Three ways an MBA will advance your intrapreneur career - and three ways it won't

By Liz Rosenberg

Before embarking on any new adventure in your academic and professional life, it’s important to begin with clear expectations of what may or may not happen. Though there’s no roadmap etched in stone when you follow any path, knowing the potential ROI of each option allows you to properly assess and decide whether that path aligns with where you ultimately want to go.

If you’re an aspiring intrapreneur--someone in a management role who promotes innovative product development and marketing--you shoot for the moon daily. You’re always looking for ways to become a more confident leader. You seek opportunities to get coaching and feedback to become better at crafting and executing the perfect pitch.

But to become the best business leader and innovator you dream of being within your company, would enrolling in a part-time MBA, a full-time MBA, or an executive MBA program be worth the investment? As you consider enrolling in a top business school, be sure you’re clear on what to expect and what not to expect out of the program. Below, we’ll take a closer look at three ways an MBA will advance your intrapreneurial career and three ways it won’t.

3 ways an MBA WILL advance your intrapreneur career

1. An MBA program WILL introduce you to great ideas and people.

When you enroll in the best MBA program for you, you’ll be exposed to great ideas and inspiring, dynamic people who can positively influence your professional life. Being around like-minded intrapreneurs in an environment designed for growth and expansion will inspire you to find ideas and abilities within yourself. You’ll get the chance to learn from real-life business leaders, collaborate with other inspiring students and working professionals from all over the world, and bounce ideas off other passionate thinkers who also want to develop successful products and effectively bring them to market.

2. An MBA program WILL help you hone your novel perspective.

When you take design thinking courses and participate in collaborative business projects, top MBA programs will teach you how to turn your unique intrapreneurial perspective into actionable business models. The Berkeley Haas MBA program, for example, will teach you how to come up with strategic product launch plans that translate into measurable results. Through your coursework, group projects, and daily conversations with classmates and faculty, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the global economy beyond your immediate work experience and knowledge. This new knowledge will broaden your business perspective to ensure the ideas you pitch within your company have steady legs to stand on.

3. An MBA program WILL provide metrics for risk-taking.

Intrapreneurs take risks. After all, risk-taking is a crucial part of being a successful business person within any profitable company, large or small. But, these risks need to be calculated and based on reliable projections. The best business schools will teach you exactly how to create sustainable, data-based business models, equipping you with the tools to take more informed risks on your intrapreneurial path.

3 ways an MBA will NOT propel your intrapreneur career

1. An MBA will NOT hand you a million-dollar idea.

When you walk through the doors of the best business schools, you walk into an environment filled with spirit. Business school is a place to put new ideas to work--a place where you learn how to move teams and organizations from vision to reality. But when it comes to ideation, that’s not something even the top MBA programs can do for you. That has to come from learning more about your industry and market needs. Earning your MBA will expose you to experiential learning and leadership development, including chances to pitch business ideas in front of other intrapreneurs, opportunities to join student clubs where you can fine-tune ideas, and more. You’ll be empowered with tools for honing your own idea--thus increasing the probability of a successful business or product launch--but the idea must come from you.

2. An MBA will NOT give you ambition.

If you’re looking to jumpstart your ambition, earning an MBA is not going to do that for you. This specialized academic experience will teach you the fundamentals of general management while sharpening your leadership skills. More specifically, you will learn how to act on evidence and analysis. As a result, you’ll feel more assertive and more confident. But you need to draw on intrinsic desire and passion to stay motivated and to carry you through the adversity that every intrapreneur inevitably faces. To succeed, that motivation has to come from you.

3. An MBA will NOT guarantee a salary boost.

Finally, earning an MBA will not guarantee that you make boatloads more money. Though earning this advanced degree will boost your strategic knowledge as an intrapreneur--equipping you with the skills to land sandbox funding, innovate, and advance ideas within your existing organization--it’s tough to equate an MBA with a specific dollar amount. But one thing is for sure: earning your MBA from a top business school will give you the tools and methods to manage and raise money for projects while nurturing brilliant ideas. By participating in programs like Launch at Berkeley Haas, for example, venture capitalists, angel investors, industry veterans, mentors, the other members of your cohort, and successful alumni will help you build a fundable company.

If you do decide to enroll in business school, it’s important to have the right expectations about what you will experience as a result of your studies. Earning your MBA won’t bring you overnight business success. But it will equip you with the tools you need to give it everything you’ve got.

Looking for a business school program that specifically supports intrapreneurs? Explore how a Berkeley MBA can empower you to become a successful innovator within your company.

Compare Berkeley MBA programs

Posted on August 27, 2019
Themes: MBA Benefits
Liz Rosenberg
Liz was Senior Associate Director of Admissions for the Full-time MBA Program at Berkeley Haas from 2018-2019. She holds an MBA from Boston University and came to Haas after gaining years of experience in retail for Gap and Gymboree, in financial services for Putnam Investments, as well as engaging in significant non-profit volunteer work. Prior to joining the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program, she spent 7 years in admissions for Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals. She loves her work in admissions because of the connections she's able to develop with students, all of whom bring such amazing diversity of personal and professional experience to the program.