Why an MBA could be the right step for small business owners

Here, we look at the value an MBA can bring to your business management skills.

Many small business owners have used their entrepreneurial spirit and previous work experience to build up a successful business from scratch, without the need for any formal qualifications. Others consider a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to be the best grounding available when it comes to increasing the chances of running a long-term business.

An MBA might seem pointless to those already running a business, but this doesn’t mean it should be dismissed as an excellent learning tool for entrepreneurs.

Why go back to school?

If you’ve been running a business for a number of years you might not think there’s any reason to return to the classroom. However, one of the main factors involved in running a long-term business is evolving with the market, staying current and maintaining relevance. An outdated business has little chance of survival, especially with the level of intense competition from emerging businesses on a global scale. Today’s educational institutions understand the importance of providing up-to-date, relevant guidance. This is often achieved with the inclusion of professionals from a range of industry backgrounds, who can pass on knowledge that will help small businesses to grow and stay ahead of competitors over the long term.

A well-rounded education

One of the major benefits of an MBA is the chance to develop as a professional and learn new business skills. If you’re lacking expertise in subjects like financial planning or accounting then this will usually be included as part of the syllabus. Alternatively, you may find it advantageous to learn about the marketing and sales side of a business, with the intention of expanding on a global scale. There are over 120,000 business schools throughout the world, which means that students can easily find a course tailored to their specific strengths, and more importantly, to their weaknesses.

Invaluable networking opportunities

Creating valuable connections with other entrepreneurs is one of the best ways to learn and spark innovative ideas. This is another advantage of an MBA; you will be part of a learning environment filled with like-minded people, from a wide range of disciplines. There are plenty of cases of students from the same course who have gone on to collaborate and create new businesses together. The experiences that students, whether already running a company or not, can bring is an invaluable part of studying for this type of degree and can lead to some excellent networking contacts, both present and future.

You only need to do a little bit of research on the many different MBA courses in the UK to see the variety of practical and theoretical business applications available; there are a wide range of postgraduate courses to choose from. Many of the degree programmes can be completed online or on a part-time basis to suit a busy time schedules, and funding may be available through educational institutions, even for those already operating a business.

Ben Lobel

Delphine Hintz

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Business management

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