Re: [newtech-1] MBA - is it worth the effort for entrepreneurship?

From: Avi D.
Sent on: Sunday, September 7, 2008 8:24 AM
Absolutely. My initial comment came with full disclosure. Obviously, if I thought it was a waste, I would not have done it.

Formal training: finance, marketing, strategy, etc. etc.

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Avi Deitcher
Atomic Inc.
[address removed]


On Sat, Sep 6, 2008 at 11:57 PM, Daniel Honig <[address removed]> wrote:
Yeah but do you think the fact you have an MBA is part of your viewpoint?
And I realize that your not saying the MBA is the point.  What formal training do you speak of?
On Sep 6, 2008, at 8:46 PM, Avi Deitcher wrote:

I will second Paul's comments. For a while, I worked in IT, and used to decide how to make investments in vendors. I was never afraid of small companies or big ones. Imagine in 2004, you are thinking of spending half a million, a million, or more, on a company, say, e.g., Sun. Sun was getting hammered back then, it had really lost one of its major markets (financials) to commodity x86 hardware and Linux, and it wasn't clear how long it was going to be around. Not one of my managers - in a financial firm - knew how to read Sun's financials, perform the analyses, look at the markets, and determine whether they were viable financially or in the product development market. I did - and grilled some of their folks on it, as well as competitors - because I had that training.

I know some great people who can do each of these independently without formal training. I also know of a few cases of the super-rich who succeeded without training. These are the outliers, the one-in-a-million. Good, solid training, combined with natural talent and solid experience, is always better.

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Avi Deitcher
Atomic Inc.
[address removed]


On Sat, Sep 6, 2008 at 1:20 PM, Paul DiBlasi <[address removed]> wrote:
I got my MBA in my mid-thirties and it was the best thing I ever did. A couple of my observations:

  • You start using the skills you learn in the classroom immediately not when you finally graduate. I immediately became a more astute business person with a broader view.
  • It's astounding how many senior managers have limited quantitative skills. Few know how to do a cash flow analysis or a basic regression model for forecasting. Although my degree MBA was in marketing my basic quantitative skills set me apart from most in the company. 
  • In my experience, most firms driven by technologists struggle. They develop features and products based on their own interest or intuition rather than market demand. They have difficulty conveying how their product helps a prospect and why it's better than the other options. They don't know how to create a profitable business model. An MBA will help a technologist over these humps. The guy with the best widget doesn't always win. 

On Sat, Sep 6, 2008 at 10:40 AM, Ben Rosenthal <[address removed]> wrote:
For me the process was a little different, I think.  I didn't start the MBA with any clear goals and I didn't know how exactly how the degree would help.

When I graduated college the business environment was a bit rough and I had a hard time finding a job, so I took one that I didn't really want to do. After two months I was miserable there so I quit and started an IT consulting firm with a friend who I had known for years.  Over the year and a half that followed we transitioned into product development, but we weren't experiencing the kind of success that we were hoping for.  Frankly it was because we lacked the business experience to effectively push the company forwards.

It was at that point that I got a job with a dot-com that was just coming out of the startup phase and maturing a bit. Unfortunately for me, the company didn't want to pay for my MBA, and I really had no interest in paying $1400/credit at Stern.  At 24 years old I was really afraid of taking on that amount of debt.  So instead I'm doing my MBA at Baruch College for $400/credit and getting a first rate education anyway.

Would it have been worth an extra ~$60,000 to go to Stern and build a network of contacts there?  Maybe.  Is that a requirement for success?  No.

As to knowing exactly what I want to do -- it wasn't until a couple of months ago that I realized that I'm happiest working in a startup, but the MBA has been a great experience anyway.  I disagree with the idea that you must know why you're in school in order to benefit from it.  The MBA is, in some ways, like getting a liberal arts degree.  You're taught how to think about complex problems.


Ben



On Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 9:01 PM, soulsonic <[address removed]> wrote:
thanks to everyone for this great insight.
in case you are wondering, i am 34, have been in web/software development for over 10 years, and entertaining ideas about what to do next. i don't mind investing years into self development, but i don't want to waste time either, so feedback from you guys is invaluable. from what i've gathered, it seems like MBA is best suited for individuals that have clear goals, and know exactly how the degree will help them. vs adding one more thing to ones resume, and getting a more rounded general business education that may or may not be of help in the future ( which is more of where i am coming from )....

and yeah, this whole Gates quitting college is as often misused and beaten to death as Edison making 1,000,000 mistakes before inventing the ligh bulb :)




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