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Why MBAs Fail at Entrepreneurship

Posted by Al Doan under Online Media Reviews

25

Apr
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

This is a quick reflection piece by @stuartwall on his experience of finishing Harvard Business School then immediately bootstrapping Postabon (local discount website). He gives 5 reasons why MBAs fail when dealing with startups.

  1. Execution – VCs don’t give a darn about your PowerPoint deck
  2. Group Think – Figure out what’s popular, then do the opposite
  3. Team – The person sitting next to you is a bad partner
  4. Entitlement – Your diploma won’t make cold calls
  5. Risk Aversion – IBanking won’t pave the way to (tech) entrepreneurship

A few of these really hit the nail on the head in my opinion. I suggest you read Stuart’s blog post for his thoughts on this, because I couldn’t agree more.

Business schools have a great way of creating this illusion of what real life will be like and letting students live in this silly world where they think they’ve got it figured out. It’s the days where they all wear suits to class and carry a goofy looking briefcase with their laptop in it, they stand up and give a presentation that they practiced and wear a fake smile. Then they all sit down and think of how great their life will be when they are making millions to wear suits, present, and fake sincerity.  To be fair, if they go entry level on up to management, that’s pretty close to what their life will be.

Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, requires vision and determination. Those are things that can be faked through business school, and through middle management, but when you’re employee #3 there is not a lot of room for the ol’ shifty eyes and change the topic routine. You have to be producing, you have to be producing quickly, and you have to see 3 moves ahead in order to keep your company afloat.  The demands are drastically different.  From the self motivation aspect of it, all the way to the very non glamorous life of a $3,000 annual income while you get things sorted out, an MBA isn’t normally prepared for the demands on an entrepreneur.

It’s just something to be cognoscente of as you pursue your education, from whichever track you choose. 🙂

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Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

Plan B Entrepreneurs

Posted by Al Doan under Online Media Reviews

13

Apr
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

I wanted to pass something along real quick that I thought was worth the listen.  I had a link come my way to Stanford Universities Entrepreneurship Corner or eCorner (which is a pretty cool resource if you haven’t seen it yet, but I digress), they sent me the link and recommended a podcast by Randy Komisar, who is a contributor there at the eCorner.  The podcast, titled “Getting to Plan B” isn’t my favorite presentation ever, I don’t think Randy is a great speaker, nor does he have a particularly compelling structure to his presentation, however he makes a few thought provoking points and the Q&A is helpful.

He suggests that entrepreneurs shouldn’t necessarily work for their Plan A, but rather they should start on Plan A with the express intent of getting to Plan B.  I agree with this in principle, particularly from my current lens of a TechStars.org intern.  TechStars devotes the first month of the program to drilling down with the entrepreneur to a clearer focus.  So these companies will come in with product moving out the door and they make them stop and spend a month defining, drilling down, clarifying, and in many cases, repositioning themselves until they are on a more solid idea (often a stripped down/narrowed version of what they started with) that they can confidently execute on.  In fact, from what I’ve seen, the TechStars selection committee puts a lot of emphasis on the team, with comments like “crummy idea, but if we can help them navigate to the right idea they’ll blow it out of the water”.

It also speaks to the fact that it’s not the idea that is golden, it’s the ability to execute that is the potential golden goose, and that is what will make you successful.  Plan A focused entrepreneurs put all their stake in the idea, Plan B entrepreneurs are confident in themselves and aren’t afraid to adjust in order to find something they can execute on.

Anyway, listen for the good parts, it’s about 30 mins then 30 mins of Q&A.  Let me know what you think –


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Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)
   
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