The B-School Route to Career Change By Francesca Di Meglio
Michael Guerrieri, 35 and a 2005 graduate of the evening/weekend MBA program at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, was a senior management executive in sales. But he longed to be an entrepreneur and build something from the bottom up. He decided B-school would provide him with a network of people who could offer advice and funding -- as well as give him the necessary quantitative skills to launch a startup.
Guerrieri credits B-school with giving him the confidence to take the leap. He's now working on two ventures as president and co-founder of Fresh Life Foods, a private label line that plans to deliver healthy snacks in vending machines, and as CEO of OnPar Technologies, a medical-services business that's trying to automate the prescription-refill process for pharmacies. And he's finding that practical experience offers challenges and rewards he never would have expected. "It's one thing to dream and another to execute it," he says.
Mustering the courage and wherewithal to make a major career change drives many people into B-school. But do you really need an MBA to pursue your passions (see BW Online's B-schools Forum, "Do You Need an MBA to Start a Company?")? Just about all the applicants, students, alumni, and administrators interviewed for this story said the degree wasn't necessary -- but it sure can help.