Case Study: Running a business during the MBA
Posted by Alex on 26 April 2010
As we quickly approach the end of our first year at London Business School, I decided to ask a colleague student to reflect on the MBA experience from a very unique point of view - entrepreneurship. Unlike many other MBA students, Guy runs his own business alongside the demanding studies. He started an online business few months before joining the MBA programme called DocoArt, that enables customers worldwide to upload personal photos and have them converted to handmade oil paintings on canvas (or simply buy a stunning reproduction).
1. LBS is known for its strength in the finance education. Is it also a place for future entrepreneurs?
Finance education is indeed a very strong aspect of the school, yet to be ranked number one in the world requires diversity of strengths. The entrepreneurship resources at LBS are truly unique and provide an amazing springboard for entrepreneurs at any stage. For me, the access to world class faculty members, the supporting community of students, alumni network and investors are amazing resources to benefit and get inspired from.
Moreover, the financial education is extremely important
especially for entrepreneurs that many times have great idea but fail to have
the financial understanding of their businesses. My view on my small business
has changed tremendously since I first stepped into the MBA programme.
2. Could you highlight some of the changes you did in your business as a result of insights from your studies?
Although I established DocoArt just before coming to London Business School, many changes have been done in by business based on the things I’ve learned in class. For example, I managed to improve the marketing strategy that we had using ideas I first encountered in the Marketing Core class, such as customer segmentation, targeting and positioning.
With new tools from the Corporate Finance classes, I can now plan proper leverage of future projects or the company as a whole. Every class I have taken and every student, professor or alum I have spoken with enhanced my knowledge and business view on my venture or any future ventures I will have.
3. MBA course is usually very intense. How do you find time to work on your venture?
Time management is one of the most important ideas I have learnt and improved throughout the course. The MBA course is indeed intense, and thus forces you how to plan your time with great care. You learn how to be more structured, how to reduce ‘noise’ and how to focus on tasks with high priority – skills that are highly important for all post-MBA jobs.
4. Is being located in London helps you to promote your business?
Absolutely! The UK market is one of the main targets of DocoArt. London itself is an international business centre that provides you with access to financial, marketing and operational resources, along with networking and opportunities to enter new markets. The density of businesses from the creative industries in London is just another evidence for all these benefits.
5. Are there any specific electives that you are taking or about to take that can help entrepreneurs make better business decisions?
London Business School offers a range of electives for entrepreneurs that shed light on all aspects of starting and running a venture. I plan to take the Financing an Entrepreneurial Business and Managing a Growing Business electives. I believe these will contribute the most to the current state of DocoArt.
6. What would be your advice for prospective students who are interested in an MBA to become entrepreneurs?
Doing the MBA will increase significantly the chances of your future business to become a success. You will gain well rounded business knowledge, earn a great network of students, alumni and faculty to support you. Finally it will open your mind to explore new ideas and opportunities which were not available for you in the pre-MBA setting.