The opportunity to help a business grow from its very early stages is just one of many possible reasons why challenge-driven MBAs will opt for the startup route.
Here, we list three reasons you should consider working for a startup and how an MBA can equip you with the skills you need to thrive at a newly launched venture.
1. You can have your say in the business’ direction
At a smaller company, you’re naturally more likely to have your voice heard. As a result, you’ll get the chance to take on more responsibilities at the outset of your career.
For Jonas Kjaer (pictured right), Copenhagen Business School MBA graduate and global enterprise executive at Actimo, a Danish e-learning company revisioning remote employee engagement, this was a driving factor for pursuing a career at a startup.
After working as a project manager before the MBA, Jonas wanted to be more involved in influencing company strategy. Working for a startup, it seems, offered Jonas the perfect opportunity to have more of a say in business operations.
If you're working at a startup, you’re less likely to be constrained to a specific role since there’s fewer employees, meaning you may pivot between different positions and leverage one another’s talents when leading various projects. “In a larger company, you hire for one role, so it’s a lot more static,” he believes.
Jonas has been able to influence decisions at Actimo when the company was rapidly growing and seeking investors. He began an initial dialogue with the director of business development at Kahoot!, which eventually led to the partnership between Actimo, a smaller company, and Kahoot!, a major player in the e-learning industry.
The chance to walk directly into the CEO’s office, as Jonas did, and share your business ideas is something that sets startups apart.
“I don't think that level of trust would have happened at a larger company,” reflects Jonas.
2. You’ll experience true collaboration
If you’re a team player, the collaborative nature of a startup is sure to appeal.
“In the early part of my career, I never thought I wanted to work at a startup,” admits Jonas, “What then turned my attention to a startup was the fact that it’s all hands-on deck and everyone helps everyone.”
The lessons Jonas learned about teamwork were founded in the Copenhagen MBA’s Leadership Discovery Process, a course that teaches students how to embrace their unique leadership style through topics like cognitive coaching and situational leadership.
Jonas regularly deploys the skills from this course into his role, helping him navigate team dynamics in the workplace. "Being able to work with a team, knowing when to step back and allow someone with a more appropriate skill set in a given moment to step in—that's a crucial element of working for a startup," notes Jonas.
3. You’ll learn how to make decisions quickly
At a startup, you may encounter some tricky situations—for instance, you’ve been asked to meet with investors, yet you’ve realized you need further market research to finalize the business plans. In these moments, decision-making must be swift but intentional.
Mercedes Delgado (pictured left), associate professor of strategy and innovation, and co-director of the entrepreneurship concentration at the Copenhagen MBA, believes that working for a startup will help you think on your feet.
“You're going to have to be playing different roles at a fast pace: you're going to be thinking about the technology, the customer, and how to get funding, all at the same time," she says.
This challenging experience offers a great learning curve that will be beneficial for your future career, whether you continue working at a startup or transfer to a more established organization.
In the Entrepreneurship Concentration on the Copenhagen MBA, you can test-drive your decision-making and entrepreneurial skills. Here, you’ll learn how to design an entrepreneurial strategy by responding to market trends and how to quickly scale up your startup, considering how technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence can accelerate your business strategy.
You’ll also get the chance to work alongside Danish startups to address a business challenge faced by the particular venture, experiencing what it’s like to scope a project within a real-world environment.
At an innovation-driven startup, agility, and speed, to name but a few skills, will be crucial when developing a venture. “We’re giving MBAs the tools to build the right business model to increase the probability of the company’s success,” says Mercedes.
Working at a startup offers countless opportunities. If you’re bursting with ideas and can strategize ways to implement the plans, you’re likely to be richly rewarded for your efforts in a newly launched venture.
Copenhagen Business School (CBS)
CBS: efficient international network
CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.
Good academic career
I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.
CBS is one of the best!
All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.
The ideal business school
I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.
A Place of Personal Growth
In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.
The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.
Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!
Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.
A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment
I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.