Other schools such as UC—Irvine, for example, cater to various kinds of entrepreneurs with multiple incubators.
• What kind of students can join? An MBA candidate with a business idea is an obvious fit for incubators, but they are not the only type of students who can benefit from the experience.
Some students join with the hopes of helping others build their business, says Baecker. Working in a group can have long-term benefits.
"We stress that entrepreneurship is a team sport," he says. "If you try to do it alone, that is probably the best way to ensure that you will fail."
In a group setting, students may feel more accountable for not completing a task because their business partners will also be let down, Baecker says.
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• How long can students use it? Because an MBA student's first year is usually spent managing school work, students typically get involved with incubators during their second year.
Incubators understand that it can take time for a new business to find its footing. Some allow entrepreneurs to stay for one or two years, even after a student has graduated.
Others give new businesses more time. At the Missouri Innovation Center, businesses developed through the incubator can stay as long as they need to.
• What are the challenges of working in an incubator environment? Business school students sometimes team up with someone with a more scientific background to get a business off the ground. In this setting, students can develop an inferiority complex about not having technical skills, says Halliday of the Missouri Innovation Center.
Even if someone is able to physically build a product, not knowing how to market it or control financing can still lead to failure, making an MBA candidate a particular asset.
"They are perhaps even the most valuable member of the team," Halliday says.
He encourages students entering an incubator to be ready to work hard. The long hours needed to launch a new business can be grueling.
"New ventures consume every minute and every ounce of energy," he says.
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