Entrepreneurs from just twelve top MBAs founded 5,505 companies

There’s still debate in the media and amongst business people, if MBAs really make good entrepreneurs. The Financial Times (FT) has now presented proof that a significant number of graduates have launched successful start-ups.


Maybe the fault lies with household names such as Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg or Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Both businessmen dropped out of Harvard and didn’t finish their degrees.

However, MBAs have been scolded by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as too risk-conscious. This “conflicts with Silicon Valley’s ‘fail fast, fail often’ mantra,” the FT writes. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is quoted as having said, “MBA programmes don’t teach people how to create companies”, while PayPal’s Peter Thiel recommended to “never hire an MBA”, as they would ruin a company.

But apart from these big names and the rumours that others spread, there are many business school alumni that have built successful companies, writes the Financial Times (FT). Amongst them are some that developed fast and large.

The FT presents figures from investment database PitchBook that show that entrepreneurs from just twelve top MBAs founded 5,505 companies between 2006 and 2018. Amongst these are 72 “unicorns”, that’s private companies whose market value has reached more than one billion dollars. Examples are French car-sharing service BlaBlaCar (co-founded by Insead alumni), US eyewear brand Warby Parker (Wharton) and home design company Houzz (Tel Aviv University). Another successful startup has been formed in 2009, when Harvard MBA classmates Matthew Prince and Michelle Zatlyn co-founded cyber security company Cloudflare.


Read more on www.ft.com