How can an MBA help me in expanding my family business? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Bernie Klinder, EMBA, Entrepreneur, Investor, Consultant, on Quora:

I had a few business owners in my MBA program, and have friends without MBAs who own businesses. In my classes and informal discussions with other non-MBA business owners, the knowledge gaps were about the same for both:

  • Accounting and finance classes were eye openers. Many business owners avoid the accounting details and just turn over the reciepts to their accountants and get a monthly summary. They've never broken down costs and determined where they are losing money.
  • Organizational Behavior is a new concept for many business owners: As long as the business is humming along and making money, many businesses owners don't think about culture - it just is what it is. Many of never thought about actively shaping and reinforcing a model culture.
  • Marketing efforts are outdated and ad hoc. The entire field of marketing has changed over the last 10 years. It's much more data and technology driven and the outdated methods in use by many business owners is just wasting money. Getting this right can transform your business.
  • Strategy for many business owners is just looking at what their competitors in the industry are doing and trying to keep up. Case studies from other industries can be a real eye opener, and learning to apply a methodology to strategy can be transformative.

If you're already running a business while pursuing an MBA, the classes will be more relevant to you as you can apply what you've learned almost immediately. You can also ask your professors questions that directly apply to scenarios in your business. There were many times in my MBA class where my classmates eyes lit up in a lecture because they've just discovered they've been doing things wrong, found a way to do something better, or in one case discovered their accountant was ripping them off.

If you can, look for an Executive MBA program where your your cohort is comprised of people with +10 years of business experience. My cohort consisted of business owners, financial officers, CPAs, marketing directors, HR directors, factory managers, and a few doctors. The class discussions and real world examples were invaluable and an experience you won't get with a traditional MBA cohort that is fresh from their undergrad classes with no experience.

If you leverage the MBA program the right way, you should see an immediate benefit and payoff to your own business that will far exceed what you're paying in tuition - even before you graduate. I paid roughly $1,000 per day to attend my MBA program and every day I looked for ways to extract that value of what I was learning and apply it to what I was working on. If you take that approach, your MBA will be much valuable than the degree itself.

Hope this was helpful.

This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions: