During your MBA, you’ll more than likely be inspired by your peers to build some sort of startup. It’s inevitable. You’ll be approached by someone in class that you’ve become friendly with, you’ll realize a void in the market from a research paper you wrote, or you’ll see an opportunity to join a cool club with other like-minded individuals. That’s why you joined an MBA program, right? To further your career and start something new?
Regardless of how the opportunity comes to your doorstep, take it. Building a startup while still in your MBA program is great for so many reasons, but most importantly, for access given to you during the program. For those who have an idea or an early beta that are thinking about joining an incubator but are unsure if they should; this article is for you.
They’ll Be the First to Validate Your Idea ☑️
Incubators are generally run by startup or venture capitalist veterans who have heard hundreds, if not thousands, of startup pitches before. They’re willing to take a bet since there won’t be millions of dollars on the line, and they most likely won’t be taking equity. They’ll be the first people to ask you the tough questions which you need. They’ll be the early believers in your product (other than your parents, which don’t count).
They’ll Give You Some Cash to Help You Take Care of the Legal Paperwork ⚖️
You most likely need a bit of cash to help you get off the ground. And what do you need money for first? Legal paperwork. They’ll help guide you through the process, where and how to file, and employment contracts. This process is generally a bit expensive, and you can’t avoid it. The incubator will help you move in the right direction, and they’ll most likely hold your hand while you make your first few legal decisions.
Incubator Partners Are Your First Advisors 👩🏫
Down the road, you’ll build out a strong Board of Advisors that help you navigate the scary landscape of running a startup. That board will most likely be filled with industry experts in a range of domains and people you meet along with building the startup. But to create the right board, you need to develop the startup. Makes sense, right? The incubator partners will help you get there, acting as your first set of advisors, putting you in touch with builders, makers, and doers that they think could be a valuable asset to your journey. They’ll be your therapists (which we all need during the entrepreneurial journey), your mentors, and friends.
They’ll Support You Selflessly and Endlessly ⌛
When you’re accepted into an accelerator program at a university, you represent the university. When (if) you go out for funding and become the next tech unicorn, people will ask how you got off the ground. That answer will be the first believers at your accelerator. The more successful your startup becomes, the more startups will want to join that accelerator — an easy-to-understand domino effect.
Your Network Will Be Filled with Entrepreneurs 😎
This may sound obvious, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs at an early stage. The entrepreneurship journey is often a lonely one, and the people you meet in the incubator will feel the same. Bonding with the fellow startups around you will prove advantageous for your mental health, startup journey, and long-lasting friendships.
Aside from other founders, you’ll meet soldiers who will help you pioneer your product. Engineers, business development, pre-law — these are the types of people you’ll meet who you’ll want on your team.
And there you have it — five reasons as to why you should join your school’s incubator. While every school’s entrepreneurship incubator is different, I can only talk about my incubator experience. I was fortunate enough to be a part of one of the top-ranking ones in the country led by some kick-ass angel investors.
So if you’re deciding to join an incubator, consider the points made in this article. Don’t look to give chunks of equity right away if your product is still at the idea phase. Build your network slowly, have your idea validated by your professors and peers, then look to move on to an accelerator or venture funding. It’ll only help you avoid costly mistakes in the long run.
Thanks for Reading!
Lacey Kaelani contributed this article to discuss her MBA and startup experience with her company, Casting Depot, and share the wisdom she learned along the way. As always, thanks for supporting us in our journey to help others learn about personal finance, investing, entrepreneurship, and more to help them build wealth. We put a lot of time into creating great content for your enjoyment. We also love hearing your feedback. Let us know if you’re going to start a business in 2021. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on Substack below! 🙏😇