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Roles for an MBA Graduate in a Startup

Business Development

Business development is one of the most common roles in a startup for people with a business background. As the article below suggests, business development can mean many different things, but it is sales-oriented in general. In an early-stage startup, this role can be very strategic and carry far more responsibilities.


Customer Success

As Lincoln Murphy, founder of Sixteen Ventures, says, “Customer Success is when your customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company.”


Product Management

Product management can be more technically demanding, but it is not rare for people without technical backgrounds to fill this role too. This role can get deep into product technology and plays an integral role in product roadmapping.


Data science

Data science is a great role for those with very strong analytical skills. The role gleans customer insights and informs product development. Typically, these roles become more in demand once a startup has reached a stage where it either has access to or is collecting large amounts of data.



Strategy is a role that helps startups develop and implement processes to achieve their long-term goals, including revenue models. An MBA graduate is particularly well-suited to contribute and thrive in this role. Early-stage startups often have a high demand for this role, especially when the team does not already have someone with a business background.



Marketing roles can take on many different forms, often depending on the stage that a startup is in. Early-stage startups often need help defining their target market, developing a product, and designing marketing campaign. Technology-based startups often develop technology first and later tries to find a suitable market, requiring someone who can assess different markets and commercialization opportunities. In late-stage startups, the demand for marketing talent can range from social media and community management to website and newsletter optimization using techniques like A/B testing.