Let me start by saying that spending a decade in the startup ecosystem working with Startups and doing my own business has given me tremendous learnings and exposure which an MBA arguably could never do.

I am an engineering grad and accidentally landed in the work profiles I never liked at the outset of my career. On the face of it, when it came down to choosing between doing an MBA vs doing a Startup- I chose the latter and believe it worked well for me.

Here are some of the differences based on my own experience:-

  1. As an Entrepreneur, I learned every aspect of running a business by doing and not by mugging up concepts. End of the day, the bookish knowledge is of no use if not executed.
  2. In MBA, one would major a certain stream like Marketing, Finance, Operations, HR etc and minor another. By doing a business, you get hands-on knowledge of every possible thing which runs your business successfully.
  3. In MBA, you get to network with an alumni network which may be useful going forward. In business, you get to hang out with successful individuals via different forums which may open doors for many opportunities.
  4. Think about ROI– what is it in the MBA that you’re going to spend Rs. 25–30 Lacs on? Save that money instead to invest in your business wisely over the time. If you do well and figure out a good business model, the business may give fantastic ROI.
  5. An MBA may help you raise money from the investors if you do it from a reputed B-school but hey- it never guarantees the same without a relevant work experience. If you better focus on creating a meaningful value proposition and decent traction through your business, you will have better chances to get funded.
  6. In MBA you do the case study of businesses. When doing business, you learn through thick & thin of making it work. You may become a case study for others someday, propitiously 🙂

In the worst case scenario, you’ll end up shutting down your business, but it’ll still get you more credibility and many potential future opportunities with the network that you form over all the years running your business.

So in my humble opinion, do a Startup directly rather than an MBA.