Sure, some B-school partnerships work, but for every successful startup there are hundreds more that quietly combust. Consider these common pitfalls before starting a business with a B-school friend:
* Sharing the same work history. Many MBA students have experience in investment banking, private equity, or consulting, but a successful start-up requires professionals with entirely different kinds of perspectives and expertise — for example, a technologist with the technical skill to build a worthwhile product, and a product person with a solid handle on entering the market.
* Not sharing the same values. It’s tempting to assume you hold similar values as your friends, but unless you’re asking each other very tough, pointed questions, each of your values may be unknown — and there is no more fertile ground for conflict than a fundamental mismatch of values.
Adapted from “Don’t Start a Company with Your Business School Pals” by Michael Fertik.