The Tribulations and Elations of MBA Entrepreneurship

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Move Guides founder and London Business School student Brynne Kennedy Herbert shares her journey of entrepreneurship while pursuing an MBA

An ecosystem where Business Schools, entrepreneurs and students at other schools can share an participate in ideas

There have been many discussions spiraling through the blogosphere about MBA entrepreneurship.  After reading numerous such articles, I have decided to write a weekly blog on the topic.  As someone who is actually as we speak going through the tribulations and elations of starting a business, I believe I will have many interesting tidbits to contribute to the dialog.

One of the most recent discussions on BusinessBecause and DelhiPlanet, put forth an idea to create an online platform for MBA students to share and discuss ideas (read here).  The idea, put forth to the GMAC MET Fund Ideas to Innovation Challenge, suggests that such a virtual network would lead to greater global connections and entrepreneurship opportunities across schools. I see great merit in such an idea.  However, I suggest that its benefit may be greater if spread across diverse professional schools. While MBA schools have made admirable strides at diversity (my MBA class at London Business School includes an Olympic athlete, event planner and former fighter pilot to name a few), they still largely attract and cultivate strategic skill sets. While one cannot dispute the value of consulting frameworks in business decisions (my husband is a consultant and constantly astounds me with his problem solving skills), it is important to realize that, in most cases, starting a business today requires creative and technical abilities not typically found at business schools.

It is inexplicably difficult to start a business during an MBA, and even when one has a good idea and the gumption to pursue it, he or she needs a team with complimentary skill sets to execute it.  In the case of my business, MOVE Guides, this has meant a team of programmers, graphic designers and writers.  Unfortunately, one does not often find the best in these areas in business school and I have found surprisingly little to help MBA entrepreneurs access the best at other professional schools.  Professor Jeff Skinner has begun trying to bridge this gap at LBS with “Ideapreneurship”, a start-up incubation programme between LBS, the School of Communication Arts 2.0 and the computer science department at Queen Mary University. While spirit of the program is admirable, it seems unnecessarily structured and does not yet offer a central platform to pair skill sets and build teams.  I do hope that as the program evolves, it will grow to fill this gap.

Entrepreneurship requires determination and vision.  It also requires immense personal belief (in my class section of 80 people, I am the only one to raise her hand pursuing a career in entrepreneurship) and challenging organizational logistics that no one tells you about. Through a string of invaluable referrals, I have formed a fantastic tech partnership with York-based Snapshot Media and hired a talented group of UCL computer science grad students as interns.  But it has been difficult.  I have spent hours building a relationship with this team, forfeited a large deposit along the way and held meetings everywhere from McDonalds to the University of York.

In an era where nearly every startup idea involves mobile apps and web algorithms, MBA programmes do not provide nearly enough support to students in need of partners. Just this week, I had three separate discussions with classmates at a loss how to find a developer to execute their mobile app ideas.  Many of them are looking, not only for contracted development, but partnerships. A recent article in The Telegraph, “Why Aren’t We Teaching our Kids to Code”, discussed the troubling lack of programming skills in British young people. The difficulty finding programmers is equally profound on MBA campuses.

I believe that a virtual platform across MBA programmes and other professional schools (computer science, graphic design, fashion design, journalism) would be invaluable. The UK is in desperate need of innovation and growth.  This platform would go a long way to helping the brightest minds connect and drive growth.

Brynne Kennedy Herbert is the Founder and CEO of MOVE Guides, an integrated media platform for global relocation. To find out more, visit www.moveguidesonline.com and follow us on Twitter at @moveguides

2 COMMENTS

  1. Congrats !! Nice Article..It requires lot of courage and determination to come to this decision…Wish you all the best and good luck. Keep blogging..!!

    MBA

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