Do you need an MBA to become an entrepreneur? No. Does an MBA help? Definitely.
Jaime Parodi Bardón should know. A serial entrepreneur, Jaime worked as a consultant for PwC and Accenture in Madrid, and launched a variety of marketing and entertainment-focused startups, before deciding to pursue an MBA.
He chose The Lisbon MBA International, the result of a partnership between Portugal’s top business schools—Católica-Lisbon and Nova SBE—and US b-school behemoth MIT Sloan.
It was during a one-month immersion at MIT Sloan that he came up with the idea for his new business. Viable Report is an online platform that connects early-stage startups with Venture Capital (VC) investors.
Positioned as a big data analytics company for the entrepreneurial economy, Viable Report helps investors save time when looking for the right high-potential startups to invest in.
Jaime met his co-founder during The Lisbon MBA. After returning from the US, he used the MBA’s entrepreneurship course to develop his business plan. He graduated from The Lisbon MBA in 2015. Now based in Lisbon, he’s already working with 30 private investors and over 500 startups.
Supported by The Lisbon MBA, Jaime also co-founded the Lisbon Entrepreneurship Club, with the main goal to bring MBA students and alumni closer to the city’s startup community.
The club runs an accelerator program and boot-camp for The Lisbon MBA alumni. Jaime uses Viable Report to process information on startups based in the accelerator.
How did the idea to start Viable Report come about?
The idea first came during the MBA. I was at MIT in Boston and we were looking at different things around entrepreneurship and startups there. That summer, I read a book that mentioned that the system to assess patents in Canada was done by an automated tool. I thought, why can’t I do the same with assessing startups?
That was the firecracker! I started working on the idea during the MBA itself, and I used the entrepreneurship course to establish a business plan.
What do you hope to achieve?
Our mission is to optimize the entrepreneurship investment process—to help investors discover the right startups. We don’t pretend to substitute the human behavior component of decision making. We want to facilitate an automatized part of the process to reduce the time-consuming task of startup screening and make decision making more efficient.
We’ve started operations very recently and are already gaining traction. In five years, we would like to be a big player in the VC field, operating in different countries globally.
Why did you decide to pursue The Lisbon MBA?
I wanted to create my own startup, and I thought that an MBA could provide me with the business knowledge and skills to help me.
I was considering different options in Europe, but I was really attracted by the possibility to study partially at MIT in the US as well as in Lisbon, which is becoming a hot startup hub. These different perspectives convinced me to choose The Lisbon MBA.
Why should entrepreneurs do an MBA?
To create a business, you need to know about market research, microeconomics, macroeconomics, market competition, human resources and human behavior, marketing, finance, operations—all these aggregated components are provided by an MBA.
The Lisbon MBA helped us with a credibility stamp. NOVA and Católica are the two best business schools with the best professors in Portugal. And, being part of that network, you have access to different companies, mentors, and investors—people in general that can help you.
Probably, if I hadn’t decided to pursue The Lisbon MBA, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to Boston, and all the steps that came after that wouldn’t have happened. Through The Lisbon MBA, and we made some close relationships that helped us be where we are right now.
What can entrepreneurs do to stand out to VC investors?
That’s something we’re trying to measure at Viable Report. We think it’s about a combination of factors that make a good startup.
You need to work on a very good concept with a good opportunity around it. And you need to have a very good team; complementary in terms of academic and professional backgrounds and able to take on the role of entrepreneurs. It’s not only about thinking up ideas, you need to make things happen.
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alumni and programmes at The Lisbon MBA.