Is it smart to go to school for entrepreneurship?

9 aspiring tycoons tell FSB how the classes they took affected their businesses.

Diana Nguyen, 33
The Professional
Diana Nguyen, 33
University of California at Irvine
Business Extension Program

When I started my career as a family physician, I worked in an HMO in Los Angeles, where I was expected to see 25 patients in four hours. I don't remember having any meaningful conversations with my patients. How could I, when each appointment lasted ten minutes?

I opened a part-time private practice in Irvine in October 2004, while juggling my HMO job. I kept hiring employees who didn't have the right skills. Finally, in 2006, I joined the National Association of Women Business Owners to get help. I applied for a scholarship the group offers for new business owners and won $5,000. I used some of the money to take a class at the University of California School of Business in Irvine, which had an extension program that taught entrepreneurs how to find talented employees. That class helped me to identify a great office manager. She had run her own business, selling her own clothing line. When I interviewed her over the phone, she ticked off a list of ideas on how to market my practice better. I knew she would help me expand my business.

To avoid feeling pressured to rush patients through their exams, I decided to stop working with insurance companies and to ask patients to pay out of pocket. I discovered that patients could not afford it, and that slowed the growth of my practice. That experiment lasted a year.

I went back to NAWBO, where I took a two-day course in developing a business plan. I decided to focus on noninvasive cosmetic medicine, such as Botox injections and thermage, a medical procedure that uses heat to stimulate and tighten collagen in the skin. My mother was a cosmetologist, and I've always had an interest in esthetics. Now I see only five to eight patients a day - and they know they won't have to wait to see me.
- As told to Elaine Pofeldt

The Professional

The Undergrad

The E-Learner

The Hybrid

The Idea Guy

The MBA

The Serial Entrepreneur

The Owner

The Heir
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.