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Do You Need Business School Education To Become A Tech Entrepreneur?

As more scientists and engineers launch their own tech startups, does business education still count?

Mon Nov 13 2017

BusinessBecause
By observing the plethora of tech startups at TechDay London—the UK’s largest gathering of startups, entrepreneurs, accelerators, and investors—one thing was apparent.

A lot of tech startups are being launched by scientists, engineers, and creatives without a formal business education background.

Do you need business school education to become a tech entrepreneur?

Urvesh Vasani, the CEO of Heartface, a social video platform for online shoppers, doesn’t think so. He’s been an entrepreneur since the age of 13.

“Hands-on experience trumps education,” he said, speaking at the TechDay London event. “You need that curiosity to explore what you’re doing.

“I see it so often in India. Kids are forced to go to uni, graduate, get a nice job—that doesn’t work if you’re not passionate about what you do.”

Another entrepreneur speaking at TechDay London, Iris Steinebrunner, co-founder of BioTech firm Anvajo, agreed.

“You need to be driven and believe in your product,” she said. “You learn the business issues along the way, it’s more important for us to be able to train our employees on a technical level—if you don’t understand the product, then how can you sell it, how can you convince other people that what you’re doing is important?”

For many, it seems, innovation is the lovechild of passion and curiosity, not education and theory. However, on the other side of the coin lie the MBA business heads.

Iris’ colleague and current CEO of Anvajo, Stefan Fraedrich, is aware of the dangers of complacency when it comes to growing a company. The ideas may be there, but taking your company forward requires a different kind of mind.

“The idea has to come from an engineer or scientist when you’re trying to start a company in this field,” explained Stefan. “But, for me as an engineer, I have no idea about the business stuff so it was important to get a guy who knew that stuff as a co-founder too.”

The vast maze of accounting, marketing, and sales can prove tricky to maneuver. So, getting an MBA grad on board, someone who is schooled in cajoling clients and building relationships with partners, is the key to progressing towards the center of the maze—the catalyst for growth. Stefan himself admitted it’s rare for a company to be successful with only scientists and engineers.

And professor of practice of entrepreneurship and innovation at Warwick Business School, John Lyon, shares his sentiments—investors value a well-rounded company when considering where to put their money.

“You can get your company off the ground without a formal business education background, but to take your firm forward I think it is definitely a benefit,” he says, “it gives you that extra tick.”

John acknowledges that passion and curiosity are key to startup success—often the founders are the only ones who believe in their product—which is why at Warwick Business School, he says, they teach their students how to deal with business issues when things go wrong.

The UK school is not alone in developing the next generation of entrepreneurs. Spain’s IE Business School runs a Venture Lab Accelerator each year—taking students through each stage of the startup journey—which offers workshops and specialized mentoring from startup entrepreneurs, angel investors, and venture capitalists.

Cass Business School in London helps its entrepreneurs through the school's startup fund—part of the Peter Cullum Center for Entrepreneurship launched with an initial donation of £10 million by the high-profile alum.

John explains that all of this helps weave together an entrepreneurial mindset—after all, it’s useless to have a wealth of innovation if you fall at the first hurdle.

“The more education you have in entrepreneurship, I think the better placed you are to succeed,” he says.

Student Reviews

Bayes Business School

Student

Verified

31/10/2023

On Campus

Best Journalism school in Europe

When I first stepped onto the campus of City, University of London, I knew I was in for a ride - and not just on the Tube! With its vibrant energy and an impressive repertoire of programs, City U became my home away from home. The Journalism program was kind of a big deal. Rumour was that we were the best in Europe! The lecturers were not just experts in their field; they’re practically journalistic royalty. They were invested, passionate, and had a knack for turning the most flat press release into a riveting news story. With their guidance, I’ve learned to navigate the chaotic world of media like a pro. The campus was a melting pot of every culture, being that we had such a diverse international crowd. Being in the heart of London, I had the world at my fingertips - there was always a new corner to explore, a hidden gem of a cafe to discover, or a street performer! City, University of London wasn't just a university; it was a chapter in my life story that I’ll never forget.

Lydia

Verified

23/02/2023

On Campus

Learning environment

The teacher-learner ration is manageable, giving each learner a chance to gain personal attention. It is also easier following up on the progress of a student, as the numbers per class is not large. the conducive environment for learning includes clean classes, standard desks, world class instructional facilities and the opportunity to engage lecturers even after their sessions. The team spirit at City is above board, with learners getting chance to learn both from instructors and colleagues. This is the university of choice; the place to be.

Nathaniel

Verified

24/01/2023

On Campus

Classes

I liked that each class had a manageable number of learners, making the professor-learner ratio favor knowledge acquisition. I also liked that study schedules were manageable, and not overwhelming. The focus on talents and gifts even within the learning environment makes it possible for learners to achieve the best of their potential, and this has worked to the advantage of those that have schooled at City, University of London

Muhammad

Verified

24/01/2023

On Campus

Classes

The diversity at City University facilitates interactions and is a direction toward the unity of the world. The classes are well built to match the number and needs of all students regardless of the elements of diversity that set people apart. The use of technology in delivery makes learning even more interesting and achievable. At City University there is no distinction pegged on the issues that make people unique.

Dorah

Verified

23/01/2023

On Campus

professors

The team of lecturers at the Uiversity are well experienced. Their level of insight and the methodologies of delivery works for the interes of the leaeners. My learning experience was largely boosted by the level of knowledge of the professors at the institution, and their passion to transfer the same to learners. I appreciate every class I attended because of the level of insight I was able to gather

Nora

Verified

17/12/2022

On Campus

The best university I’ve been to

The campus and the people I've met have made it a wonderful experience. I was reared in a small town with a graduating class of only 88 individuals, so moving to City University was a huge adjustment for me. My dorm has more residents than my whole high school combined! I enjoy the atmosphere here, and everyone is so friendly. Outstanding academic options and a stunning campus. Really great from beginning to end. The educators genuinely love what they do, and the students are ready to learn. On or around college, there is always something to do with friends, and the social scene is particularly warm.

Antonia

Verified

21/11/2022

On Campus

Bayes Business School

As a student at City university attending Bayes Business School I would totally recommend choosing this university as the experience is exceptional with great social networking opportunities . Professors are significantly helpful, delivering with excellence and professionalism. Everyone is happy to help and make you feel welcomed in such an esteem university as City, offering exceptional development and guidance through out the course.

Muhammad

Verified

15/11/2022

On Campus

Economics and Politics

Incredibly amazing university, the way they polish students and help them boost their morale and think intellectually is worthwhile. Many universities have international partnerships to allow exchanges between their students. The most obvious subjects for these opportunities would be those that involve languages, and the study of people and places.

Navya

Verified

11/11/2022

On Campus

Clinical biology

I really like it it’s perfect for me with not too many people and not too few either. All the modules are amazing. I love the toy bar. I love all the societies that I’ma part of. Especially the colour Bollywood society

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