Category Archives: MBA

Does an MBA Help in Running a High-Tech Business?

Question (on Quora): Does an MBA help in starting up and running a technology-based business? 

My Answer on MBA for High Tech

I have an MBA degree and I bootstrapped a software company past $10M annual sales and was a co-founder of another software company that went public in less than four years. And the truth is neither yes or no, but somewhere in between. The value of the MBA depends on who you are, what you want, what other options you have, what you give up, and where you are in career and the more important rest of your life, like relationships, having children, etc.

MBA degree for high tech business

My case with my MBA and high tech

My MBA degree made a huge difference to me as entrepreneur. I would never have managed without the general business knowledge I got in business school. Having a good basic idea of finance, marketing, product development, and organizational admin was essential to me. It changed my risk factors from too high to acceptable. I set out to build my business on my own without any savings or any investors and while being the sole income for my family (at that point we had 4 kids). Knowledge, in my case, reduced risk. So that’s a direct link to this question of whether having an MBA helps. I’m just one data point, but still … my experience is real.

For the record, my MBA wasn’t easy. It was a lot of sacrifice and a lot of risk. I did it at Stanford while married with 3 kids and paying my own way by consulting, supporting my family, without scholarship help. I quit a good job to do it, turned down a transfer from Mexico City to Hong Kong, which I had wanted for years. And I’m very grateful to my wife, who encouraged me to do it, and promised me she’d stick with me even if I failed.

Two important qualifiers

One important factor for me, which might be relevant for others, is that my MBA experience was rooted in the objective of changing careers. I wanted to change directions, not continue in the direction I’d been going. I’d been a business journalist and I wanted to move out of Journalism to business. I didn’t want to write about it; I wanted to do it.

Another factor for me that might help others is I didn’t expect magic. I was already 31 years old, married 9 years, father of 3. I didn’t expect to learn leadership, when and how to take risks, or how to deal with people (i.e. empathy) in a classroom. What I did expect to learn was the intricacies of finance and cash management, accounting, marketing, some sales (ugh – I’ve always hated sales), some product development, decision sciences, and basic analysis.

However, please don’t misunderstand me – I’m not saying that the MBA is good for every entrepreneur or any specific entrepreneur or you, specifically, as you read this answer. I am saying that it was extremely good for me, in my case, and might be as well for somebody else in similar circumstances. Can you afford to do it? Do you have the time? Are you in a position to take advantage of it? Are you already full speed in a career you love or looking to pivot? All of these factors are important.

Three additional thoughts

  1. There’s no doubt that times have changed, and that the relative value of an MBA degree in 1981 is less than it is now. MBAs are much more common these days than they were then and it doesn’t take an MBA degree to understand supply and demand.
  2. MBAs need ripening before they get their full value. Some would say that it would be a good investment to buy fresh new recent MBAs for what they’re worth and sell them for what they think they’re worth. I’ve been an employer for 30+ years now and I like my MBAs much better when it’s their second or third job out of school, or a few years after school.
  3. I believe the MBA degree these days is a lot more valuable from one of the top schools – Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Northwestern, Babson (for entrepreneurs) and the like – than from second or third tier. The supply and demand factor has heightened the perceived difference.

Reflections on MBA experience

Gilded GraduationThe prestige of the MBA degree is tarnished quite a bit since I got mine in the early 1980s. And that’s for pretty good reasons. With the world of startups like it is, and the progress of high tech, there are some good arguments against stopping a career for two years to go back to school. Still, my two years with the MBA were the right thing for me, for my family, and for my entrepreneurship. Everything is case by case.

So I find myself reflecting on my own MBA experience, and MBAs as a stereotype, and what the MBA degree might or might not mean today. The following thoughts come in no particular order.

