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Entrepreneurship and the

MBA –
A Discussion
Sanjay Nath
BITS Pilani ’90, Anderson (UCLA) MBA ’99
Co-Founder and CEO, Loxodrome
Solutions Inc.

BITS Pilani Alumni Association (www.bitsaa.org)


Outline

Entrepreneurship

Successful entrepreneurs

The MBA environment

Perspectives from a current MBA


student

Lessons Learned

Discussion and Q&A


BITS Pilani Alumni Association (www.bitsaa.org)
Entrepreneurship Defined
“Entrepreneurship is the practice of
starting new organizations, particularly
new businesses generally in response to
identified opportunities”

“Willingness to take the risks involved in


starting and managing a business”

“The entrepreneur recognizes and acts


upon market opportunities”

Other definitions?

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Successful Entrepreneurs
Driving force of an enterprise
Enthusiastic vision, promoted with passion
Recognize path to vision is flexible, fluid and will
continually evolve
Prudent risk takers
Persuade and inspire others to buy into the
vision
Usually positive thinkers and strong decision
makers
See the big picture and connect dots in ways
that others can’t/don’t
Open to feedback – no such thing as “bad
feedback”
Thrive on opportunities and threats
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Three famous MBA-
entrepreneurs

 And those without MBAs? – the list is long!

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The “entrepreneurial”
MBA environment
“Opens your mind” - broad, strategic, out of
the box thinking
Rigor - question everything, accept nothing,
probe deeply
Global mindset and connections
Importance of networking
Teamwork
Leadership
Step outside your “comfort zone” - continuous
change
Dealing with pressure – “if you have 10
minutes to spare, you may be doing
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something wrong”!
What to watch out for
“Analysis paralysis”
Perfect or perfect enough?
Over emphasis on branding and prestige
Herd mentality
Realistic or unrealistic expectations?
Are you doing an MBA for the right reasons
Applying just enough or too much structure
and rigor?
Can entrepreneurship be taught?

BITS Pilani Alumni Association (www.bitsaa.org)


Perspectives from a
current MBA
Rajat Mathur
BITS Pilani ’91
London Business School / Columbia
Business School Joint Global Executive
MBA Program – Current Candidate

BITS Pilani Alumni Association (www.bitsaa.org)


The MBA Core
Leadership Development and Organizations
Accounting – Managerial & Financial
Finance & Capital Markets
Operations
Microeconomics
Decision Models
Statistics
Marketing
Strategy
International Economies & Macroeconomics
(Based on Columbia and London Business School Global
Executive MBA program – EMBA Global)

BITS Pilani Alumni Association (www.bitsaa.org)


MBA options
Full time MBA
Part time MBA
Executive MBA

Differences in student body, the MBA


experience, and expectations of jobs when
you graduate

Differences in Business Schools – real


question is not which is the right school, but
the right school for you

Many MBA programs today have developed a


core focus on Entrepreneurship (amongst
the most highly sought-after classes include
those by Bill Sahlman at HBS, Bill Cockrum at
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UCLA/Anderson, and Andy Grove’s guest


The MBA cohort
experience
Principal benefit is your peer group
– Encourages discussion and issues in
entrepreneurship
– Culture of risk-taking
– Someone who you can look to for advice
(perhaps for the rest of your career / life)

Top schools have excellent faculty to act as


mentors

Several top schools want to encourage


entrepreneurship – have venture funds of
their own
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International Perspective
Cases from around the world

Learnings from other industries

Your colleagues teaching you about their


cultures and operations in those cultures

Globalization and international


perspectives in economics

BITS Pilani Alumni Association (www.bitsaa.org)


Lessons in Leadership
Creativity and personal awareness
Organizational issues that impact you as a leader
/ Organizational Culture
Network effects – e.g. “strength of weak ties”
Structure – strategy
Negotiations / BATNA
Entrepreneurial opportunities in formal orgs
Developing trust in networks
– Efficiency and affiliation networks
Change management and turnarounds

Most importantly – asking questions for you to


reflect on where you are
headed and why – and what is most important to
you
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Example: Finance and
Accounting
Basics extremely important on running a
company
– Income statement, balance sheet, cash-
flow

How different types of financing can be


used to your strategic advantage
– Debt / equity ratios etc.
– High leverage – high risk / Low leverage
– low risk
– Valuations!
BITS Pilani Alumni Association (www.bitsaa.org)
Lessons Learned and
Discussion
Can entrepreneurship be taught?
Successful entrepreneurs are driven, passionate
and committed to begin with – however, the MBA
can help them raise their game even higher,
if applied correctly
MBA environments can nurture risk taking (last
time you can afford to take a risk and “fail
safely”)
Strongest contributions of MBA
– Core business skills
– Leadership
– Teamwork
– Ability to connect the dots (“go where the
puck is going to be”)
– Networks
Real question to ask is not “Is an MBA needed to
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Discussion

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Sanjay Nath - Bio
Co-founder and CEO of Loxodrome Solutions (
www.loxodromesolutions.com), a global outsourcing company
delivering offshore services centered around Electronic Content
Management Systems (ECMS). We target mainly U.S. based mid
sized and large Fortune 500 corporations and provide a range of
services including content processing services, technology
infrastructure services, and higher value-added knowledge driven
services

Previously a Principal in IBM Global Services’ Strategy Consulting


practice and earlier a Senior Consultant in
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Management Consulting group,
advising senior client executives on high impact strategic,
organizational, technology and outsourcing related issues, on a
global scale

Over 12 years of marketing and sales, management consulting


and operational experience in the Indo-US corridor, with a deep
understanding of the cross border US-India services industry’s
evolution and its major players; and has strong relationships with
an array of delivery providers
BITS Pilani Alumni Association (www.bitsaa.org)
Holds an engineering degree from BITS, Pilani (India) and an MBA
Rajat Mathur - Bio
Solutions Architect with Patni Computer Systems, USA. Rajat
focuses his work at Patni on leading the Storage, Computing
and Networking design-consulting practice.

Before joining Patni, Rajat worked at Amazon.com and


Mindspeed Inc (formerly part of Conexant Systems).
Technology and business experience in compiler design,
distributed systems, and storage-networking products.

Invited speaker at IIT techfest 2006, (IIT Mumbai) on “Product


design at the bleeding edge”.

Undergraduate education majoring in Computer Science,


Electrical Engineering, and Biological Sciences from BITS Pilani
(India) and The University of Texas at Austin. He received his
Master's degree in Computer Engineering from The University
of California, Irvine, and is completing an international
business program at Columbia Business School and London
Business School.
BITS Pilani Alumni Association (www.bitsaa.org)