Hatin’ on MBAs

A recent article in Fortune talked about Wharton, Harvard and other elite b-school ramping up their entrepreneurship programs. I have nothing against MBAs and am a Wharton guy myself (undergrad so I can still talk shit), but this IMO is one of those signs of things getting overheated in startup land.

Startups are becoming another career path or vocation as I talked about yesterday – raise funding, take a decent salary, get a call option on some upside and ultimately all for pretty low risk. These environments bring out the opportunistic. The real estate bubble saw a similar phenomena where everyone jumped in cuz it was easy money.  From the article on Fortune:

“Entrepreneurship is entering the mainstream in the economy and therefore it’s starting to enter the mainstream in the business schools,” Zoller says. “You’re starting to see people increasingly seeking out high-growth venturing as a pathway for their professional success.”

There is no pathway in entrepreneurship as far as I can tell. Or a very jagged zig zaggy one.

The Hacker News thread on this article was as you might expect is full of MBA haterade but if you sift through the vitriol, some points have some truth:

From what I’ve read, towards the very end of the last crash – a measurable number of “ivy” league school MBA’s were leaving their mgmt consulting, investment banking offers to pursue startups. I believe when the most risk adverse, conformist, security of self focused individuals (which tend to seek MBAs) pursue startups – it is an indicator of the peak.

During the first dot com boom, this was the case. Lots of bankers and consultants left to join a startup and the rate at which they joined accelerated as times got sillier. Some started things up but more joined mid- and late-stage startups.

I’m not sure this is all bad. While many of the MBAs who get into startup’ville are trend-chasing, some will be bitten by the bug and start new really substantial companies.

I do think more and more that we’re headed for a bad place.  I don’t know when it will hit but just too many little signs suggesting it.  More on that as I hash out my thoughts.


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  1. Pingback: Startup Career Advice for 1/5/15 | Startup Jobs and Career Advice from Startup Leaders

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