The Best Source of knowledge for Nigerian Entrepreneurs. A Real-world Business Experience in the Streets or a Stint at the Lagos Business School?

entrepreneurs in the street vs Lagos business school

In the Lagos Business school, MBA and executive education students receive lessons on the intricate concepts surrounding every business function from their professors and teachers who are either part-time board members at a multinational, or full time university teachers.

A world-class business education from a prestigious institution-like the Lagos Business School-comes with huge merits. It exposes its alumni to a lot of career benefits: such as taking the students through ongoing trends and opportunities in high-growth industries, exposing them to a network of high net-worth peers that makes the making of present and future business alliances and partnerships seamless, and also to faculty members in boards of top companies that provide mentoring and links to high profile places for business support, to state a few.

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The Lagos Business school of the Pan-Atlantic University prides itself as part of the elite 5% of global business schools. It was ranked 75th in 2017 in the open enrollment and custom executive education category of the Financial Times ranking of global business schools, making it one of four institutions in Africa that maintains consistent presence in the list, the remaining three all South-African.

The Lagos Business School acknowledges, as everyone else, that gaining practical experience from a real business is crucial to launching and running any successful business. And in faithfulness to that acknowledgement, the school visits the Dangote Lekki Refinery for a tour of facilities and for a chance to interact with Aliko Dangote; the second time since 2016 that the school is visiting African’s richest man. Like every school, prestigious business schools in particular, the Lagos Business school has a 13-weeks internship period within its two-year MBA program, but graduates of these programs must realize that they need to go beyond these internship opportunities and experiential tours, if they intend to gain any real-world practical experience.

Image source| lbs.edu.ng
Image source| lbs.edu.ng

A business degree-and its benefits as earlier stated-are excellent for corporate executives: CEOs, COOs, CFOs and their likes. The crops of people who are mostly job-seekers and can always manage to get a job regardless of the basic experience of even nurturing the thoughts of striking it out on one’s own, and then conceiving an idea for a business, and seeing it through the various start-up life-cycle, to an established and profitable enterprise.

Entrepreneurs require a different kind of training, which explains why the number of masters degree offering entrepreneurship spiked from 8 to 39 in the past decade in American colleges. Start-up entrepreneurship is even more distinctive, because start-ups operate in much more unpredictable and turbulent terrains, requiring hands-on knowledge and skills beyond a hands-off visit to some Lekki refinery.

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An even greater concern is the investment in time and money that a prestigious MBA program gulps; at the Lagos Business School it costs N5,023,260 and runs for 2 years. Start-up founders who are busy testing their ideas, sourcing for funds to launch and scale, and developing their products will find little or no time and money to indulge in the luxury of an MBA. Most MBA students incur huge debts and other costs to finance their studies because most founders, in Nigeria and in other countries, can’t even afford the fee in the first place. Such time and money are best invested in fast-tracking the growth of a start-up.

“So, if you’re looking at working and rising to a top management position at MTN, Dangote Group, First Bank of Nigeria Plc and other large multinationals, the Lagos Business School is undoubtedly a perfect learning environment for you.”

Premises of The Lagos Business School
Premises of The Lagos Business School

Richard Branson of the Virgin group believes that getting an undergraduate Business degree is not the best career path for entrepreneurs. He says that no amount of training or reading equals the daily practical experience of running a business.

“No matter how much you study the art of business or analyse famous entrepreneurs’ strategies, nothing can prepare you for the journey that is running a business.”

“You probably know that Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of school and went on to found successful businesses instead,”

“Nobody would question whether any of those entrepreneurs could run a business. They didn’t develop their unique and compelling approaches to disruptive innovation and leadership by reading a textbook, but by living through the thrill, dread and sleepless nights that come with being an entrepreneur.” He said.

Finally, the internet provides entrepreneurs with cheaper, faster, more suitable, and cost-effective alternatives to business school. They can now learn the most intricate business concepts through reading e-books (both free and premium), taking online courses, attending webinars, viewing YouTube videos, and a hosts of other approaches to learning. With commitment and dedication to life-long learning, the learning process can be memorable, fulfilling and even, more effective than the traditional business degree.

What are you doing about your education? Do you opt for the traditional degree or the unconventional self-education route? Share your thoughts with me in the comment section below.

Whichever route you choose, recognize that a business education must be well-rounded: covering every business function and cutting across sales, marketing, management, operations, branding, growth, finance, and the mastery of your specific line of business.

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