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Rise of Tech Spurs Business Schools to Focus on Entrepreneurship

MBAs are becoming popular for would-be founders to fill skills gaps and build their networks.

Wharton’s Tangen Hall at the University of Pennsylvania.

Wharton’s Tangen Hall at the University of Pennsylvania.

Source: KSS Architects

Armin Rachwalik founded his first company in 2017 through an accelerator program, seeing an opportunity to provide management and communications software as a service to landlords. The startup, called Mieterland, had a dedicated user base of about 50 clients, but Rachwalik ultimately shuttered the business when the accelerator program ended, unable to find investors to help it grow. He says he wants to take another stab at entrepreneurship someday, but with more skills at his disposal. So the 26-year-old signed up to HEC Paris’s 16-month MBA program to fill the gaps. “There’s a specialization here on innovation and entrepreneurship, and a lot of electives like entrepreneurial finance,” Rachwalik says.

As the tech sector grows, schools are retooling their MBA programs to cater not only to graduates seeking jobs at Big Four accounting firms but also to students looking to work in Big Tech and would-be founders wanting to round out their skills and expand their networks. The shift—which has been going on for years—requires business schools to balance traditional courses such as accounting, finance, and economics with ones on entrepreneurship, innovation, and artificial intelligence. Even large consulting firms are looking for graduates with tech skills—EY, dissatisfied with the abilities of its new hires from B-school, started its own MBA last year.