Fresh out of college, many STEM students often start and operate tech startups. After all, technical innovation is at the heart of these businesses. But with their technical skills, do engineering students have what it takes to make the startup thrive?
To a large extent, they do, but not by themselves. Let’s face it. A startup is still a business, and to effectively run one, you also need someone possessing business skills – someone with an MBA. So, what do MBAs bring to the table?
No matter what a startup creates, be it an app, website, or gadget, it creates the product to sell it. And to sell anything, you must first market it. This means analyzing the market, understanding new trends, identifying a client base, coming up with a marketing strategy, and pricing the product.
In this respect, engineers are at a disadvantage. Their engineering degree didn’t include these marketing courses. In contrast, MBA degrees, such as the Ohio University online MBA, include and teach these courses.
For a startup to remain profitable, its owner must properly manage its finances as well. It’s particularly difficult when a startup expands, increasing the financial responsibilities. However, it’s not so for MBAs. Schools offering the degree, such as Ohio University, ensure their students are well versed in this critical area by the time they graduate.
Human Resource Management Skills
Either alone or with a team not exceeding five people, tech founders start their businesses in a garage or small office. In this initial phase, they mostly focus on creating a great but financially-viable product. But as their startups and employee numbers grow, their focus must shift.
Besides creating a product, they must also create company policies, procedures, hierarchies, and structures. Only by doing so can they manage and make the most out of this growing human resource. But how can they do so without HR skills? Without an MBA, such as the Ohio University MBA, they can’t. So, they must either pursue the said MBA or hire someone with similar qualifications.
Customer Relations Skills
A company must have a good customer relations strategy if it’s to better serve its customers and to address their problems. Without one, it’ll lose clients, despite having a great product and great internal structures.
In fact, many startups have folded for this very reason. So how, then, can a startup’s owners craft a customer service strategy? Those with innate social skills can to an extent, but even then, that’s never enough. Crafting one requires know-how, which MBA’s possess.
Besides their staff and clients, a startup’s owners must relate to another important group – their fellow entrepreneurs. These include business partners, investors, and other startup owners. Through their funding and extensive networks, the first two help the startup to grow. Other owners, on the other hand, share ideas and the challenges they’ve faced. Now, to expand these professional networks, a startup needs MBAs, who’ve studied on how to do so.
Why do startups need MBAs more than ever? The question to this answer is simple: MBAs bring more than one skill to the table. Of these, the most important are marketing, human resource management, customer relations, networking, and financial management skills.