I have just written a long response on someone else's blog about the value of an MBA so I thought I'd share the story of how I got mine almost by accident.
Yes I know, it's difficult to believe.
To get an MBA you have to enrol at a business school, hand over a small fortune in crisp £20 notes and then work all the hours in the day to do the course work, revise and pass the exams.
I am a chartered accountant by training and we have to do mandatory continued professional development but I am a business development coach and consultant so all that boring stuff about accounting standards and tax updates wasn't relevant.
I resented paying £500 a time to go on a day's course where I learnt little just to keep to the ICAEW rules. Even worse when it cost me another £100 to go to London on the train.
I also ran into a little bit of competitive pressure from MBAs in the West Midlands so I contacted a few Business Schools and asked if I could do an individual module as CPD.
It cost a bit more but there was structure to the courses and I believed I was really gaining from it.
I chose Strategic Management to start with from the Manchester Business School. I offer strategic planning services and I didn't want to be seen at a competitive disadvantage to those know-it-all MBAs.
The course was great and it forced me to focus on areas that I had avoided. Business strategy (out-thinking and out-manoeuvring competitors) is what excites me.
So I did another module and then another.
It got to the stage that when I rang up to book the next module I was asked to call the boss.
I did and I was nicely persuaded to sign up for the formal MBA course. There wasn't that much extra I had to do to earn those special letters - MBA. Then meant something to me then and they still do now.
By agreeing to study for the MBA course I was still filling my ICAEW professional obligations for continued professional development and I was hit with the impending even close.
"Paul if you sign up now the price is £xxxx but if you leave it to the next semester it will cost you £x,xxx extra and you will have to do another module that your accountancy qualification exempts you from".
Decision made and that's the story of how I received my MBA (with distinction by the way) from the Manchester Business School, one of the best Business Schools in the UK.
It has certainly made me more aware of management issues and helped synthesise the different skills I need to help businesses to grow and prosper.
I believe that I benefit from my MBA and I am certain that my clients do although they also receive the benefit of over 20 years business experience and over 12 years of running my own business.
An MBA For Entrepreneurs?
But I don't believe that an MBA is essential for an entrepreneur.
Instead I would look for a clear vision, a great idea with genuine profitable marketing opportunities, the courage to act, sheer determination and hard work.
As a business coach I would also say that an entrepreneur should know when to take advice. And who better to turn to than an experienced MBA / small business expert?