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The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare. – Bobby Knight


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Why MBA – The entrepreneur Version

A lot of us have a lot of reasons to do MBA. As a 6 month Entrepreneur I have my reasons as well.

1. Value of Numbers – Transition from a employee to an entrepreneur is not a easy one. All though I have chewed up couple of numbers (for the client in my previous job) I didn’t know the value the numbers add to a business. As an entrepreneur the number games are totally different. For example 1$ might not be a liability 1000×1$ is a liability.  There are many such examples where I fell short during the 6 months and an MBA could’ve been my savior. I didn’t know I was finance ignorant till I let a CA read my charts.  Believe me getting at 48+ GMAT score has got nothing to do with finance or maths involved in business.

2. Network – For an entrepreneur, no network is enough network. And starting a company in my home can be devastating if not for a few free (no salary remember?) start-up events trying to find clients, mentors and investors. Bschool is a holy grail for any entrepreneur – with the amount of students to professors to events to access to local business. Its a first class ticket for whole 2 years and for the rest of the life.

3. Team/Hiring – Having read a couple of books from good to great to Steve Jobs biography, I thought my schooling was over, I don’t need a MBA. You see, its easy to read than to follow. I made my first blunder when I chose a team. Being a small venture it is critical you get at least one aspect right – a great partner. Ideas might come and go but strength of the partnership makes or breaks a business. Business takes time and better to have a partner who is willing to go through the tough times (there are so many). Having lived through this lesson, I dare say, I am up for grabs whatever a Bschool can throw at me – including a potential business partner ;).

4. Mentor – Mentoring is an essential part of any start-up. Those who say I don’t want mentor are only postponing their decisions. Sometimes (many times) we need to think out of the box. Entrepreneurs start with love (so did I) but that is not all needed. We need the logical and analytical mind that says “Ok, I get it, What problem are you trying to solve? Are people willing to pay for it? If not how about you do this…” That’s a role of mentor. Sadly, I had to struggle two months, after which I realized how much mentoring can help. MBAs have a la carte for mentoring provided by the best of the best. How about taking a entrepreneurship lesson from Steve Blank or Eric Ries or Peter Thiel?

5. ROI – Lets see, Bschools cost a lot. A LOT. For someone who is unsalaried for a few months (didn’t break even yet), it’s a big gamble. So, I had to put a ROI. But, Bschool’s ROI go beyond the actual money. Even after 20 years, it can’t be measured to actual point. Even though the outgoing salary makes sense, I bet just like our primary education (can we put a price on it?) We can’t really put a ROI on Bschool – from alumni to network to the goodwill, there are just so many things that makes BSCHOOL a perfect stop.

 

So, what’s your reason?


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Networking 101 by Girl Meets Bschool

Networking is probably one the most primary skills that is required in a Business world. We could meet a potential client/investor/co-founder in the next Business summit we attend. Having decided on spending next 1-2 years in a BSchool, there are bound to be not one, not two, but hundreds of such opportunities. We might not want to miss out our first venture capitalist or co-founder just because we failed to extend our hand first. 🙂

Courtesy:Diversity MBA Magazine

Being an introvert, I had a very timid approach to networking. An interaction with Girl Meets Bschool got me thinking about how even I can do just a few simple things to get behind the wheel.

Guest Post – Networking 101 by Girl Meets Bschool

Networking is perhaps the single most important thing you can be doing during the application process. I actually wish I had done more of it! The truth is, in order to demonstrate that you’re a great fit for a certain school, you really need to understand the culture of that school and in order to understand the culture, and you must talk to people. Sounds easy enough, but like you said, there is an etiquette to it.

I would recommend starting with the two most obvious groups: recruiters and student ambassadors. They are great because they talk to potential students all the time so they are used to answering the same questions over and over. Just take their feedback with a grain of salt because they are there to tell you the good parts about the program, not the bad. If you can, try to attend a couple of MBA fairs where you can talk to recruiters face to face. Student ambassadors can usually be found on the school’s website along with their email, so just reach out to them and schedule a phone interview. I liked to pick the student ambassador that had the most in common with me in terms of background and desired function. You will get more useful information out of them that way.

Other people you can reach out to are the presidents of clubs that you want to join. There’s usually an MBA clubs webpage where you can find their contact information. They are usually less familiar with speaking to prospective students, but you can get some great information out of them if you have something in common.

Lastly, there are alums. They are a little less helpful just because they were not in school as recently, but they can speak to the culture of the school, the opportunities you will have, and your job prospects. If you want to speak to alums, I think the best place to start is LinkedIn. See if you’ve already got a 1st or 2nd connection you can reach out to. (On that topic, now is the time to set up your LinkedIn profile or get it your current one up to date!)

Do’s and Don’ts:

Have some thoughtful questions prepared. Some people will talk and talk without a lot of prodding, but others would prefer you to steer the conversation. Try not to ask anything too obvious or that you could have found out on the website. (They hear the same questions A LOT, so the more creative you can be the better.)

Don’t ask for personal help like, “Can you read my resume?” or “What do you think my chances are?” That puts them in an awkward position.

Know when to end the conversation. At a recruiting event, the adcoms have a lot of people to talk to and you will make a better impression if you don’t monopolize their time. For ambassadors and alums, a 15-20 min phone call is usually enough time. Thank them politely and let them off the hook.

– Recruiters, ambassadors, and even alums are all agents of the school — You never know what information they will relay back to the admissions office. Make a good impression! Dress well, speak well, and be prepared with intelligent questions.

Have a short self-summary ready for when you are asked about your background. “I’ve working in sales for five years, but I’d really like to get into marketing.” …etc. If you can work in something about your interest in the school, so much the better! “I’ve heard your school has one of the top marketing programs in the country. Can you tell me a little about it?”

Write down who you spoke to, the event, the date, and some notes on what they said. It will help you when writing your essays and in interviews. Get a business card if you can.

ALWAYS follow up with a thank-you note within 24 hrs. Standard wisdom is to mention the event and something you talked about so they remember who you are. Something like: “Thank you so much for speaking with me at the MBA Fair yesterday. Since I want to focus in international business, it was terrific to hear about your study abroad program. I hope to speak with you again when I visit campus for next month’s information session.”

Girl Meets Bschool is currently walking the corridors of USc Marshall School of business. From what I know, she is super psyched! Thanks girlmeetsbschool for coming to my rescue :).

If you found this post interesting. Don’t forget to leave a thank you note on her blog.