The SME CEO Peer Group


Building A Business Without B-School Degree

Are you likely to reimagine your business if you were a B-School graduate? Will that B-School degree indeed teach you facets of the everyday business ordeal, so you can make it to the top of the industry? Is the lack of that expensive and time consuming degree resonating with your growth strategy? These are probably a few questions you have when you look at the business bigwigs. But, do you really need that MBA to build a healthy and sustainable SMB? Let’s find out.

B-schools focus on developing the skills of an individual. They allow you to fill gaps that are present in your business knowledge while helping you develop a sound understanding of the business principles. Moreover, they are an important source to build your network with people who have identified themselves as having the same interests. The knowledge that you gain in a B-School is multi-faceted. But a closer look will surface the reality of it being purely knowledge-based than experience-oriented. A true businessman is one who carves his product or industry around his consumer, and his core belief revolving around his ability to make a difference.

Making it to the top without going to a B-School

Although the added credibility and advantage that a B-School degree brings with it cannot be undermined, examples from the real-world ensure that a MBA is not a prerequisite for entrepreneurship. The likes of Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder & Chairman of Bharti Enterprises and the latest poster boys of Indian e-commerce Sachin Bansal & Binny Bansal, Founders of Flipkart, stand testimony to this. Even in the International Business landscape, entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group or David Geffen the Co-Founder of DreamWorks have proved that entrepreneurship takes will and passion and not a B-School certificate.

In a famous study called the CEO Genome Project, conducted by Kim Rosenkoetter, Elena Lytkina Botelho and Vamsi Tetali, they found that an Ivy-league College Degree definitely did not guarantee the success of an entrepreneur. They were however in a quest to find out why certain people made it to the top of the ladder and their results were quite inspiring.

The people who made it to the top without a B-School degree did so, because they pushed themselves to become industry experts through experience, proved to be reliable, and always stayed humble and open to gaining knowledge from those around them.

In another study, conducted by Russian Reynolds Associates in partnership with Hogan assessments, they examined data of over 5 million leaders to find the characteristics of C-suite leaders with the highest likelihood of success. Among the competing competencies listed, not one was correlated to educational achievements. The characteristics involved were personality traits. This study is another reminder that an overpowering personality is far better than a B-School certificate.

The hallmark of a great entrepreneur is to solve customer problems and make consumers their priority. When a long-lasting relationship is formed with their consumer, their business is able to thrive in the ever-dynamic economic landscape. Apart from recognising and appealing to their core customers, these entrepreneurs duly recognise mentors that could help them navigate through the path of entrepreneurship. These ideals along with undying passion make them successful. The road to success is definitely a winding one, but a B-School degree will not serve as a metric to cross each milestone. In the words of Richard Branson “You don’t learn by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”

The idea of writing creative copy that persuades is what introduced Smitha to the world of writing. At CEO BottomLine, she is a correspondent, brand publisher and content curator.


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