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How useful is grad school for an entrepreneur?

  1. Aug 7, 2009 #1
    I'm talking about engineering grad school (MS). When I say entrepreneur I'm talking R&D for new products/technology/small start-up.

    Would it be more useful to:

    A. Keep an existing full time job while going to school part time (paid for by the company with 3 years service after degree), save up money while learning, then start a business. Get a PE in the process.

    B. Go to grad school full time and specialize in a related field, get out and work for a year to save enough to start up or look for venture capitalist funding. In order to get a PE you need 3-4 years work experience right? That may play a factor since full time school wouldn't count.

    C. No grad school, continue working to get a PE and save enough to start independent R&D without an MS.

    What do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2009 #2


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    Some schools have programs designed specifically to help graduate students and post-docs go commercial with products or ideas that were produced through their studies. the idea is that such programs promote the "development" part of "research and development." You could use graduate school to take advantage of something like this. But be aware that the university gets a cut (which they would anyway).

    In general, in graduate school you should be learning about the most advanced aspects of your field and how to properly conduct research. If you think these skills would be of value to you in entrepreneurial pursuits, then go for it. However, I don't think a graduate degree will help you to develop much of a business sense, or give you a better chance at securing a loan. (The possible exception being that if you can publish an idea, it will give you something concrete to reference when talking with skeptical potential investors).
  4. Aug 22, 2009 #3
    A recent survey of entrepreneurship by Business Week and the Kauffman Foundation (forgot the link) says most entrepreneurs don't have a graduate school education, let alone a Bachelor's. Research in entrepreneurship has found the same consistent finding: entrepreneurs found companies based on what they know, or what they think they know. So if you want to be an entrepreneur, the best thing to do is to serialize it. Get out there as soon as possible, do something you like, get a lot of experience, network (network, network!), and start your own company as soon as possible.
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