  1. The curriculum used to be a lot more about business analysis than about doing business. Things have changed for the better though, because now entrepreneurship is all over the MBA world now, and MBAs are much better off for it. When I was at Stanford University the entire “small business” curriculum was one course — an excellent course, but still, just one — taught by Steve Brandt.
  2. I screwed up the recruiting process myself and chose the wrong job for the wrong reasons. That story is in this blog as a stupid mistake. I was hardly the only one. I saw somewhere that 80% of the MBAs of my time changed jobs in less than a year after graduating.
  3. The two years I spent studying business were among the best of my adult life. My wife and I and our three kids moved from a fifth-floor apartment in Mexico City to a townhouse on campus at Stanford, for half the rent. I enjoyed the classes immensely.  Our kids had great elementary school on campus. We needed only one car.
  4. I had a friend a few years older than myself who already had the MBA degree when I met him, before I had thought of it. He always said “it’s just a union card. You get it so they pay you more.”
  5. After the first quarter as a full-time student I couldn’t take the pressure of the bank account going one way only, withdrawals and no deposits. So I worked as a market research consultant with Creative Strategies for the rest of my time studying. I made a  full-time consulting income, but  because I was a an early adapter of technology and I did most of my work at home, it was still a good time for family.
  6. By the end of the two years, some of my classmates were disappointed that they had been taught business analysis more than business. I wasn’t disappointed at all, I had learned what I went there to learn. I expected them to teach me stuff that lent itself to chalkboards and lectures and readings and they did.
  7. I wasn’t the typical MBA student. I was 31, married, had three children, and had supported my family for years as a business journalist in Mexico, making more money freelance than on salary. I figured that whether I knew how to deal with people or not, they weren’t going to teach me that; they were going to teach me what I wanted to learn, the analysis.
  8. Getting there was hard for us. It involved quitting a fairly good job in Mexico City and moving back to the United States without a job. I had just won a long-sought-after transfer to Hong Kong, which I had to turn down. That was a hard choice. I’ve never regretted it.
  9. It was expensive. I paid my own way.
  10. Samuel Johnson said that the ultimate happiness is anticipation of happiness rather than realization. During those two years studying, family life was close to idyllic for us so the present was really good, and the grapevine kept telling us that the future would be much better.
  11. It was a lot of work, but it was good clean work, and it made sense.
  12. I’ve dealt with some young people fresh out of business school with shiny new MBA degrees who were full of themselves, ignorant and arrogant. I’ve dealt with some who weren’t. Generalizations suck. Still, generally you want an MBA 10 years later, not in his or her first job out.
  13. I hated the group projects. I had a family to go back home to, and consulting work to do, and group projects had too many people who liked the social aspect of group meetings too much. I usually tried to negotiate a chunk of the project we could separate from the rest so that I could do my part on my own, without going to meetings.
  14. I had been doing business-journalist work for several publications, of which the most well known was Business Week (as McGraw-Hill World News correspondent for Mexico). I was amused sometimes that some of what I did after the MBA was very similar to what I’d done before the MBA, but for much more money.
  15. MBA studies are best for people who’ve had significant work experience first. I don’t know if that’s three years, or five, or seven, or what. I had been out of school eight years when I started.
  16. What’s with the people who put the letters onto their business cards and behind their names on websites, like they were CPAs or doctors or something? Isn’t that awkward? I always think if it isn’t MD or PhD or maybe CPA (for commercial reasons) then it makes me nervous to see it there. Is that just me or what?
  17. Final thought about MBAs: I deal today with a collection of very smart people between the ages of 30 and 40 who have picked up so much business savvy in 10 or more years of high-tech business that I don’t think they should go back to school and get an MBA degree. I do wish there were a test somewhere, like the GED for high school, so these people could take the test and get the [expletive deleted] MBA seal of approval they deserve.

So how to conclude? It’s up to you, and your situation, whether it’s right for you. And, at the very least, don’t hold the MBA against those who have one.

Does Business Education Stifle Creativity

Business Education vs. Creativity

Education

Does business education stifle innovation and creativity? You probably already know Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, from 2006, Do Schools Kill Creativity? It’s one of the five or so most viewed and most discussed TED talks. His basic idea is that school focus too much on the academic, not enough on other kinds of intelligence. He was talking about classic elementary education mostly. What about business, and business education?

I have trouble myself with some of the recent themes about education and entrepreneurship. I shudder when people ask, “Why get an education if I’m going to be an entrepreneur?” And then there’s the other one, “you can’t teach entrepreneurship.” I’m somewhere in the middle on these controversies; I believe general education makes life better; that the value of education isn’t to be measured in earnings dollars after education; that a liberal arts education is great preparation for entrepreneurship; and that an MBA degree was useful to me and can be to others, but isn’t a universal requirement, by any means. I’ve posted here previously 5 things business schools can teach and 5 things they can’t. And also, can business schools teach entrepreneurship?

