There’s a terrific article entitled “Stanford to MBAs: Don’t Start-Up Until You Graduate“in “The Atlantic” by our pal Bourree Lam. Bourree previously ran the “Freakonomics” blog and Brian of our firm has worked with the “Freakonomics” guys in the past, since he dabbles in Hollywood. They sold a television show together to NBC. He loves those guys. But there we go again on tangents. It’s hard writing about college admissions every single day of the week. Deal with it.
Anyhow, in the piece, Bourree writes about how Stanford’s Graduate School of Business is discouraging its students from pursuing startups while they are completing their MBA degrees. While so many students from around the world flock to Stanford’s GSB to pursue careers in Silicon Valley, what Stanford is basically saying, as Bouree so well articulates, is hold up and wait a couple of years. Hold your horses. It’ll happen.
As Bourre writes, “Students have always been looking for ways to launch their careers before graduation, so what is it about a start-up that seems so threatening to administrators? When students throw themselves and their mental energies into starting a company and courting investors, they’re distracted from the stated goal of an MBA program: to learn how to run businesses by taking classes. It’s also an unspoken expectation that they’ll participate in campus life by networking with fellow classmates, not outside investors. Garth Saloner, the departing dean of the business school, told The Wall Street Journal that students starting companies should apply for an incubator instead, and that Stanford is ‘not the graduate school of entrepreneurship.'” True that. It’s the Graduate School of Business.
With fewer and fewer graduates of MBA programs turning to Wall Street these days and more and more turning to entrepreneurship, this might seem surprising to some but it makes good sense to us. The school wants their focus to be on their educations. Their graduates will thrive once they graduate in the fields they so choose but for two years, they want them focused on their coursework, on networking with fellow students, on building the foundation that will serve them will in the years to come.