Anyone with an MBA has studied accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations and more. While you'd think these people--experts in all things business--would make ideal startup founders, it's not necessarily true. That's according to serial entrepreneur Jeb Ory, cofounder and CEO of Phone2Action, a cloud platform which supplies social advocacy and civic engagement tools that connect constituents with their elected officials. He's qualified to tout such a contentious opinion--he has an MBA from Chicago Booth and an undergraduate degree from Stanford where he heard lectures from successful entrepreneurs who made him think he could do what they were doing. And while he credits his education for helping him today, he saw many of his classmates give up before succeeding as entrepreneurs--a temptation he also faced many times along the way. Here are his words about why MBAs don't make great founders.
1. MBAs are generally risk-averse.
Getting an MBA is calculated decision to use school as a platform to leave one industry and enter another. Starting a company requires a risky jump that many MBAs are ill-equipped to make.
2. Many MBAs view sales in a negative light.
Selling is one of the most important activities an entrepreneur does every day. It means selling products or services to customers, the company's vision to recruits and the company's equity to potential investors.
3. The MBA curriculum isn't focused on entrepreneurial endeavors.
Most business schools focus on a core curriculum of finance, accounting and operations. Relatively few offer classes on building startups, entrepreneurial selling and fundraising negotiations. And for those that do, the MBA students tend to think they are always the exception to the rule, and won't encounter the challenges inherent in starting a company until it's too late.
4. Most MBAs average $120,000 of debt when they graduate.
It's hard enough to invest in a business while foregoing a salary. Having a $2,000 or $3,000 a month loan payment on top of it makes doing so even more difficult.