How To Get an MBA in Entrepreneurship : Under30CEO How To Get an MBA in Entrepreneurship : Under30CEO
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How To Get an MBA in Entrepreneurship

| June 23, 2014 | 5 Comments


A few years ago a friend told me he was taking an “Entrepreneurship Class” and I remember raising an eyebrow. How do you take a class to learn how to be a certain type of person? The word entrepreneur is defined as: a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. How do you teach someone to take risks or to work hard?

It’s not that I’m against higher education, although I kind of am, it’s that I’m against the idea that you can try to teach someone to be something they are not. And do you know the one critical piece that’s missing from every “Entrepreneurship Class” in the world? The fact that none of them make you put your own money, blood, sweat, and tears on the line. You can’t do that in a well air-conditioned classroom. You do that in real life.

So if you want to get an MBA in Entrepreneurship, here’s exactly what you need to do:

Start a business.

Right now. I don’t care what it is, what it does, what it sells, who the customer is, etc. Just start a business. Give it a name. Get someone to build you a simple website. Get a logo made. Spend as little money as possible doing those things and do them yourself by figuring out how.

Sell a product or service.

Once you have your business and your website, put a product or service up for sale. Stand behind that thing you’re selling and say it’s effin’ great. The more excited you are about the thing you sell, the better chance you have of succeeding. You should do some marketing too (and I don’t mean starting a Twitter account or Facebook page). Actually put in effort and get creative. Think about ways to put your product in front of people.

Hire someone for a month and then fire them.

You want an entire semester’s worth of education? Go through this process. Hiring people is difficult, but there is almost nothing harder to do as an entrepreneur than letting someone go. It sucks. It will keep you up at night. It will leave a pit in your stomach. It will cause great stress in your life. But you’ll learn from that process and you’ll make tremendous growth as a person and as a business owner.

Put your money where your mouth is.

Whether this means paying for marketing or advertising, invest a good chunk of money into your business. You’ll probably lose that money and not see any direct ROI. This is called life experience. Some guy standing in front of a chalkboard telling you how to write a business plan or balance a budget isn’t going to help you understand what it feels like to make a financial decision that doesn’t pay off. Put real money on the line and learn from the experience that follows.

Pivot (as they say in the biz).

Completely change the direction of your company. You were selling a product, now it’s a subscription service. You probably need to throw away all your previous collateral around your product. That’s going to suck, but it wasn’t working, so why the hell are you holding on to it? You can look at a graph about pivoting on a projection screen in an auditorium, or you can see it happen in real life and understand all the emotions and time that go into it.

Congratulations, you now have an MBA in Entrepreneurship!

Something tells me that entire process will take less than a semester in school, might actually cost less, and will give you a wealth of knowledge and experience you would never learn in a classroom.

And before people get all uppity that entrepreneurship classes teach you the basics of business and the fundamentals of starting your own company, that’s existed for years and it’s called a “Business Class.” An entrepreneurship class, or major, is nothing more than a marketing tactic to recycle a pre-existing syllabus.

If you think I’m trying to sway people from becoming entrepreneurs, I want the exact opposite. I want more people to do exactly what I’ve listed here, save the time and money they’ll give to a large institution, and learn from real life experience. When you get in the actual trenches and do the actual work, you reap incredible benefits.

Now go do these things and then write “MBA in Entrepreneurship” on a piece of paper you can frame and put up on your wall. You deserve it and I’m proud of you.

Tired of living a life that felt prescribed to him by society, Jason SurfrApp (formerly Jason Headsetsdotcom/Jason Sadler) used his out-of-the-box thinking and ingenuity to create multiple profitable Internet-based businesses. Jason generated over $1M in revenue and built the worldwide recognized brand IWearYourShirt. Jason sold his last name (twice) and successfully earned a profit marketing and writing the book Creativity For Sale before a single word was written (or book sold). Jason is an entrepreneur at heart, lives a life of intention, and continues to strive to help other people unleash their inner creativity.
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Category: Entrepreneurship

  • Christine McNutt

    What do you think of the Babson College MBA program? It is touted as an entrepreneurship program.

  • James D


    Your article showed up in my inbox this morning and I felt compelled to say something. Please forgive the hastily constructed response.

    I understand and agree with the general dissatisfaction you express towards higher education; however, suggesting that people should forgo formal education and learn everything through the school of hard knocks is even more unhelpful.

