How Should Business Schools Prepare Students for Startups? – Jeff Bussgang and Michael Seibel | Summary and Q&A

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How Should Business Schools Prepare Students for Startups? – Jeff Bussgang and Michael Seibel


Y Combinator's podcast discusses the lack of entrepreneurial preparation in business schools and the challenges faced by MBA students in starting tech companies.

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Key Insights

  • 🔎 Michael noticed that many MBA students who applied to Y Combinator were lacking the basic qualifications for starting tech companies.
  • 🗣 Jeff believes that business schools should do a better job of teaching core tenets of entrepreneurship, as these are simple rules that are often overlooked by MBA students.
  • 💡 The frustration lies in the fact that business schools are expensive and these simple rules should be common knowledge for aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • 🌍 Y Combinator's model for entrepreneurship is difficult to replicate, as it is hard to find entrepreneurs with real startup experience to teach the subject effectively.
  • 👥 Business schools should focus on providing practical, real-world experience and connecting students with technical talent to create a more well-rounded education for future entrepreneurs.
  • 🚫 There seems to be a disconnect between what business schools teach and what the startup world demands, as many MBA students lack technical proficiency and a commitment to their startup ideas.
  • 💪 The key issues faced by MBA students include the lack of technical co-founders, a lack of commitment to their startup ideas, and insufficient traction or progress made with their ideas.
  • 🏫 MBA programs could benefit from incorporating more technical skills and entrepreneurial experience into their curriculum to better prepare students for the startup world.


hey this is Craig Cannon and you're listening to Y Combinator's podcast today's episode is a conversation about business schools and startups with Jeff bus gang a lecturer at HBS and GP at flybridge Capital Partners Jeff called in to talk with YC CEO Michael Seibel after Michael was tweeting about trends he saw in YC applications from MBAs and sinc... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why did YC partners express frustration with MBA applicants during application reviews?

YC partners were frustrated with MBA applicants because many of them lacked the basic core tenets necessary for starting a startup, such as technical co-founders, commitment to the startup, and traction.

Q: How are business schools trying to address the lack of entrepreneurial preparation for MBA students?

Business schools are starting to integrate technical skills, such as coding, into their curricula and creating clubs or programs to help students gain technical proficiency. They are also working on incorporating more practical experiences and bringing in current entrepreneurs as mentors and guest lecturers.

Q: How does the education-focused goal of universities often clash with the needs of startups and entrepreneurship?

Universities prioritize providing pedagogical experiences for their students, which may not align with the goal of creating billion-dollar startups. They tend to be more lenient and coddling, focusing on learning rather than building scalable startups. This mismatch can often hinder entrepreneurial success.

Q: Why does having a technical background or a technical co-founder increase the chances of startup success?

Having a technical background or a technical co-founder is beneficial because it allows entrepreneurs to build their minimum viable product (MVP) rather than outsourcing the tech part of a tech business. It also helps in understanding the technical aspects of the startup and making informed decisions.

Q: Can attending a top-tier business school guarantee success in entrepreneurship?

Attending a top-tier business school can provide valuable networking opportunities and skills, but success in entrepreneurship depends on various factors, including personal drive, technical proficiency, and market-driven innovation. While a top-tier business school can enhance an entrepreneur's credentials, it is not a guarantee for success.

Q: What are some challenges faced by MBA students when seeking funding from venture capitalists?

Venture capitalists look for massive market opportunities and transformational, disruptive ideas. If an MBA student has a business model that is not unique or highly innovative, it may not be considered investable by venture capitalists. MBA students need to demonstrate a vision for white space and show a deep understanding of the market they are targeting.

Q: How can MBA students overcome the lack of entrepreneurial advice and expertise in their academic institutions?

MBA students should take advantage of online resources, blogs, and books written by experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. It is important to seek out the startup "canon" and self-educate on the fundamental principles and insights of entrepreneurship. Additionally, networking and seeking mentorship from successful entrepreneurs can provide valuable guidance.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Y Combinator's CEO Michael Seibel discusses the poor job business schools do in preparing students for tech startups.

  • Business schools tend to overlook basic core tenets important for starting a startup, frustrating YC partners during application reviews.

  • Lack of technical co-founders, commitment issues, and lack of traction are common problems faced by MBA applicants.

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