Well, to talk about education being a pre-requisite for entrepreneurship we have enough real world examples that shout out loud that it aren’t. The likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and the list can go and on.
But, lets face it – Entrepreneurship has become the buzz word ever since the Dot Com boom happened and every Tom, Dick and Harry website attracting truck loads of funding (especially during earlier dot com boom). So much so that the mere mention of entrepreneurship now attracts major attention.
The obvious effects of the hype around entrepreneurship has glorified it so much that now most of the MBA programs run courses in entrepreneurship and some even have specializations in it. So, now of all other things MBA degree is considered a ticket for becoming an entrepreneur. So much so that some colleges openly flaunt their MBA programs as a ticket to achieve entrepreneurial ambitions.
There is a certain amount of connect here when it comes to the concept of a MBA degree and entrepreneurship. But from what I have been noticing in the recent times is that the whole connection has been blown out of the proportions both by prospective MBA students and the colleges.
Even I am guilty as charged but then being active in the start-up community, I think it is not the education part of any MBA course which helps one become an entrepreneur, it is something very fundamental which is often overlooked. It is the Diverse Network that a global MBA degree exposes an individual to. I am a little biased here with the International MBA’s here in terms of the exposure and the diversity of the student body. Moreover, International programs focus on Work-Experience which brings a lot of real time business learning to the whole experience.
A MBA degree does not teach entrepreneurship , it provides the platform to foster entrepreneurship.
I had a chance to visit an education fair recently which saw a lot of international B-schools participate. For every stall that I went in , the most commonly asked questions ranged from "How much of an entrepreneurial focus does the college have?","Is there a list of successful entrepreneurs from the college?" and some variants of the same question.
It was this one answer from one school professor that made a lot of sense to me. When being asked about the question on Entrepreneurship, his reply was a very straight-forward but bang on point none the less.
"We don’t create entrepreneurs and neither teach entrepreneurship, we teach general management and create business leaders. "
This is by far the best take on the connect with an MBA and entrepreneurship that I have heard. It looks obvious and straight forward but then the hype around MBA for Entrepreneurship has overpowered it.
MBA degree does not make one entrepreneur, it only facilitates it.
- It provides the kind of environment that might encourage some creative thinkers to become entrepreneurs.
- It puts together like minded thinkers to ponder over a common problem and leverage their cumulative skills to innovate
- It teaches the fundamentals of the business and then throws it upon the students to challenge the existing practices to better them.
- It can to a certain extent facilitate interactions with existing entrepreneurs.
There might be numerous other benefits that a MBA degree can offer in terms of entrepreneurship skills but it for sure cannot teach entrepreneurship. For that matter, I think no one can because the basic premise of entrepreneurship is the extended version of Learning By Doing which transpires as Learning By Doing Things that have not been done before or Doing Things Differently.
It is the anatomy of an entrepreneur that makes all the difference and without that, no amount of education can make one an entrepreneur.
What are your thoughts on the overrated linkage between Entrepreneurship and a MBA degree or do you think that MBA degree is indeed a ticket to Entrepreneurship?