    Lets face it, anything with the word entrepreneur is generally over hyped, including the many articles and blogs that are trying desperately to say something we all haven’t heard before.

    You start out by saying an entrepreneur is a certain type of person and then you use a definition of the term that is anchored by the persons role and not their personality or perspective (seems like a contradiction).

    Here is a link to a definition that takes a stab at defining the core difference in the thinking of an “entrepreneur”.

    It is true that a formal education isn’t necessarily going to cause you to think this way; however, increasing your knowledge and refining your skills can mean the difference between success and failure.

    It seems the entire internet is obsessed with a narrow image of an entrepreneur. One who is immune to failure and gets up every-time they are knocked down. While this is romantic, we don’t all have to fail 15 times before we succeed, we don’t all have to invent something original, we don’t all need to learn everything the hard way. Not all entrepreneurs are hard headed and stubborn and some of us are careful and calculated.

    Your plan to get an MBA in entrepreneurship is potentially setting someone up for a whole lot of unnecessary pain. Assuming the individual in question isn’t a hard head, acquiring knowledge and refining skills before making a foray into entrepreneurship is beneficial (This is also also known as preparation).

    When it comes to formal education it is simply ignorant to combine a generic business program with one focused on entrepreneurship or small business. The majority of MBAs prepare you to fulfill specified roles within larger organizations with a theoretical (not practical) knowledge of other areas of a business. Many of the challenges facing a small business owner receive their own degrees or MBA specializations (HR, Accounting, Management, Project Management, Marketing, etc).

    Off the top of my head, here is small list of important things that should be addressed in an entrepreneurship program that will not be addressed practically in generic MBA.

    * How to do the books for your own small company.
    * How to structure and manage small sales/advertising campaigns and management techniques for a small sales team
    * How raise capital for your business. (venture capital, commercial lending, SBA loans, crowd funding, etc.)
    * Current taxes and state/federal regulations for small business.
    * How to find and hire the correct (talent/experience).
    * HR law and procedures for hiring and firing.
    * Managing partner relationships in a small business.

    I could go on and on, the point is that there is a significant amount of content that isn’t particularly relevant to someone who isn’t looking to own a small business.

    In conclusion, the school of hard knocks isn’t any more original than the generic business class. Failure shouldn’t be a rite of passage in the entrepreneurial community.

  • James

    Hi Jason,

    This article is very relevant to me, so I’d really like to get your perspective on my situation if you wouldn’t mind?

    I’m a 17 year old entrepreneur heading into my last year of school in September. I have an online business that’s doing pretty well at the moment for me, ($4,000/month net & growing)

    I need to start deciding what I’ll do after school and I’m torn between a degree in entrepreneurship & continuing on with my business. I must point out that education is free in my country, so it’s not like it’s gonna cost me $200,000. If that were the case the decision would be a lot easier!

    On one hand, even though I don’t think I’ll learn much from the actual course content, college life could be a learning experience in itself, and it would be a chance to meet like minded people. At the very least, it’s a safety net.

    On the other hand, although I’m doing well now, continuing on with my business is a huge risk, and all it would take is a few factors to change and I could be struggling again. I think I really need to step it up and work overtime if I want it to be truly successful. In the past two months alone I’ve seen emerging competitors and I’m not sure I’d have enough time to deal with them if I went to college.

    The thing that makes the decision most difficult is the fact that I’ve got a great educational aptitude, straight A student without putting much effort in to be honest. I realise that bad students sometimes make the best entrepreneurs but it just all seems to come naturally to me. Some part of me still sees skipping college as a waste of potential I guess.

    I’d rather struggle every day and work for myself than sit at a desk for the next 50 years and retire when I’m too old to enjoy it. For me, the journey itself is the greatest reward, I live for the ups & downs entrepreneurship brings. There’s something amazing about building something greater than yourself, a “machine” that brings value to other while at the same time generating a steady stream of passive income, and that’s what I’m chasing. ;)

    So yeah, I’d just love to get your opinion on what I should do next, it seems like you’ve been down the road. I know this article is specific to an MBA, but what about an undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship, would that be a good foundation?

    If anyone else would like to chip in, that’d be much appreciated too!

    - James

  • James

    Love this!

    “Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”

  • kyunggwilliams

    My Uncle
    Joshua just got an almost new white Kia Rio Hatchback only from working
    part-time off a home computer. try this R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­