Mba or accelerator: what’s right for an aspiring entrepreneur?

I’m a 40-year-old surviving in a suburb of Washington, D.C., married with two kids, and I can’t write code. I spent my career flying airplanes in the military. I’d not arrive as a likely first-time tech entrepreneur on anyone’s radar.

I graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1995. Until 2004, I was on active duty in the Air Force. (From then on I worked full-time in the Air National Guard until this past year; even today I continue steadily to serve part-time.)

Having been a deputy commander for the U.S. Air Force, I had extensive skills but targeted ones. I knew I needed to generate a career transition, and I knew I couldn’t do it with my current knowledge base.

So from 2007 to 2009, I attended the Wharton School of Business, where I met the other two co-founders of my company, Nexercise. After finishing this program, we felt confident that people knew enough to found our company. But we lacked the tactical knowledge to keep our business, so we searched for an accelerator program. Last May, after applying 3 x, we were accepted in to the first TechStars Chicago class.

After handling the rigor of an MBA program and an accelerator program, I’m frequently asked if one option is highly recommended over the other. Both have benefits and disadvantages. If you are weighing your alternatives, perusing the next should help clear things up.

Seeking to Join a Startup? Get an MBA

Some great benefits of an MBA program:

1. An MBA offers you the knowledge you must get your business started and assist in preventing some silly mistakes that other beginning entrepreneurs make.

2. When pursuing an MBA you are given usage of the university’s resources, programs, talent pool and alumni networks.

3. The full total experience can help you set up a baseline of business credibility with potential customers, partners and investors.

4. Business schools give a safe environment where you could concentrate on developing your idea while simultaneously receiving class credit and feedback from many of the most brilliant minds in the market.

5. An MBA offers you a working understanding of business basics, including accounting, finance, management, marketing, operations, negotiation and strategy — all pivotal for successfully owning a business.

6. MBAs are really beneficial to anyone who has spent their careers centered on specialized expertise, at the trouble of developing practical business skills.

The disadvantages of an MBA program:

1 . It’s difficult to dive deep into multiple facet within an MBA program.

2. You wind up spending time focusing on the degree rather than actively building your business.

3. An MBA program isn’t always on the leading edge of what’s going on in the startup landscape. Some teachings are no more relevant and don’t endure current guidelines in the early-stage world.

4. In the event that you already possess great business experience and a roster of mentors, an MBA won’t provide as much advantages to your entrepreneurial journey.

Accelerator-Ready? 3 Pointers for Potential Candidates

The advantages of an accelerator program:

1. An accelerator program’s focus is completely on assisting you build your existing business.

2. Within an accelerator program, you are learning key, tactical business issues, such as for example fund-raising, SEO, search engine marketing techniques, e-mail marketing, capitalization tables, key performance indicators, social media, viral marketing, law for entrepreneurs, branding and communication, board management, user experience design, unit economics and sales.

3. Accelerator programs supply the good thing about introducing you to entrepreneurs, investors and connections and also require experienced the issues you’re facing or will be as a business owner.

4. Completing an accelerator program offers you valuable street cred in the startup space.

5. An accelerator program offers you usage of its resources, programs, talent pool, alumni and mentor networks, while assisting you set up a baseline of early-stage credibility with potential investors.

6. Accelerator networks are much smaller than university networks, perhaps making them useful because they’re more centered on outcomes within confirmed industry.

The disadvantages of an accelerator program:

1. You could be required to forfeit a few of your individual equity to partake.

2. It’s difficult to simultaneously run your business when you’re taking part in an accelerator program.

3. Your schedule, throughout a three-month accelerator program, isn’t your own.

4. Not absolutely all accelerator programs have their system as wired as others. Some might provide conflicting advice, resulting in internal conflicts for you personally as well as your business.

There’s nobody right answer here. While both programs are valuable, nobody option can offer the comprehensive knowledge a person requires to successfully run a startup.

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