Edited by Laura Morrison, April 2014
There's no single, definitive path to becoming a successful entrepreneur. While some people choose to abandon their studies once they think they have a winning idea, others take advantage of the training colleges and universities have to offer.
In graduate school, for instance, you can work toward earning a Master of Business Administration or an advanced degree focused on entrepreneurship. Such credentials cannot guarantee success, but by using the knowledge and skills you acquire, your venture may stand a better chance in the always-competitive business sector.
If you possess the entrepreneurial spirit, you may be interested to learn the results of the Graduate Management Admission Council's recently released 2014 Alumni Perspectives Survey. In a press release, the GMAC highlighted key findings related to past business school students' level of interest in entrepreneurship[i].
To learn how business school alumni feel about entrepreneurship, the GMAC conducted a worldwide survey of almost 21,000 individuals who graduated from 132 institutions between 1959 and 2013.
Based on survey responses, older generations were more likely to be entrepreneurs than recent graduates. Overall, 5 percent of those who completed their business school studies between 2010 and 2013 are now self-employed, compared to 23 percent of individuals who graduated before 1990.
"While entrepreneurship is a hot topic and is a very popular course of study at today's business schools, these findings suggest that business schools have always prepared students to launch and manage their own businesses," said Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC's president and CEO, in a statement. "Even if alumni don't become entrepreneurs at graduation - something more common with today's graduates - their business education provides the career flexibility and the skills that help them start businesses years later."
The survey also revealed what fields entrepreneurs tend to work in more than others. Overall, 14 percent of alumni entrepreneurs are in the technology sector. Meanwhile, 31 percent of self-employed alumni's work focuses on consulting, while an additional 31 percent are in the field of products and services.
In addition to the knowledge and skills you acquire while enrolled in graduate programs, it may help for you to possess a few key traits if you're to make it as an entrepreneur[ii]. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, successful entrepreneurs are often creative, independent, and persuasive and feel comfortable taking risks.
If you're missing any of those traits, and want to become an entrepreneur, perhaps graduate school could help you develop some of the qualities you desire.
[i] newscenter.gmac.com/press-releases/business-schools-open-door-to-entrepreneurship-yea-1097153 [ii] sba.gov/content/entrepreneurship-you