Should I Go to Business School as a Creative Entrepreneur?

If you’re reading this blog, then probably not...


Have you ever Googled "Should I go to business school?" ...I mean, I have. Several times.

This question is searched so often that the internet is filled with e-quizzes titled "Is an MBA right for me?" (By the way, my results for The Princeton Review quiz came up as "Full Speed Ahead.” Biased, much?)

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If business school has been on your mind, you’re definitely not alone...

To B-school or Not to B-school

For creative entrepreneurs seeking guidance, the business school route can seem like the obvious choice. Believe me, I’ve been there—researching b-school after b-school—trying to convince myself that any are worth their price tags.

Then, after contemplating the storm cloud of debt in my horizon, I’d think to myself: “Maybe I won't go to business school when there are cheaper options like B-School by Marie Forleo (cleverly branded for wannabes like me), or even Seth Godin’s altMBA workshop.”

But if I’ve learned anything since college, it’s this: there's more to be said for doing than talking. And, in my experience, that's exactly what business school is - a lot of talk and the hope to gain a network that will connect you afterwards (like a super expensive in-person-LinkedIn).

During my b-school befuddlement, I came across this quote by the amazing Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Ice Cream:

“The last thing you do as an entrepreneur is go to business school.”

...and a few more quotes about going to business school (or not) by some pretty big names:

"Business is easy to understand, just make a profit!” - Bill Gates
"I never went to business school. I was just bumbling through a lot of my life. I was like the guy behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz." - David Geffen
“I find, in merchandising and design and creative, a business school degree isn't particularly helpful.” - Mickey Drexler

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

If you’re a freelancer, or your goal is to start a small creative business (and not to build something scalable), business school is probably a waste of your time and money. It’s a distraction—procrastination at its most seductive.

But is it wrong for everyone? No, not necessarily. If you’re struggling with this decision, here’s my sincere suggestion: dig deep… answer WHY you’re interested in business school. Be honest.

  • Is it because you don’t think you’re smart enough without it?

  • Good enough?

  • Have the right connections?

If your goal is to climb a corporate ladder then, sure, get that MBA. I understand that business school can mean a major promotion and pay grade for some folks.

But, frankly, I’m not talking to those people. The majority of my clients (badass creative entrepreneurs) get the same advice from me: just start and do the thing.

If you aren’t willing to make the leap...go outside your comfort zone, take risks, and believe in yourself, then maybe you should ask yourself this: “Do I have what it takes to start a business?”

You’ve got this... JUST DO THE THING.

P.S. If you're ready to start your business, check out my Crafting Your Creative Business Plan e-course. Why? In the words of Seth Godin, business plans are "the alchemy of turning your resources into something that people value, something valuable enough that it turns a profit.” Hell yeah.