Monday, December 8, 2008

MBA: Do You Really Need It to Start and Succeed in Business?

Of course, the obvious answer is a very big NO. Care to know what Prof. Danny Antonio has to say about MBAs and your chances of succeeding in business? Read on.

Danny Antonio, a professor at the Asian Center for Entrepreneurship was on Start Up last time (November 20, 2008) to answer some “startup” questions sent by viewers. He was asked by the following question:

Do I need to have an MBA or a business to become a good entrepreneur? I don’t have a business background but I have a lot of business ideas and I have money for capital. – Eugene

(START OF THE INTERVIEW)

DANNY: Not really. MBA, having some business background would help but it’s not essential at all. A lot of the biggest and most successful entrepreneurs, they don’t have a business degree. But what they have is, number one, commitment to really achieve something and the drive to do, and maybe some idea of the type of product that they wanna enter into.

So if they, if this particular person has some ideas, what he needs to do is maybe, get some help from friends, relatives, who are into business, just to bounce the idea around. If he has good idea, ok.

There are also a lot of institutions already, giving advice and consulting help for startup business like this. For instance, the Asian Center of Entrepreneurship, we have that particular program for people who want to get started correctly. We don’t want them to waste their money.

BAM: So (you) won’t have to take up an MBA sa ACE, or can actually ask for help and you can help them out?

DANNY: No. We have short programs that will, you know, in other words, they enter with their idea and we sort of advice them what else they have to look at, what kind of market study they still have to do, is there a market for the product they’re thinking about, can it be produced at a profitable rate? So we help them through tinkering with the various items necessary for the business to succeed.

BAM: So (you) don’t need to have the MBA to start, but I guess you would need it eventually or the skills eventually to grow your business.

DANNY: At a certain size you might need help with the people who have that background already but if you’re starting, it’s not really essential at all. What’s needed here is hard work, commitment, drive to succeed and (an) open-mind to accept advice, criticism and everything. Do not take things personally because this is just business. just open you mind, ok na ‘yan.

(END OF THE INTERVIEW)

What I learned from the interview…

1. Having an MBA or business background would help but not essential.
True. An MBA is not a requirement, what one needs in order to succeed are, like what Prof. Danny said: “number one, commitment to really achieve something and the drive to do, and maybe some idea of the type of product that they wanna enter into…hard work, commitment, drive to succeed and (an) open-mind to accept advice, criticism and everything.”

For me, you will also need a certain amount of self-confidence, a certain level of maturity, self-discipline, emotional stability (“above average” EQ?), financial intelligence, and of course, that little magic word everyone wants to have – luck.

2. Consider asking help from friends and relatives to test your business idea(s).
Your friends and family can help you start. When you’re just starting out and you still can’t afford to hire people, you can ask your “significant others” to help out. Prof. Danny said: “get some help from friends, relatives, who are into business, just to bounce the idea around.”

I was able to read one article on the Web that said something like: entrepreneurship can be a lonely path, and your “significant others” may not always understand what you’re trying to get into. Yes, sad but true, but fortunately, here in the Philippines (in general) we still value our pamilya.

3. Ask help also from established entrepreneurs, or enroll in special programs that can help you get started in business.
Yes. Filipinos need heroes; we need people to guide us. In fact, I got interested in business/money because of a former workmate who’s a management graduate. If you don’t know anyone, you can get business info from books, magazines, television shows, the web, etc. But it’s never a good idea to learn in a vacuum.

Prof. Danny said: “there are also a lot of institutions already, giving advice and consulting help for startup business…for instance, the Asian Center of Entrepreneurship, we have that particular program for people who want to get started correctly…we have short programs that will, you know, in other words, they enter with their idea and we sort of advice them…so we help them through tinkering with the various items necessary for the business to succeed.”

4. You may eventually need to hire (or buy?) the skills and experiences of some individuals when your business gets too large for you to handle.
As your business grows, it will eventually get more and more complicated. You will eventually need to hire individuals who have the skills and experience to help you run your business. :-)

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