Dr Vikas Nand Kumar Batheja, Co-Founder & Director, Capital College, UAE

Dr Vikas Nand Kumar Batheja is the Co-Founder & Director of Capital College, the region’s first entrepreneurial college founded in 1998. Dr Batheja is a veteran and an award-winning entrepreneur in the education sector serving over 20 years in the industry. He is also on the Board of Advisors of various other colleges including London College of Arts and London College of Management. 

 

In recent times, many 20-something students are keen to try the entrepreneurial league. In the 21st century, it is analysed that small businesses are booming as many people prefer to be managers of themselves rather than being stuck in a regular 9-5 job. Individuals are thirsty for knowledge and are looking for platforms where they can ideate, develop and execute mind-boggling business strategies and become trendsetters of their relevant industry. This year alone, there have been more than 33 million entrepreneurs who have ventured into small business setups. However, it can be asked – what is the necessary qualification for an entrepreneur? While some have the natural flair of building businesses and being courageous of the various risk factors, many require some knowledge and experience which comes in the form of a qualification.

Let us explore how B-Schools catalyse the entrepreneur in oneself by giving them the necessary knowledge to become successful, considering the current competitive corporate market.

A foundation in business principles

While many argue that there is nothing that can replace valuable experience, many aspects of a business school curriculum can directly reflect on the ways an entrepreneur thinks and functions. Although the specifics of the subject depends on the type of program and specialisation you choose, it is essential to know the kind of business you would like to venture in and then be aware of the legal considerations such as liquidation preferences, preferred versus common stock etc. Although one can argue that the internet has a pool of information that one can refer to, a B-school gives a significant proportion of information that is well-structured with case studies and anecdotes. Most people tend to believe that the subjects taught in a B-school are outdated and may not be relevant to the current market trends. However, the same modules can be used to create a framework of the business idea, evaluate strategies and lay a concrete roadmap to success.

B-School – A place to build a team

Research suggests that bad management is one of the primary reasons for a failed enterprise. Further analysis shows that at least 60% of start-ups tend to fail in the first decade if the management or the founding member(s) are not driven in the right direction. Either people lack the necessary experience and hastily take decisions to become entrepreneurs or due to poor delegation fail to execute the vision of the corporation. This is why a place at a good B-school will allow you to make an informed decision as almost every student is a potential co-founder of your venture. Unlike any other opportunities where within 2-3 years, you may discover the inability to work together, you can perform a ‘test drive’ at your postgraduate studies. Also, in B-schools, you may not have to immediately validate the ownership of the company. Instead, you can continue working on its structure and prototype. Once you have reached a particular stage, you would be able to have a clear vision of the future of your corporation.

A Place to Validate your Ideas

One of the underrated advantages of attending B-school is the validation you could seek when you are forming your company. As a student, you will be able to access a large test group and get your strategies and ideas validated from fellow students as well as program coordinators. It would be interesting to know their response, especially if the industry you venture into, caters to a millennial crowd. On the flip side, there couldn’t be a better place to initiate your research process as business students will willingly participate in surveys, trials of new products/services and give constructive feedback. When you initialise your entrepreneurial career in a B-school, you can rapidly iterate your key concepts, designs and the core vision supported with constant feedback from your target audience.

Mitigate Start-Up Risk

For any entrepreneur, it is almost impossible to give a precise value of risk they may have to take on while starting a new company. In many cases, the founding member(s) needs to remain optimistic about its success, although it may seem highly irrational. In some cases, people are hit by a unique business idea or proposition that they are excited to take on but are second-guessing as they may lose out on the comfort they currently enjoy. This could be a current job with a good pay scale, growth and added benefits, or it could be the fear of failure amongst many others.

Alternatively, people who attend B-school are already formally committing to quitting their full-time job and the income that comes along. Perhaps, at that point, it could almost seem like a risk-free event or a no plan-B plan as you have already accepted and admitted to the risk factor along with the resume gap. Worst case, the start-up could fail, and you would use the B-school qualification to become an employee in another firm. Best case – you would utilise the time to commit to your ideas, seek the necessary validation and develop a full-proof plan for a successful career as an entrepreneur along with the knowledge you would eventually gain.

An Array of Opportunities

Irrespective of the size of the start-up, you wish to open, it is important to think of the fundraising options you may have. Although, the funds may initially start with friends and family, slowly transpire into a bank loan and at a later stage, opt for venture capital, B-schools and their alumni network can be a great place to pitch your business ideas. An MBA may only fuel your business proposition; fellow batch mates can be relevant potential investors that you may otherwise have to look for. Furthermore, a valuable qualification from B-school can give you the required credibility in investor meetings and will give them a positive perception of your intentions. Well, aren’t businesses all about building trust, momentum and success?

 

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