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USA Today:MBA Grads Create Their Own Jobs by Launching Firms | SBDC UNF

USA Today:MBA Grads Create Their Own Jobs by Launching Firms

New hiring is down dramatically, and new grads are in the fiercest competition for jobs since the late 70’s. This USA Today article discusses the entrepreneurial attitude of thes grads in the wake of a down economy. Here at the SBDC, we are getting local grads from JU and UNF (as well others), who seek to create their own niche through entrepreneurship.
By Kim Thai and Laura Petrecca, USA TODAY
Faced with a bearish job market, many soon-to-graduate MBAs have dismissed the idea of making their marks — and big bucks — at Wall Street investment banks. Instead, a bevy of B-schoolers are launching fledgling firms.

Among the planned ventures: food companies, technology firms and real estate development.

“We have seen an increase in students wanting to take the entrepreneurial route,” says Roxanne Hori, director of career management at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “More students have come forward and said, ‘I think I’m going to start my own thing.’ “

Kellogg MBA student Tiffany Urrechaga, 36, had hoped to break into education management after graduation. She previously had worked as a preschool teacher and a consultant. Yet when her job search yielded no offers, she took some advice from her mom: “In times of dark despair, look within yourself to come up with creative ideas.”

‘Part of the journey’

Urrechaga, who graduates in spring, teamed with classmate Pavan Singh, 32, to start an English-teaching company named Gyan, specifically servicing rural India. The two are looking for funding and are trying to iron out other details.

“I was not envisioning myself as an entrepreneur when I started school, but this is part of the journey,” Urrechaga says. “It’s kind of a blessing that I didn’t get a job because I was able to reshift my thinking.”

Other students are embracing the entrepreneurial spirit.

Applications to Rice University’s yearly business plan competition shot up to 344 this year, a 45% increase over 2008. This month, 42 finalists pitched ideas to win prizes such as venture capital. Contenders included MBAs as well as students from other graduate-level educational programs.

The event, by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and Rice’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management, doled out more than $800,000 in prizes.

Despite the sour economy, Columbia University MBA student Thomas Campbell, 30, says it’s a perfect time to pursue budding business ideas. “You want to ride the market back up to the top,” he says. “We’re just going to go up from here. The worst thing you can do is start a business when (the market) is at its peak. You’re sure to fail.”

Campbell, who graduates in May, has launched Diversities, a company that focuses on real estate development.

In past years, MBAs often had longer-term entrepreneurial plans — such as starting a company five to 10 years after graduating, says Michelle Antonio, director of Wharton MBA Career Management. But because of factors such as fewer job offers in the financial sector, many are acting now.

Yet the decision for a student to be his or her own boss comes with major financial risks, especially because those graduating with MBA degrees can have $100,000 in student loan debt.

Columbia MBA student Mark Trayling, 27, says the financial stress of starting a business weighs on his mind.

He wants to launch his business, which would improve medical tourism, six months from now. But he feels pressured to succeed because there is no backup source of income, such as a paycheck from a full-time job.

Campbell also is worried about making money after he graduates, but he’s trying to remain optimistic.

“It’s crazy,” he says, but “we’ve just got to have faith.”

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