I'm wrestling with my essays here and would like some advice. I'm applying to some b-schools and listing entrepreneurship as my post-MBA goal. It seems to me that most of the advice out there says that (A) this is usually not a good idea unless you're a previously successful entrepreneur and (B) either way you need a solid business plan to discuss in the goals essay.
First of all, is this true? Secondly, please consider my thoughts: I've been working in IT for the past 5 years and studied it in undergrad I've had lots of ideas for businesses, even (very) briefly tried/failed at one, and given my lack of formal business training, I'm not surprised. I'm looking for an MBA to teach me the ins and outs of business planning, of financial analysis, of identifying winning ideas, sourcing funding, etc. The business stuff that I believe is separating me from success.
Is this not valid for a goals essay? I'm trying to take my career in a new direction. I recently quit my job at the big fortune500 and am working my dad's very small family business (in an IT/marketing capacity) to get more exposure to small business/entreprenurial environment. My thoughts are that the MBA will give me the skills that I've been missing which have held me back from achieving success.
Please let me know what you think.
-->EDIT: one more thing to add. I've also heard that AdComs are concerned about post-MBA employment for entrepreneurs. Given that I have access to family business, would it be advisable to list, say, continued development of the family business as a short-term and a long-term one of starting my own?
I've also heard advice saying that I could write that i envision achieving my long-term goal [of startup] in one of two ways: either by starting a new business straight out of school or by continuing to gain business-starting expertise at family company until I'm able to strike out on my own. I've heard this characterized as indecisive-sounding. Is this advisable at all in your opinion?
Let's separate out a few issues.
1. Realize that calculating your goal kind of negates the whole exercise. Your real MBA goal
, your reason, for applying to bschool, will be the easiest for you to be convincing and enthusiastic about.
2. If the schools, who tend to be very realistic about what their programs can do, don't think your goal is realistic given your background and their program, maybe there is a problem with your goal.
3. While several years ago, entrepreneurship was a bit of dilemma for schools. They wanted entrepreneurs because some of them they know will be the super-star graduates and alumni, but they also know the entrepreneur's initial salary, which affects the school's perceived value, ranking, and ROI, would probably be lower than if they got a job in banking or Wall St. Today, more and more schools are encouraging entrepreneurship with incubators, mandatory business plans for all students, and all kinds of support. I don't think the rankings' hit has gone away, but I think the schools have decided that it is more important long-term to be strong in entrepreneurship than not.
4. Continued development of the family business as a short-term goal followed by starting your own further down the line is perfectly legitimate and plausible. So is, working in the family business now to gain small business experience with the hope of starting a business immediately after graduate school. And so is working in consulting for a couple of years followed by starting your own business. However, if you say you want to start a biz after graduating you should have some idea of what you want to do.
Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools
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