Connections. Community. Mentorship. Immersion in management theory, market strategy and financial forecasting. A big, fat r?sum? boost.?
The benefits of getting a business degree are multifold. But as many MBAs and their undergrad counterparts can attest, so are the falsehoods imparted. ?
Some business lessons simply can?t be taught within the confines of the classroom; case studies, theories and formulas don?t always translate to real-world wins. And possibly the most valuable education entrepreneurs can receive comes from failing spectacularly, dusting themselves off and applying what they?ve learned to the next project.?
But don?t take our word for it. We asked emerging and successful entrepreneurs to share what they consider to be the biggest lies perpetuated by business programs. Here?s what a handful of them had to say.?
1. Outline it all first.?
Business schools like to emphasize planning (and planning and planning). But once you?re in the thick of running a company, even the slightest industry change can send the best-laid business plans out the window.?
?In academics, there?s a clear and straightforward way to win,? says Kristin Smith, CEO of Code Fellows, a Seattle-based software programming school. ?But entrepreneurship isn?t linear.? Instead, it?s messy and unpredictable, marked by trial, error and pivots.?
Of course, a business degree will equip you with many of the essential tools you?ll need to run a company. ?But there are so many levels on which you?re constantly adjusting,? says Smith, who earned her MBA in 2003 from MIT Sloan School of Management. ?You?re probably using a hammer in a way that it was never meant to be used.?
All the more reason to avoid overthinking and over-engineering your idea, she says. Time may stand still in the classroom, but it doesn?t in the marketplace.
2. You can analyze your way into a good idea.?
At business school, data is king. But many graduates have learned that you can?t use a spreadsheet to shoehorn your way into a winning product or service.?
Katherine Long, a University of Pennsylvania Wharton School alum, started a seven-figure business, Illustria Designs, in 2013, right after she graduated. Sure, all those A/B testing exercises in the classroom were instructive. But when pursuing a business idea, she seized on a pressing need for herself and her classmates: high-quality yet affordable designs for logos, websites, web and mobile apps and other marketing materials.?
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