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Is An MBA A Good Investment If You Are Already Running A Small Business?

June 2, 2017 2:36 pm0 commentsViews: 62

If you already own a small business, you may have been considering whether or not pursuing an MBA will help you do better in the long term. You are not alone and, in fact, there has been a debate over this subject since the MBA was first introduced. The issue really comes down to one question: will the MBA provide you an advantage and offer you more insight than you already have by starting and owning a small business? The answer is not one that is going to be the same for everyone. There are definite advantages to getting your MBA but your experiences with your small business will determine whether or not the MBA path is right for you.

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Anti- MBA Viewpoint

Those who believe that an MBA is a waste of time for small business owners have some very compelling arguments on the subject but not all of the arguments make sense in all cases. There is a one sided view of and MBA for entrepreneurs that says the structure of the MBA will cause the student to subdue their creativity. MBA’s are very structured and they encourage this but the programs have changed a lot over the years and in most programs creativity is highly encouraged. That being said, you will need to find the right program for what you are looking for and make sure that creativity is merged with the MBA structure.

One strong argument that emerges from this idea is that the MBA framework is focused on what one would call a normal business. Unfortunately, most businesses do not fall into this category and many things can happen along the way that are abnormal. The case studies and theories that are examined are typically generic and as someone who already owns a small business, it can be difficult to limit yourself to these ideas. That does not mean they will not benefit you in some way. You can take these theories and ideas and merge them into something that will work for you.

Another argument that comes from the anti-MBA crowd is that that in an MBA program, the business is seen as something that you can manipulate and control in any way that you see fit. This is a negative thing because in reality, you cannot do this in all circumstances. Yes, you can change things in the business model but that does not mean that it will perform the way that you assume it will. In business, nothing is guaranteed and you cannot assume anything or really control anything. With successful businesses, in most cases, you change as you go along and they are not perfect in the beginning. It is not a lifeless object as many MBA programs portray it to be. It is very full of life and usually takes on a life that is entirely all its own. You cannot control it no matter how hard you try. Because of this very important difference, some MBA programs miss the mark and the things that are taught in the classes do not lead to successful small businesses. This is one of the strongest arguments an MBA but, again, it really comes down to the way the program is taught and not all of them are taught with these ideas in mind. In fact, you can find some MBA programs that teach the subjects in a way that is beneficial to MBA students.

Pro-MBA Viewpoint

Just like there are many people who are against an MBA education, there are just as many, if not more, that believe that it will do wonders for small business owners. There are many legitimate reasons to get an MBA and there are many people who will tell you that it changed the way they ran their business and made it even better over time. One of the biggest benefits to having your MBA is that it will give you something to fall back on in the case that your small business does not succeed. Even the best of ideas will not work for the long term and if you have an MBA, you are more likely to find a well-paying position with great benefits to get back on your feet. However, this kind of life is not right for everyone and being an entrepreneur is the most important aspect for some people. If this is your mindset, then the value of an MBA is not in what it can get you if you fail. It is where it can take you.

So, what is the benefit for someone as an entrepreneur? Depending on how long you have been a small business owner, you may find that the classes that are offered in the program will focus on things you have already learned by starting your own business. However, there are parts of the curriculum that are helpful and some subjects are best learned in the classroom. These courses, such as finance and accounting, can help you further your business and are a good thing to consider if you are not strong in those areas with your current business. Over the long term, this is something that you will need to master for your business to be successful and grow. If it is something you lack, then an MBA would be a good option for you.

The last argument for an MBA would be the social aspect of the degree. It will make your network more extensive and you do not know who you will meet. You may meet someone throughout the course of the program that will bring your business to the next level and allow you to do even more with your company. Having an extensive network of individuals is always a good thing because you never know how they will influence you and your business. Knowing people that have your same mindset is also beneficial because if you are having a business issue, you can go to them for advice. It is always better to have more people in your corner and an MBA can provide that for you.

Making the Decision For Yourself

While an MBA may not be the best choice for everyone, it can be a good choice for you. You will need to decide if it will be worth it based on your specific circumstances, though. Not everyone is cut out for the schooling aspect and you may not need to learn more. However, if you are just starting out with your business, then it may be a good idea so you can learn things before you are forced to do it the hard way. In the end, it is a personal choice and you will need to make the decision for yourself. You can talk to different schools to see what their specific program is like and that is encouraged prior to enrolling. However, before making a big decision such as this, you will need to sit down and weigh the pros and cons to ensure it will be the right decision. Also, you have the choice to delay a decision because choosing to pursue and MBA does not have to happen right now but starting the consideration process is a great way to start.