The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is often associated with high-flying leaders of the business world, but, in fact, that association no longer represents all who study the MBA. The degree is undoubtedly still a powerful tool for leaders and managers, but it’s also relevant for those who are aspiring leaders, those who are specialists in their field, and finally, business owners and budding entrepreneurs.
Whether you’re conceiving your first startup idea, or you’ve run your own company successfully for quite a while, the MBA provides the knowledge and strategies to support your business journey.
In an environment where around 60% of small businesses close within the first three years, having the right knowledge and skills will often be the difference between success and failure. Here are just a few ways that the AIB MBA helps business owners to start, run and grow their ventures.
A holistic, 360-degree view of business
Running a successful business requires one to be an all-rounder. You need to know how to market your product or service, identify your target market, raise and manage the finances, hire and manage staff, as well as have excellent customer service skills. All that and more, plus the in-depth knowledge and skills on the product or service that you’ll offer.
Entrepreneurs often have the initial great idea, and usually, some technical acumen to go with it. They may not, however, have the skills and knowledge to build a successful business from that idea. That’s where an MBA is so valuable.
An MBA will give you a holistic overview of what’s involved in running a business, from learning how each business function works to teaching you about the wider industry in which your business operates. When studying the AIB MBA, all students will develop their leadership skills, grow their understanding of operations practices, and they’ll learn about marketing, finance and human resources.
A business plan and strategies for growth
At AIB, the MBA in Entrepreneurial Management is designed specifically for business owners, entrepreneurs, or those with ambitions to run their own business. It covers topics including new venture creation, international business and franchising, so you’ll learn how to conceptualise, develop, grow, manage and commercialise ideas through business creation.
It teaches how to foster an innovative work environment, and importantly, it will assist you in developing a comprehensive plan to set your business up for lasting success. If you already have a business plan, the MBA will help you to validate it or highlight some areas for improvement.
The specialised MBA will also help you understand the key growth phases of a business so that you can decide whether to scale, how to obtain financing and other growth strategies. Knowing when to scale and how to do it properly is one of the trickiest decisions a new business owner will make. Too fast, and you risk finding yourself with too many balls in the air to juggle safely. Too slow, and you might find that someone else corners the market before you do.
Not every business is suited to fast growth, so it’s important that you understand your business and what strategy works for you. Once you’ve worked out what sort of growth you want to pursue, you can develop a plan to finance the business and fuel that growth. Venture capital may be in your sights, or you might prefer to stick with self-financing. There is a range of options, so understanding the pros and cons of each is a must.
View the AIB MBA Subject Guide to learn more about the subjects studied and outcomes achieved.
The opportunity to tap into a diverse network
Throughout the MBA, students have the opportunity to interact with a highly diverse range of people from different career backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and locations. There are very few situations where you could tap into such a diverse group and instantly have common ground. This benefit alone is a goldmine for business owners and budding entrepreneurs. In your fellow students, you’ll find collaborators, advisors, advocates and genuine supporters. Mutual sharing of ideas, problems and solutions is a real benefit to every business owner, and the MBA opens doors to allow you to do just that. Also, any one of your MBA peers could be a future investor, customer, business partner or employee!
To make the most of the school’s network, it’s important that you actively engage in networking activities. For AIB students, we recommend joining and engaging in the school’s student and graduate online communities, forming study groups and organising in-person or online meetups with fellow students.
The soft skills and mindset for business success
As we now know, the MBA experience provides students with a goldmine of knowledge to help them in their business journeys. On top of this, the degree helps with the development of soft skills, emotional intelligence and the entrepreneurial mindset that will support business success.
Learn about the 4 Underrated Traits That Boost Your Entrepreneurial IQ
The list of powerful soft skills that are refined through the experience of studying an MBA are endless: From communication and problem-solving skills to self-discipline, time management and many more. Even if those are skills you already have, the sheer commitment required to succeed in the MBA and work while studying, as many students do, will mean that by the time you graduate, they’ll be strengthened and honed.
Perhaps one of the most impactful outcomes of the MBA for business owners is the boost in confidence they experience. Self-belief is so important for entrepreneurs! Confidence builds as students’ progress through their subjects, they apply what they’re learning to their work, and they find validation in their own abilities and ideas. You’ll carry this increased confidence with you on your business journey, and it will power your determination, your belief in your business idea and what it offers, and your belief that you’re the right person to make it all happen.
For Mr Ted Cofie, AIB MBA Graduate and Founder and CEO at Nyaco Management, the MBA helped him pursue his entrepreneurial dreams thanks to increased confidence. He had always known that he wanted to start his own company, but there were parts of a company that he did not yet understand. “The MBA gave me confidence to go ahead and start it. It covered so many facets of a business that I’m now confident in implementing the ideas in my own business,” he said.
Business owners will benefit from each of the MBA outcomes we’ve discussed in this article, even if they've run their own successful business for decades! For those who aspire to own their own company one day, they will find the MBA to be an immensely valuable tool to make their idea a reality. In a competitive market, it may even be essential.