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Stephanie Korey ’15BUS on Going to “Startup Grad School”

The cofounders of Away met at Warby Parker and show how they used early career experiences at startups to launch their own brand.

If you have dreams of one day launching your own startup, the idea of getting an MBA may have crossed your mind. After all, business schools are great at explaining how successful companies got off the ground and providing networking opportunities so you can connect with potential investors and cofounders. That’s probably why U.S. Department of Education data indicates that the MBA is the most popular graduate degree.

But Jen Rubio and Steph Korey, who founded the luggage brand Away last year, would encourage you to give business school a miss. “I actually got an MBA from Columbia,” Korey tells Fast Company. “But it was–truthfully–less helpful than startup grad school.”

A recent report from the global leadership consultancy DDI supports Korey’s reasoning. Students can only be exposed to conceptual learning, according to the findings, and they often aren’t able to hone necessary skills like being results-oriented or visionary. That and the cost can be prohibitive. In the U.S., tuition alone for a graduate degree can cost $30,000 at a public college or university and $40,000 at a private school, according to data from Peterson’s.

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