Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Taking Good From The Bad: The Emergence of Entrepreneur MBA's

During the recession of the last year or so all the chicken little's have been screaming that the sky is falling. It was supposedly the end of the world that the market took a dive. I must admit that things get a little scary when banks start failing, and even scarier when we as taxpayers are left to foot the bill while the government cherry picks which companies are "too big to fail" and which aren't. However I have written before that not only are economic downturns a perpetual reality but that they are a necessity. Not only did the recession present one of the greatest buying opportunities of our time, but it also has changed behaviors on a grand scale that would not have changed without of little push from market forces (hint: consumer debt, lending practices, etc.). However, not all the fallout from the downturn is arm twisting change. I found this article in BusinessWeek regarding the increase in start up companies coming out of MBA programs.

Business schools have quietly become the back door to starting your own business. Once considered merely the hallway to a high-salaried career with an investment banking or consulting firm, business schools are now drawing attention from those
tinkering in their garages and hoping to find the next big thing. Through virtual and traditional business incubators, business schools are helping students launch startups with everything from fund-raising and networking to finding office space and interns.

Innovation and entrepreneurship have always been the driving force behind the small business fueled American growth. It is great to see that a positive outcome can come from such a seemingly negative financial period. These incubators and business plan competitions that are springing up at campuses nationwide are really cool. When I was taking an innovations class
at the United States Air Force Academy (yes, even they are teaching innovation) we had the CEO of an incubator in Boulder come and talk about what they do and it was really impressive. They also talked about the business plan competitions and a few groups even went and participated. I tend not to regret too many things in life but I really wish I would have sucked it up and participated in one of those competitions. I did get the chance to do a mock competition where prominent startup figures in the area came to our department and served as judges alongside faculty as guest judges which served as our final grade in the class. Great experience that I am sure it magnified tremendously with the opportunity to actually carry out your business plan and even be given money to make it happen.

"Rather than creating the next generation of employees, we want to create the next generation of employers," says Ted Zoller, associate professor and executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

As bonuses disappear and pink slips fly in increasing numbers, entrepreneurship-the nitty-gritty kind where men and women with dreams roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and work hard to make something of nothing-is becoming the new MBA lifestyle. Business schools are impressing upon students that taking on this new ideology behooves all MBAs, even those
in traditional industries. "Entrepreneur is not just a job title," says Arthur A. Boni, director of the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Tepper. "It's a way of thinking and acting. All people are required to innovate, whether in a startup or a big company. Especially in a recession, everybody needs to be more innovative."

Well said. In the new era of business where the possibilities for exploiting and creating new markets are seemingly endless, there is so much more to getting a first class business education than accounting and organizational culture. It is great to see that although the last year has been painful for many, it is in fact bettering the future of the way we do business.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Good stuff, Badski. When I finally pursue an MBA, it will be interesting to see the correlation (if any) between entrepreneurship/B-school.