Basically we created a small company a few years ago, and part of our venture is that we created this software which is really easy to use, but it currently exists only in our local language. There is a big market for this internationally, but there are a lot of competing products as well. I want to take this software, internationalize it and launch it very ambitiously to the global market. However, this will be my own venture (backed somehow by the main company, the extent is to be decided).
I've been thinking about getting a graduate degree in business (MBA) for a while, and it seems like a good idea to get the degree first, then do this venture afterwards. However, just launching the damn thing and working on it for a year might teach me just as much?
Edit: Everyone, you seem rather unified in your opinion to just launch, instead of getting the degree first. Thanks a lot for your feedback on this.
@Kevin, I'm 30 and single, and I guess I have few commitments to consider. So I guess that favors the launch option.
@Julie, The MBA course is only 12 months. There is already a bunch of competitors, I don't think the competition will change radically within 12 months. Part time is a great idea, thanks!
@Bruce, thanks for the book recommendation. I've ordered it, should be a good read either way I choose.
@marcamillion, thanks for your insight. Part-time seems a good option. Marketing will not be troublesome for me, I quite enjoy it. Finance and accounting is a bit worse, I don't like the number crunching. As several of you said, I might have to team up with some econ resources.
@Derek, Thanks for the book advice, have already ordered the purple cow one!
@Richard, thanks for your perspective. I think business relationships will be one of the benefits of an MBA, just by the networking potential of the people you go to school with, people at the business related events you do etc. And the framework should definitely help as well.
Launch. Almost no one I know who has built a successful company has an MBA, so clearly it's not required. If you have a product and some customers, that's enough.
As a graduating MBA student, I can't wait to finish to work on my idea/product that has been cooking in my mind for the last few months. However, I have been wanting to start a company since I was a wee toddler. For whatever reason, I ended up in grad school and the truth is I have learned a lot and am glad that I did it.
Yes, the majority of the things you learn are for larger companies. But I would recommend that since you have a technical background and IT undergrad, do an MBA with a concentration in finance. Understanding the financial statements of a company, is like understanding the anatomy of the body. If you don't understand how money works, what investors/employees/partners are looking for, it can create more headache than is necessary.
Yes, you will probably have to do courses you don't want to do - namely some marketing courses, or sales, etc. - But you never know when these things can help you.
The worst thing you could do though, is entering the MBA program just to get the initials. Make sure you actually learn and apply it to your situation. If you can do both the startup and the MBA program at the same time - that is most ideal. You might have to delay some stuff with the product - because your projects/homework might be killing you in the MBA program - but when you can relate what you are studying with what is happening in your company it makes the lessons that more effective.
A good friend just completed her MBA - while working full time. Launch the company and if you really thing an MBA is important, look at P/T study opportunities.
The real question is this: how long will it take to complete an MBA and what do you think the market opportunity will be if you wait a year or two?
Just Do It. MBA = "Master of Bugger All" ("Bugger all" is an English phrase meaning "nothing").
It's good to have some business skills, but the best thing would to focus on the product itself and get help from some reliable people who know the business side much better than you. How is the strategic planning of large company going to help if one does not get the actual product to the market first?
Do what you know best and ask other people to do what they know best. Don't try to do everything alone if you feel you have not enough of time for it.
Also, you might find some interesting opinions from 37signals' book Getting Real.
Launch - I went the MBA route and whilst interesting, I couldn't shake the urge to do something from scratch.
And then also read or listen to business and marketing books. Search Amazon, Audible, iTunes, read the reviews. Buy. Read or Listen.
A few examples:
Why would you get an MBA? You might hire some to work for you, but I don't see how it is going to help you "go global".
My business partner has an MBA from a respected school, and she said that it wasn't really worth it.
I agree with everyone here, and say just launch! If it works well, you won't need the MBA, and if it doesn't, you will have gained a lot of experience which will make your education more worthwhile (it's always better to have previous experience when getting an MBA)
If I make another suggestion, if you want to translate your software, use:
http://www.onehourtranslation.com They are the best translation service around, both in translation speed and cost (at least for human translation, but if you are planning on using Google translate, you might as well get an MBA, since the product won't work )
I started a business while doing the MBA. Got to pick a lot of smart brains. Also got to go deeper on books as I was trying to actually solve real problems not shallow ones from Homework or assignments. I was a techie, so for me the MBA opened up a whole new world.