The James March Question

But there’s also this idea, always in the back of my mind: the talk I had with James March, way back in the 1980s, about how higher education teaches us to do what everybody else has done, not to do things differently.

The best class I took at the Stanford Business School during my MBA years (1979-81) was taught by Professor James March, co-author of the book An Introduction to Models in the Social Science. It was about the same subject. He was funny. He was contrarian. He was brilliant. He had a mathematical model of a cocktail party that predicted how many people would be passed out at the end of the party, based on inputs including how many couples, how many singles, and, particularly important, how many more male singles than female singles. That may be too gender-specific for today’s world, but it was applicable 30 years ago.

I liked and respected Prof. March so much that in the middle 1980s I tried to get him to join me in what would have been a venture to create a game that teaches business. Prof. March didn’t join me and I didn’t create the new venture. I continued with my business plan consulting instead.

I’ve never forgotten the conversation we had in his office that day. I can’t remember the exact words, of course, but Prof. March reminded me that there is an underlying conflict between education and creativity. He was an educator, but he was also a contrarian and a thinker, so he enjoyed flanking our standard assumptions.

“Schools teach conformity,” he said. “Education is about reinforcing the supposed right way of doing something, meaning the way we’ve always done it, the way the establishment expects us to do it.” Schools taught that the world is flat until a renegade proved otherwise.

“New ideas come from people that haven’t been indoctrinated,” he said. This was of course before the phrase “think outside the box” came along, but he would have referenced that if we’d been later in time. Schooling is about learning how to think inside the box. If you believe this line of reasoning.

Here again, I run into paradox. I believe in education but I also believe what Prof. March suggests. Is the answer that you have to know the fundamentals before you transcend them?

My Dumb MBA Mistake

I’ve made a lot of mistakes. You can’t build a business from scratch without making mistakes. It’s an entire category on this blog, more than 150 posts. This dumb MBA mistake wasn’t my worst, but it’s one of the easiest to explain afterwards, and I hope one that might help others avoid making it too. There is a moral to this story.

Mexico-City-Kainet-Flickr-ccIt was August of 1981, early morning, in the office of John Lutz, managing partner of McKinsey Management Consulting in Mexico City. I was three months out of Stanford with an MBA degree, working for McKinsey Management Consulting in Mexico City.

The McKinsey offices sat in a very stylish high-profile office building overlooking a critical freeway junction over Chapultepec Park, linking the fancy Las Lomas residential area with Polanco and the Paseo de Reforma main business district. The streets were wet from rain overnight, and the freeway was, as almost always, jammed. The sky was dense, a mixture of rainclouds and smog.

I needed to quit. It was so embarrassing. I didn’t like to see myself as the archetypical fancy MBA blowing off the first job. I was 33 years old, married, and my wife was expecting our fourth child. I was way too mature for this stuff. But still …

I had arranged a job waiting for me with Creative Strategies International in San Jose. From where I was, returning back to the San Francisco peninsula, Silicon Valley, seemed like returning from exile back to paradise. I liked Creative Strategies, and liked living back in the states. I wanted out of McKinsey.

I really didn’t like the job with McKinsey. It was stupid to have taken it. It was a job meant for a 26-year-old single person blinded by ambition and unencoumbered by relationships. Like most professional firms, success involved putting up with a corporate culture that spent 12 to 14 hours a day in the office, whether or not there was work to be done. The firm actively discouraged families by encouraging long-term business travel but without families, and by running 5-day strategy meetings at beach resorts and forbidding families coming along, even at the family’s own expense. I was not supposed to disagree with partners on … well, you get the idea.

I certainly didn’t belong. I’d been entrepreneurial for 10 straight years, making my own way with freelance journalism and, later, my own consulting, and I wasn’t up to faking awe for the partners. And as a family, we didn’t belong in Mexico City. I had loved that place for nine years in the 70s, it had been good to me, but I was done. My wife is Mexican, she grew up in Mexico City, and had family there, but she was tired of it too. The city was too big, too hard to deal with. We had left in 1979 and shouldn’t have gone back in 1981. I fell for the money and prestige, stupidly, because it wasn’t enough to keep me.

So, back in the office with John Lutz, did I tell him why I was leaving? That I didn’t like the job, had made a bad decision, didn’t like Mexico, I’m sorry, it won’t work.

