Starting a company or joining a startup is the new hot option for business school graduates. According to Curalate founder and CEO Apu Gupta, who has Wharton MBA, that’s reason for startups to beware.
“I’m not one of these people where I’m clear cut I hate MBAs or love MBAs. I think unfortunately there are a lot of MBAs that have herd mentality and they just gravitate to what’s hot,” Gupta says. “I really hate that because it feels to me like you’re just sort of blowing in the wind.”
Gupta says he got a lot out his MBA program, notably financial training, but little about how to build a startup.
“I think the notion that you can go to business school to learn to be an entrepreneur is a misnomer,” he says. “I’ve always found it odd that people go to business school and study entrepreneurism. If you want to study entrepreneurism, you need to go be an entrepreneur.”
There are going to be MBAs who don’t fit that mould, who can be great entrepreneurs, but it takes an extra filter to find them.
“Whenever I get a résumé from a person that is an MBA it does raise my eyebrows and I look a lot more closely, and I’m a lot harder on the candidate,” Gupta says.
Business schools aren’t blind to these problems. That’s why many are giving students resources to try things out for themselves, offering startup accelerators, competitions, and classes where the end result is a company.
When we profiled students at Harvard and Stanford’s business schools, many came into school having already started or even sold a business already. Others are working on startups creating everything from retail analytics software to mobile advertising.
Nevertheless, MBAs have to prove that they aren’t just following the herd.
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