The MBA Entrepreneur: Finding the Balance Between MBA and Entrepreneur

by Stella Fayman on November 2, 2012

You may see a theme with my MBA Entrepreneur blog posts, which has to do with one single element that is so scarce and so beautiful: time.

Entrepreneurs struggle with time management, MBA students struggle with time management…so how do you marry the two? Many people agree that the MBA is a great time to launch a business: you’re in a supportive community surrounded by brilliant, driven people who want to help you succeed. There is also perceived to be less risk because if things don’t work out, you can still recruit for a traditional job. (The problem however is that you can’t really be 100% dedicated to your company if you’re also recruiting for a job.)

For non-MBA folk and those considering, let me take a moment and explain recruiting (from the eyes of someone who is not doing it!). Brilliant students are forced to make small talk and think of non repetitive questions to consulting/corporate firms through a series of Coffee Chats, Corporate Conversations, Networking Events…you get the picture. What’s scary is how much actual time this takes up: many many hours, day after day. Many of my classmates are pulling 14-16 hours days between class and recruiting.

So, bringing it back to entrepreneurship…with the kind of stressful experience outlined above, it’s easy to see why pure entrepreneurs like myself are very happy to extract ourselves from the process and dive into working for our own companies (yay matchist!). Especially when we recognize how silly and contrived recruiting is. The only problem is, with time as a scarce resource, if I have to choose between doing an hour of homework, or working on my startup for an hour….my startup always wins.

It’s a seemingly paradoxical situation: entrepreneur goes to business school to pick up necessary knowledge and start business in non threatening environment. Entrepreneur has no time for anything but startup. And, if you’re not 100% committed, you very easily get sucked into recruiting because of the herd mentality. As everyone describes their harrowing schedules for the day, you start to feel like maybe you’re doing something wrong.

So far, I can honestly say I have never felt so stressed out in my life. I don’t remember what relaxation feels like, I haven’t gotten a manicure/haircut/cleaned my apartment in months. When I went to talk to my academic advisor about perhaps decreasing my course load, she could tell the stress was palpable. However, it’s such an exciting time. With matchist in beta, and new users visiting the site every day, we are gathering data and proving all of our assumptions. We’re lean, mean and changing things quickly to optimize the experience. In my classes, I’m intellectually stimulated and enjoy healthy debates in study groups regarding course material.

So what’s the answer? I have no idea. In fact, I have to go work on a problem set and answer a user chat right now. :)

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