Is An MBA Necessary For Entrepreneurs? July 16, 2013 RICCentre By: Shamini Sellvaratnam For many years, entrepreneurs have questioned the value of an MBA; often forgoing higher education in favour of starting a business. However, as Harvard noted, with 50 percent of their MBA graduates now becoming entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners alike are starting to see the value of an MBA as as more than a chance to get a higher education, but as an opportunity to tap into the University’s professional network and resources. According to Mark Rice, director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, MBA’s are a great way for entrepreneurs to finance their business expansion due to the availability of resources and capital provided by the University and its surrounding network. Why is an MBA so attractive? 1) MBA Programs attract top talent: By surrounding themselves with experienced and dedicated individuals, MBA programs gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to network and connect with future business partners, engage in thought-provoking discussions and expand their professional network. 2) MBA Programs support entrepreneurs: MBA Programs often give entrepreneurs the support needed to expand their business or to execute ideas. By providing valuable feedback, mentorship programs and access to resources, MBA’s provide entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skill necessary to increase valuations, attract better talent and gain better access to funding. 3) The University as an incubator: Universities often act as incubators when providing entrepreneurs with access to industry experts, professionals, financial grants, research projects, office space and collaboration with students from other degrees. With these resources available, the University becomes a place to nurture and help entrepreneurs take their innovations to market. Entrepreneurs completing their MBA also find value in University affiliated programs, where they can gain access to even more resources. There programs include, but are not limited to: Alumni outreach programs Campus networking events Entrepreneurial resource centers: With more Universities offering entrepreneurial MBA programs, it may be beneficial for entrepreneurs to look into pursuing a higher education in order to grow their professional network and gain the skills necessary to create a successful business. The following Canadian Universities offer MBA programs or specialize in entrepreneurship: University of Western Ontario – Richard Ivey School of Business Concordia University – John Molson School of Business University of Ottawa – Telfer School of Management Queen’s University- Queen’s School of Business University of Calgary – Haskayne School of Business York University – Schulich School of Business University of Victoria – Peter B. Gustavson School of Business Wilfrid Laurier University University of Wateroo University of Windsor – Odette School of Business University of British Columbia – Sauder School of Business University of New Brunswick Shamini is completing her final year at the University of Toronto Mississauga and is pursuing an undergraduate specialist degree in Business Administration and a major in Communication, Culture & Information Technology. Shamini is joining the RIC team this summer as a Communications Intern bringing with her a passion in marketing and various experiences in online marketing. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal and professional experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.