Can MBAs create top entrepreneurs?

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The archetypal modern entrepreneur is a university dropout, a household name such as Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg or Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who both left Harvard without completing their degree. Yet many business school alumni are creating companies, including some that grow both fast and large.

Figures from investment database PitchBook show that entrepreneurs from just 12 top MBAs founded 5,505 companies between 2006 and 2018. Some are doing very well indeed: they include 72 “unicorns”, or private companies valued at more than $1bn, such as French car-sharing service BlaBlaCar (co-founded by Insead alumni), US eyewear brand Warby Parker (Wharton) and home design company Houzz (Tel Aviv University).

MBAs have been criticised by entrepreneurs in the technology cluster of San Francisco’s Bay Area, however. Some argue that the degrees encourage risk aversion, which conflicts with Silicon…

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