By Clay Chandler

Clay is an author, editor and fellow at Hult International Business School where he follows technology, economics and global business. He is a former Asia editor at McKinsey & Company, and has held senior editorial roles at Fortune, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Follow him on Twitter @claychandler

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What do Oliver Stone, Michael Lewis and Tom Wolfe have in common?

All three have practically made careers out of trying to discourage new MBAs from seeking careers on Wall Street.

Stone’s 1987 classic, Wall Street, was a parable of a good-hearted broker (played by Charlie Sheen, of all people!) corrupted by wealth and power. Liar’s Poker, Lewis’s best-selling 1989 memoir of his days at Salomon Brothers, depicted a world of insatiable greed and monstrous egos. That world was memorably lampooned by Wolfe’s blockbuster novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, which was inhabited by “Masters of the Universe” with big swinging…attitudes.

It was all to no avail. For the next two decades, the best and brightest from the world’s leading MBA programs stampeded into finance jobs. Worse, many cited the works of Stone, Lewis and Wolfe as the inspiration for their choice of work. By 2007, roughly 4 in 10 graduates of the world’s leading MBA programs accepted jobs with investment banks and the percentage aspiring for such jobs was considerably higher.

But has the herd begun to turn? The Economist, in a recent issue, suggests the Global Financial Crisis and the resurgence of Silicon Valley is, at long last, eroding the cachet of that once oh-so-satisfying statement: “I’m going to Goldman.” In 2013, The Economist finds, only 27 percent of Harvard Business School graduates chose careers in finance, down from 44 percent in 2007. At the London Business School, 28 percent of the class of 2013 accepted finance jobs, down from 46 percent in 2007. The magazine says declines at other leading business schools are much the same.

What’s going on? Part of the explanation is that there are fewer entry-level finance jobs to be had, and those on offer are offering less. The Economist also notes a revival in graduates’ interest in more buttoned-down (though still lucrative) jobs at the big consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain, the Boston Consulting Group and A.T. Kearney.

But the phenomenon also reflects the renewed allure of technology as a career choice, and the growing appeal of forsaking a salaried job with an established corporate giant for the freedom and fulfillment of launching a venture of one’s own.

Is an MBA really the right credential for a job in tech or becoming an entrepreneur? The age’s most celebrated founders—Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg—didn’t even bother to finish college, let alone slog through B-school. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos received his undergraduate degree from Princeton in engineering. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page never studied management; they have PhDs from Stanford in computer science.

“Thiel believes people with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism, make good entrepreneurs”

Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel contends business degrees crush innovation and individuality. In a recent appearance at the Stanford Graduate School of Business to promote Zero to One, his new book on entrepreneurialism, Thiel denounced MBA programs as “full of the anti-Aspergers – people who are hyper-social with no real convictions.” (To make sense of that comment, it helps to know that Thiel also believes people with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism, make good entrepreneurs because they aren’t afraid to pursue their own ideas in the face of criticism from others).

Even so, many B-schools are scrambling to beef up course offerings for entrepreneurs, and many of them now offer a variety of other resources including mentoring networks, venture internships and small business incubators. Harvard’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship was named in honor of a San Francisco-based venture capitalist and HBS alum who helped launch Apple, Intel, Teledyne and Scientific Data Systems. And here’s an irony: Thiel’s book, Zero to One, emerged from a series of lectures he delivered to Stanford B-school students as part of the university’s entrepreneurialism program.

Robert F. Bruner, dean of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, dismisses the assertion that entrepreneurs shouldn’t get an MBA as bunk. He points out that many successful entrepreuners – including Nike’s Phil Knight, Sun Microsystems’ Scott McNealy and eBay’s Meg Whitman (now CEO of HP), did get MBAs. “A great B-school education won’t guarantee success [as an entrepreneur],” Bruner argues, “but it should improve the odds. It will accelerate your growth, compressing years of hard knocks insights into a short time. It will build your business acumen and help you understand the pitfalls and risks on which other businesses have foundered.”

Do you have what it takes? Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker contributor and author of David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, contends the personality traits that make for successful MBA students aren’t necessarily the same ones needed to launch a successful startup. The key to success as an entrepreneur, he says, isn’t intelligence, creativity, or a willingness to work hard. Rather, Gladwell argues, successful entrepreneurs possess a combination of three traits: openness to new experiences, conscientiousness and “disagreeableness.”

As this is the founding issue of Hult Bento, we thought it fitting to take a closer look at startups and survey the pros and cons of using your business degree to strike out on your own. We recognize that, while Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area are still considered the mecca for innovation and new technology, we live an increasingly global economy and exciting ventures are springing up in other cities around the world. We offer insights from one of Hult’s leading experts on startups, innovation and plotting your career. And we take a hard look at the very real risks of starting your own venture.

If you’re planning on getting your MBA, Michael Lewis, he of Liar’s Poker fame, is betting you don’t have the moxie. In a recent Bloomberg column, he declared: “Technology entrepreneurship will never have the power to displace big Wall Street banks in the central nervous system of American’s youth, in part because tech entrepreneurship requires the practitioner to have an original idea, or at least to know something about computers, but also because entrepreneurship doesn’t offer the sort of people who wind up at elite universities what a lot of them obviously crave: status identity.”

Go ahead, we dare you: Be disagreeable! Start something! Make that Lewis guy a liar!