No. I didn’t. I told him I needed a lot more money.

This is one of the best arguments ever for telling the damn truth, even when it’s embarrassing. I’m still embarrassed, but I’m older now, and, well, I think this is a good lesson to share.

So they gave me more money, and then how dumb did I look?

I still left, and I left looking really stupid. Why didn’t I just tell the truth in the first place?

So there’s the moral to the story. You’ll be in a situation where you’re tempted to slant away from the truth to make it easier, but remember before you do how bad you’ll look if the other side answers the wrong issue, forcing you to admit it was never the real problem. So here there is. It bothered me for a long time but that was 25 years ago or so, and hey, I’ve made a lot of other mistakes since, the sting has worn off on this one. I hope you find the story useful.

(Image: Mexico City via Kainet Flickr CC)

True Story: A Great Presentation Wins Big

Do great presentations launch businesses? Not always, perhaps, but sometimes, yes. And in this case, yes. Or maybe it’s just a great business. 

I was in Austin TX at the event last Saturday when NuMat Technologies, a startup launched at Northwestern, won the University of Texas’ Venture Labs Investment Competition.   I was also at Rice in Houston two weeks earlier when NuMat won the Rice Business Plan Competition

Both of these victories matter. The Venture Labs competition pits winners of other competitions against each other. It was the first of the big MBA-level business plan competitions when it began in 1984, and bills itself as the SuperBowl of these contest. The Rice version has the highest payoff, more than $1.5 million total prizes, and close to $1 million for the winners. Both of them require at least one MBA student, from any accredited institution, for eligibility. Both of them include startups from Asia, Latin America, and Europe. 

I haven’t read the NuMat business plan, but I did see the NuMat pitch, which was sensational. The key was explaining the science just enough to be credible, focusing on the business, and keeping it clear and flowing from point to point. I hope NuMaT  will do an online video of that so you can see it.

In the meantime, I’ve embedded a very short YouTube video that explains the science surprisingly well in just about one minute. Clearly, somebody on this team is a good communicator: 

If you don’t see that here, you can click this link to see it on YouTube. The quick summary is that it seems  poised to change the way gases are stored. Think about those very heavy metal compressed gas tanks like the LNG fuel tanks in LNG-powered vehicle. Think what would happen if the same or more gas could be stored in a new substance that wouldn’t let it leak but wouldn’t require compression. This looks like a real game changer. 

Conclusion? Yes: hey NuMat, post your pitch online!

Is it Possible That MBAs, Like Wine, Need Aging?

It occurs to me that I’ve had many good experiences, with hires and colleagues and business contacts, with people who had MBA degrees and years of experience. And I’ve had generally bad experiences with young MBAs fresh out of business school.

You could guess the reasons. Arrogance and entitlement come to mind.

Maybe it’s a matter of seasoning or tempering that fresh knowledge with some of the battering that comes later. Arrogance and entitlement leave a lot of sharp edges that time and experience wear down.

I am no different. As I got older, I found that my MBA studies gave me a better vision of the whole business, the forest as well as the trees; and I was glad for that. I’m sure that it helped me in business and was worth its weight in money many times over. And what I got from the degree wasn’t a higher salary, it was the knowledge to make my way on my own.

On the other hand, fresh out of business school, I recruited into a fancy and prestigious position with McKinsey Management Consulting, and I fell flat on my face. I disliked them, and they disliked me. (I did a post on that mistake here). I hated that job.

I’ve heard that fewer than one in five MBAs lasts even a year in the first job after business school.

Do you think there’s a pattern there?

(Image credit: JakubPavlinec/Shutterstock)

Is Education Missing its Target or Just Aiming at the Wrong Target?

I’d like to think that business education should be about education more than business. It should be about leadership, perspective, and vision, more than about analysis, buzzwords, jobs, and salaries. But is it? Or is that just the kind of high-sounding stuff we write when looking back, years later?

Rethinking the MBAI’ve seen two important pieces on higher education and business education in the last week, one questioning the idea of the MBA, the other questioning higher education in general. While the Harvard Business School writes about a glass half full in The Future of MBA Education, Seth Godin writes about what he calls The coming melt-down in higher education on his blog.

