Question of the week #12

Images-2I've noticed women that receive angel
and VC funding often have MBAs from Ivy League schools (Or male
co-founders). Have you noticed this trend? If so, why do women need
the Ivy stamp of approval when the same doesn't seem true for men?

This is a really interesting question.  There is no doubt there appears to be a theme in many of the Women Entrepreneur of the Week posts that I have written over the past few years. Many of these women have their MBA's from a roster of impressive schools. 

I believe there are a few parts to this answer.  Let's begin with "have you noticed a trend".  Many of the MBA programs are teaching entrepreneurship as part of the curriculum so it is not surprising that many graduates find themselves moving in an entrepreneurial direction post-graduation.  Many of those graduates start working on their business plans while in school.  They have incredible access to research and people to really flush out their ideas before graduation.  So perhaps it is a trend but I see it as a good thing for women and the economy.  Many of these business models might just become good solid life style businesses while others become something bigger.

Are move women receiving funding because they want to an Ivy League school?  I don't think so I just think there are more out there in the marketplace so the odds are more will get funded.  Growing your business from scratch is like getting a MBA.  You learn to grow a business through trial and error versus a classroom environment. 

Are more women getting funded with a male co-founder?  I am not so sure about that either.  I am a big believer that gender balance at the co-founder level statistically have a better chance for success.  When people are coming from different thought processes as most men and women are is a very good thing for a partnership. 

Personally I do not believe that going to an Ivy league school or getting a MBA from any school is a stamp of approval for anyone starting a business.  There is no doubt that many super smart people get MBAs but that is no the end all be all.  People go to business school for a variety of reasons.  They are trying to pivot their career, they are not getting the type of jobs they want when they graduate from college, they are looking to educate themselves in a different environment before embarking on their business, etc. 

It might look like a trend but I just think there are a lot of people with MBAs because the job market was so weak that many college graduates continued on to get their MBA after being in jobs that didn't rock their boat and felt that going to graduate school would help them enter the work world at a different level.  The curriculum is geared towards entrepreneurship so many ended up trying to start their own thing.  More MBAs starting companies in turn has more MBAs getting funded.