Over 11% of women who choose to go to grad school come out with a Master of Business Administration. There’s a good reason for this degree’s popularity: MBA programs equip you with essential business know-how. You’ll graduate from business school with invaluable skills for leading and growing startups.

School Is a Safe Place for Trial and Error

Entrepreneurship often involves a lot of trials and failures. These experiences provide great opportunities for growth, but they sometimes come at a cost. What if you could learn the same lessons in a lower-risk space? That’s what an MBA program can do for you.

In grad school, you can test out new ideas and bounce them off your classmates and faculty advisors. By the time you graduate, you’ll have amassed a collection of tips and tricks that you may be able to put into real-world practice. You’ll also be a lot more savvy about strategies to avoid.

Plus, an MBA program can help you get to know yourself better. If the curriculum’s entrepreneurial experiences resonate with you, you’ll know you’re on the right career path. If not, you can adjust your plans before sinking time and money into a startup for which you lack passion.

Learn How to Grow a Business, Not Just Start One

Only about 60% of new businesses last three years. Earning an MBA can significantly increase your chances of startup success. In one survey, 84% of businesses led by MBA graduates were still going strong after three years.

Why does an MBA make such a big difference? Consider how many responsibilities you’ll have as the owner of a new business. Without a large staff to rely on, you may be in charge of budgeting, taxation, data analysis, supply chain management and more. You might not know how to handle those tasks right now, but business school will equip you with the right skills.

An MBA program will also teach you how to manage growth. A booming business is only a good thing if you know how to handle it properly. By studying others’ growth experiences, you can learn to build a scalable business model from the very beginning.

Connections Make Your Business Better

Business school may help you raise more capital for your ventures. In one study, MBA students and graduates were 20% more likely to own businesses valued over $100 million than their peers without that education. Although many factors probably contributed to the difference, one of the most influential may have to do with the connections built during grad school.

During an MBA program, you’ll have countless opportunities to network with others. You’ll interact with faculty, work closely with fellow students and hear from current business leaders. In programs with interdisciplinary components, you can also build connections with students from other departments. During internship experiences, you’ll get to work one-on-one with people in the field.

If you foster these relationships, they may last you for years to come. The people you meet may become business partners, investors or advisors who help you lead your startups to success.

Exceptions for Why You May Not Get an MBA

Do you have a startup that’s fully ready to go? If so, pausing your plans to make time for business school may not make a lot of sense. Time-sensitive startups should be launched right away before someone else gets to your idea first.

Just make sure that you’ve done your homework. If your business plan is still shaky or you’re short on funding, take a step back to make sure that you’re really ready to launch. If not, rethink the idea of forgoing MBA preparation.

Fuel Your Startup with an MBA Education

You have the drive to become an entrepreneur. Pair that passion with the solid foundation of an MBA education, and you’ll be ready to launch thriving businesses.

Like many with an entrepreneurial spirit, you’ve already got a busy life. Thanks to courses that you can fit around your schedule and learning materials that go wherever you go, online graduate programs offer the most flexible approach to preparing for startup success.

Joy Miller is an author for and helps connect prospective college students with degree programs at top universities across the nation. Follow us on twitter @mydegreeguide.

Business women stock photo by El Nariz/Shutterstock