By Sanay Patel, MBA-social.com contributor
As an ambitious MBA student, there is probably some part of you that wants to start your own company. Have you considered that there is no better time in your life to do that than in business school?
I started a business right after business school and I love it. But I’m nearing three years without a paycheck, and I constantly kick myself for not getting started the moment I stepped on campus.
If you need some more reasons, look no further:
Resources, resources, resources. The combination of your peers and professors makes up a once-in-a-lifetime pool of resources. Your classmates will always be more than happy to bounce ideas back and forth and help you develop your business model. Most of your professors, who often charge egregious amounts of money to consult to companies, will be excited to work with you for free (let’s ignore the cost of tuition for now) to develop your sales strategy, marketing plan, revenue model, financial projections; they’ll even put you in touch with investors. These are all services that you would pay tons of money for in the real world, so put your tuition dollars to work and take advantage while you can.
Time is on your side. There is, of course, a lot going on during business school. With all the classes, group meetings, clubs, and socializing, time to work on an idea can be short. But in reality, you can make a lot of free time for yourself if you actively want to. I probably took a nap 4-5 times a week, went out to dinner/drinks 3-4 times a week, and watched almost as much TV as when I was 10 years old. Don’t make the same mistake I did – use this free time to work on your business.
If you don’t do it now, you probably never will. As you graduate from business school and pursue a lucrative career, the opportunity cost and risk of leaving your job to start a company increases significantly. When you’re 35-40 years old, making over $250,000 per year, have two kids and a mortgage, you’re probably not going to jump ship from your job and start a business. It’s just too risky at that point. So do it during business school, when you’re not making money anyway.
There really is no risk. If by the time you graduate, your idea has either been squashed or you simply haven’t been able to raise capital, then at least you know you gave it your best shot and learned a ton about starting a business along the way. So what then? Get a job. You have an MBA, you now have a marketable set of skills, and you will find a job. Realistically, there is no downside to giving it a shot during business school.
Create your own job. The recruiting process is miserable. Yes, I said it. Countless cocktail receptions, company presentations, and interview prep all to get a job that, based on what my peers are telling me, most people don’t like. So start your own business, and if it’s good enough to get some funding, you’ve got yourself a job by the time you graduate – a job where you are the boss and control your own destiny.
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Sanay Patel is a 2010 alumnus of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. He is currently starting a sporting goods business (www.position-tech.com), is obsessed with watching college football, and counts HGTV’s “House Hunters” as one of his favourite television shows.
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