Friday’s Headlines: Entrepreneurship is Hot for MBAs, But Would You Be Better Served Going Into Financial Services?

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Entrepreneurship specialties are growing in popularity on business school campuses, reports Businessweek, but actually launching a sustainable, successful venture is another thing entirely. The magazine tracked down the winners of Rice Business Plan Competition’s 2007 winners to see how they’ve fared through these tumultuous economic times.

“Five years was enough time for the ideas that won over the judges to succeed or fail on their merits, and by focusing on the winners we hoped to discover how the ideas with the best chance of success fared in the real world,” the publication writes. The results?

Of the seven winners, three are still in business, and some generate revenue. These include:

  • Medical device maker Semprus Bioscience, which started with $1 million from family and friends and has since gained $30 million VC funding and 30 employees.
  • Feed Resource Recovery, which provides grocery stores and restaurants with cost-effective methods for waste disposal.
  • ImagineOptix, which licenses and develops video projection technology that can be embedded in phones.

The royalty-based business expects to be profitable in a year thanks to a recession-proof product that requires little overhead.

The experience of the 2007 winners is roughly in line with other winners of the Rice Business Plan Competition. Since its inception in 2001, 354 teams have competed in the competition. Of those teams, 199 have gone into business and 128 are still in business or exited successfully. The survival rate for the 2007 Rice winners also mirrors that of new businesses as a whole, whether started by new graduates or serial entrepreneurs. The Small Business Administration says that about half of all new businesses survive for at least five years.

Said Semprus’s CEO: "If you want to be an entrepreneur, be careful what you wish for—it’s a great and rewarding experience, but you are going to fail more than you succeed, and that’s OK.”

Despite the recent cutbacks, it might be more prudent to use your MBA to get a job with a financial services firm where your chances of success are somewhat higher.


Other News:

Swiss bank Julius Bär is changing its direction with the purchase of three non-American business of Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management unit. [Economist]

More small banks are issuing credit cards as new regulation makes debit cards less profitable. [WSJ]

Hedge funds open their kimonos with new regulatory forms. [Businessweek]

Citi’s private bank is redeeming $410 million from Paulson. [Bloomberg]

Egypt is a sweet spot for private equity. [NY Times]

Scandal and a run on deposits plagues Vietnam’s Asia Commercial Bank. [DealBook]

Woodbury Financial, recently acquired by AIG, has doubled down on retention packages in a bid to keep reps in their seats. [Investment News]

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