Does an MBA teach me entrepreneurship?

Does an MBA teach me entrepreneurship?

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A question that Maryke Luijendijk-Steenkamp of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, is asked all the time is, “Does the MBA teach me to be an entrepreneur?" [Contributed by Rotterdam School of Management]

I'm asked all the time if an MBA programme can teach entrepreneurship. But I think the question should be, “Does the MBA teach me to be an entrepreneur?”

Entrepreneurship is not just about starting your own business. In today’s global economy, we all need to have an entrepreneurial mindset to survive. Anyone who can grab opportunities, take risks, think innovatively and make things happen can be classed as an entrepreneur.

And, the answer is yes: the MBA definitely teaches you to be an entrepreneur.

One of the key benefits of the MBA is that it provides a platform for you to engage with an extremely diverse pool of people, ensuring that you build up a very substantial network in a short scope of time. For an entrepreneur, having a network that spans across industries and, maybe even more importantly, across geographies is imperative.

The MBA from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), for example, comprises an international intake of more than 95%, putting entrepreneurial candidates in class into contact with a wealth of global connections. This is useful for entrepreneurs looking to expand their international scope.

Another benefit of an international MBA is that it fosters cultural sensitivity. You learn to get your point or pitch  across in a way that is adaptive to the culture with whom you are interacting. We teach that it is not only about what you are saying, it is also about the way in which you say it-a key attribute if you wish to be a successful entrepreneur. This can be a huge aid in securing ties with economies all over the world.

The MBA teaches you to take calculated risks. At RSM we teach tools for risk assessments and evaluations and how to assess risk throughout any process. For entrepreneurs, this is of great value – being an entrepreneur is never risk-free (!) Succeeding in business is all about taking calculated decisions which maximises opportunity whilst trying to minimise risk.

RSM places a great emphasis on sustainability. We want our MBA’s to think about the effect their actions have on themselves and others--today, tomorrow and years into the future. We stimulate you to think about more than just the bottom line, whilst still maintaining the bottom line. Placing entrepreneurial candidates with this mindset and awareness into the global economy will most definitely be beneficial to all.

The influence of disruptive technology in most areas of business has had a major impact on the way we work. In order to stay ahead in your industry, you need to be an entrepreneur in the workplace. This requires adaptability, openness to change and being comfortable with being uncomfortable--all attributes that we foster and teach in the MBA. Through the demanding in-class environment that our average of 38 nationalities bring, all with diverse academic and professional backgrounds, our candidates quickly learn and develop these attributes.

One of the soft skills taught by the MBA is presentation skills--this may sound insipid, but sometimes delivering the most professional presentation might just be a differentiating factor in pushing your ideas or business plans through. The MBA also teaches you to devise and present your business plan. This can be in the traditional sense of the word, i.e. pitching a new business idea, but it also refers to what happens every day at work--pitching an idea or project to both internal and external stakeholders. At RSM, you get the opportunity to present your business cases to faculty and class members. This creates a 'safe' environment in which to hone your skills and amend your plans if and where necessary.

As the business landscape becomes more and more competitive with more and more ideas in need of support and funding, ensuring that you have a solid business plan to pitch is crucial.

One of the most important aspects of the MBA experience is the opportunities you will have outside of the MBA classroom. At RSM, you can be part of the Venture Capital Club and/or the Entrepreneurship Club where you get to engage with alumni and other industry partners, providing you a platform to discuss the latest trends in entrepreneurship and the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship offers a startup campus and entrepreneurship bootcamps.

Through the MBA, you can gain the invaluable attributes you need to become an entrepreneur--be that setting up your own business or carving your way in traditional business.

If you want to find out more about how our MBA can advance your career, come and meet us at the MBA Open Day on Saturday 3 September. We hope to see you there.

Maryke Luijendijk-Steenkamp, Director MBA Marketing & Admissions

On behalf of the MBA Marketing & Admissions Team.

Contributed by: Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

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