an MBA Is Bad for Entrepreneurs.” 3 March 2011 BNET.com

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