She Flipped It – Entrepreneur to MBA: Unpolished MBA Podcast
Recently, our very own Sheffie Robinson made an appearance on Unpolished MBA. Unpolished MBA is a podcast dedicated to looking at the value of startup experience instead of corporate experience. The idea isn’t that one is better than the other, but instead, they explore the value in both.
Sheffie went on to discuss her experience with entrepreneurship and how it relates to her MBA program. The idea that someone needs to complete an MBA program to have the knowledge and skills to start a business is completely flipped on its head when Sheffie talks about her accomplished career as an entrepreneur before going through the program.
How It Began
Sheffie talks about her start as a small business owner at age 6 when she started reselling candy at a markup. At age 6! Being self-taught in coding, Sheffie showed her entrepreneurial spirit by creating intricate tools for game currency. In 2015, she opened her first software development firm called Touco Direct. In 2019, Sheffie launched WPClover as a development and hosting platform, and in 2020, she merged it all to make Shamrck Software, a full website and business management suite.
Why Get an MBA Now as an Entrepreneur?
Sheffie explains that despite already being an entrepreneur, getting an MBA is validating. Starting as a self-taught coder, there is a stigma as a one-trick pony. Are you really a coder, or did you just learn one little trick? Being a black woman in tech, especially, presents a unique challenge where people don’t want to believe that you accomplished something on your own. She recalls having people look her up on LinkedIn right on the spot just to make sure she’s not just putting her name on someone else’s work. The MBA speaks volumes to a particular crowd who want to know you have the “credentials” to back up your words.
There’s also the idea that people expect you to have an MBA. For Sheffie, people assumed that because she’s an entrepreneur, she already completed the program. Graduating an MBA program is self-validating too. You know you have the skills to run a business, but now you have the proof.
The Pros and Cons
MBAs have a lot to offer. Learning about things like corporate finance and understanding how to be a better financial steward for her company. Sheffie talks about working with ideas like differentiating fundraising tactics when you have physical products versus software.
Conversely, Sheffie discusses the gaps between higher education curriculum and real-world cases. These curriculums don’t necessarily keep up with the times and can leave students lacking in certain areas. Since her program is done in cohorts, she’s able to share some of her real-world knowledge with classmates who otherwise might miss out.
You can listen to the whole conversation here on Unpolished MBA’s website or other platforms.
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