MBA: A PERSONAL STORY

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Most MBA programs out there are structured in a way to present a real business opportunity at the end of the year, which will be graded by a commission of professors and potential investors. In the Executive MBA program I’ve just concluded, we had the chance to work several weeks on a new venture, during preparation course Entrepreneurial Venturing. My team did it great and we got the highest grade of the section. However, at the Final Exam we got opposite feedback. The episode made me thinking and I tried to analyzed what happened.

When it comes to quality of the work and its execution we can all agree on the elements that make a business plan and a pitch presentation good enough. But when it comes to judge an idea, especially an unprecedented concept, opinions, experience and even mood heavily bias the final judgement of the public. Yes, even investors! I’m not saying that we should not take into account the opinions we don’t like, but at least we should always filter them with our reality check tools.

This experience added some considerations and tips for the future:

  • There are infinite combinations to match a pitch with the right public. It is important to fight in the right arena and get as much information as possible about the audience, not to waste time and “pitching karma”.
  • Do not get depressed when your public doesn’t like your pitch, but be ready to learn from it and work to isolate the root cause of their dissatisfaction, e.g. should I work on my presentations skills or is there anything I’m overlooking in the business plan?
  • Not all businesses need investors. Some ideas can be brilliant and can be very simple. Some ideas might be so lean that they do not need large initial investments. Those ideas might be financed directly by savings of founders or FFFs. Why should an investor be even interested in your pitch?
  • Keep pitching! Every pitch is an opportunity to get feedback and endless refining to perfection (whatever it means).

Daniele Calzolari has an MBA at IE Business School (Madrid, Spain), 10+ years experience in corporates and startups, lived in 4 countries, speaks 4 languages, and is 1 time father and husband. Read more