The Harvard post summarizes a new book called Rethinking the MBA, by David Garvin,  Srikant Datar, and Partick Cullen. It’s about six cases of well-known business schools (including Stanford, my personal favorite) revising their programs to deal with a changing world. In the interview, Garvin says:

Yet rebalancing from the current focus on “knowing” or analytical knowledge to more of what we call “doing” (skills) and “being” (a sense of purpose and identity) must occur. Business schools need to think innovatively about how best to use the resources available to them. For example, there are many exciting opportunities to engage alumni in the learning process.

Seth Godin calls his bleak picture “as seen by a marketer.” He predicts “meltdown” in higher education for five reasons:

  1. Most colleges are organized to give an average education to average students.
  2. College has gotten expensive far faster than wages have gone up.
  3. The definition of ‘best’ is under siege.
  4. The correlation between a typical college degree and success is suspect.
  5. Accreditation isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.

He makes several very good points. This observation seems all too true:

College wasn’t originally designed to merely be a continuation of high school (but with more binge drinking). In many places, though, that’s what it has become. The data I’m seeing shows that a degree (from one of those famous schools, with or without a football team) doesn’t translate into significantly better career opportunities, a better job or more happiness than a degree from a cheaper institution.

In both cases, to me, it’s about confusing education with job training and job placement. If you measure success by average salaries and job placements, then as a society you substitute job training for education. The target is growth of the person, not growth of the income.

I have to admit that I started thinking about getting an MBA degree when my dad showed me a newspaper story about MBAs getting high-paying jobs. So now years later, I write about education first; but for me it was about changing careers, from journalist to business.

That worked for me. I did change jobs. However the real value, as I look back, was in the classroom, what I learned, much more than the step up to the next job. Years later, what I expect from somebody with an MBA degree is a better view of the whole business, from finance to marketing to operations, human resources, and so forth. You might work in one functional area, but you have basic understanding of the whole, not just your specific part. And you have a sense of what business analysis is like, how and when it’s useful.

Or at least, that’s what I hope. I’ve also posted on this blog my thoughts on what business schools can teach, what they don’t teach, and questions to ask before getting an MBA.

MBA or Start My Business?

Question: I’m 35. I feel like I hit the rock bottom in my career path and I’m totally lost. Some people I know recommended getting an MBA. scales and booksOthers say it is a waste of time and money, since I am too OLD by the time I get the degree, and no one would hire me. Actually I know some unemployed MBAs around me. It is scary! So my question is, does MBA open a lot of doors? Or, should I just keep the money to start my own company?

That’s a tough one: MBA vs. start your own business.

If ever there were a good reason for business planning, this is it. Do that business plan first, to break your uncertainty down into more manageable pieces. Be honest about what you can sell, how much, and how much it will cost you. It’s not just generic start a business vs MBA, but rather, start this specific business, given this business plan, vs. MBA. That’s a huge difference. Are you hitting  the startup sweet spot or just dreaming?

If you come to me with some generalized idea of a new business, or looking for what kind of business to start, selecting from lists of interesting new businesses, then forget it. Do the MBA. Or don’t. But a vague general longing to start some business or other isn’t the same as wanting to start a specific business, based on your strengths and weaknesses and what you want to do, defined in a business plan that makes sense and indicates it is a viable business.

I suspect you emailed me because of my Read This Before You Get an MBA post on this blog earlier this month. And for your situation, I stick with some of the things I said in that post. Specifically:

  • Don’t do it for the money
  • Don’t do it if you hate school
  • Don’t do it if you can’t afford it

To your specific question, though, about an MBA opening a lot of doors: not necessarily. A lot of MBA programs include strong career resource programs that put a high priority on placing their graduates into good jobs; but some are better than others. Some times are better than others. I was 33 when I finished my MBA, and being that old was not a disadvantage at all. But times change. I had classmates at Stanford who were in their late 30s (a very few) and some thought their age was a recruiting disadvantage.

What worked for me, and might work in your case as well, was the MBA came at a time when I was bored and uninspired with the career I was in, and looking for a change.

But you also should realize that there are no guarantees. There are a lot of unemployed people with fancy degrees, and that includes MBAs. The degree is something you do for yourself, for your own personal growth, and not just to find a job. Or at least that’s what I think.

So do a business plan. Then ask yourself that question again.

(Illustration: Daria Filimonova/Shutterstock)

Read This Before Getting an MBA Degree

Here I am, father of five grown-up children, 37 to 22 years old, all of them working in small high-tech companies, all of them college grads, two of them with graduate degrees. And, while my MBA studies were exactly what I wanted, and worked great for me, not one of my five kids has a business degree, much less an MBA. Yesterday somebody asked me why that is. This post is my response.

1. Don’t do it for the money

Search Google for Is an MBA degree worth it? and you’ll find lots of people showing that the average incremental income linked to an MBA degree doesn’t compensate for the expense plus the lost income for two years. They’ll use buzzwords like opportunity cost. Ironically, I’m sure my MBA degree paid for itself in money terms many times over, but the analysis seems to indicate I’m the exception, not the rule.

So why do it (and if you have to ask, that’s a bad sign)?  You do it because you want to learn about business: entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, operations, strategy, management, planning, and so forth.

2. Don’t do it when you’re on the way up

Don’t ever quit an exciting new job to go get an MBA degree. Do quit a boring job or one you’ve mastered so much you’re not learning any more. Do use an MBA effort as a catalyst to change locations, the life you’re living, your business interests. Don’t do it when times are good.

3. Don’t do it if you hate school

If getting your undergrad degree was a long hard haul; if you don’t like school or classes or homework or teachers; then you’re going to hate the MBA program. You know who you are: some people like school, and some don’t. If you don’t like school, even if you successfully dragged yourself through it because you’ve got good discipline and you’re highly motivated, then you’re going to hate the MBA classes. And that’s hell. That wasn’t my case. I’d grown up (finally) when I went back to school.

4. Do it at the best school you can get into

Listen carefully for a while and you’ll start to hear people saying so-and-so is “Harvard MBA” or “Stanford MBA” or “Wharton MBA” and so on, in a way that changes the title to incorporate the school name. Northwestern also works for that, Duke, Babson, and for sure a few others (and I apologize for leaving them out). I have to recognize that this is easier said than done, because they are tough with admissions and expensive, but there is a difference between an MBA from one of these name schools and the MBA from one of the others. Even that return-on-investment analysis that I brought up in point 1 above looks much better when it’s an MBA from a name school.

5. Don’t do it if you can’t afford it

My wife and I worked my way through. I didn’t have scholarship or family money. I worked a lot at consulting while studying full time. We ended up with a lot of debt. But in the end, we were able to afford it. It was a lot cheaper back in 1979. If you can’t make the money side of it work, if it’s going to be two years of financial hell, don’t do it.

6. Don’t sacrifice a lifelong relationship for it

There’s a catch 22 problem here: first you have to say, if it’s a matter of either your marriage (or a lifetime couple relationship) or your MBA degree, forget the MBA. Lifetime relationships are way more important. But the catch is: in a healthy relationship each person makes the other one better. When I quit a job to get an MBA my wife encouraged me. “Let’s take the risk,” she said, “if we fail we fail together.” We’re still married. If you’re married or in a real long-term relationship, and your spouse, partner, or significant other doesn’t like the idea, it could easily destroy your relationship. That’s too big a sacrifice.

And be honest with yourself on this point too: if you really want it and the boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t care enough about what you want, realize it’s a bad relationship anyhow, one person pulling the other down, then go get the MBA anyhow. Meet somebody new.

Yeah, I know, that last bit has too much paradox.

Note to MBAs: Drop the comma MBA, Please!

imageI just got another email from somebody whose email signature is “So-and-so, MBA.” Which reminds me of the business cards, and letters, and promotional material I see where people brandish those three letters after their name.

I don’t think that “MBA” thing behind your name works out for you.

imageHave you heard the joke about how to create a small business? The answer is take a medium business and put an MBA in charge. And the magic MBA investment formula for guaranteed profit? The answer is buy MBAs for what they’re worth and sell them for what they think they’re worth. Do you know how many people blame MBAs in general for the current financial disaster?

It’s not a matter of licensing and regulation, like MD or CPA. It’s just a master’s degree. In this country alone, accredited institutions grant several hundred thousand masters degrees every year. That’s not including the fake degrees.

So that MBA you earned? Put it on your resume, put it on your blog’s “About” page, and put it in the management team section of your business plan when seeking loans or investment. Use it to know what you’re talking about. But leave it off your name.