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Can Colleges and Universities Teach Entrepreneurship?

Universities Teach Entrepreneurship

While modern MBA programs offer a number of entrepreneurship programming starting from formal coursework to startup competitions and incubators, there’s an excellent degree of scepticism around the concept of entrepreneurship being taught by academics during a classroom.

Countless successful entrepreneurs never visited any graduate school — many didn’t even graduate from college. Moreover, developing the penchant for imagination, disruption, and counterintuitive action required for effective entrepreneurship doesn’t generally fit into a typical graduate school curriculum defined by abstract analytical models and precise calculations.

This approach often comes within the concept that schools should teach entrepreneurship in a similar way to how other subjects are taught: by providing students with models and tools from published academic research on new venture creation.

While this philosophy could also be helpful for more mature startups, also as for helping founders avoid common startup pitfalls — like choosing the incorrect co-founder, accepting poor venture finance terms, or making suboptimal product decisions — it’s less useful for entrepreneurs handling extreme uncertainty.

Educate Students to Embrace an Unknowable Future.

The current pandemic illustrates the importance of preparing entrepreneurs to face an increasingly complex, uncertain world. Future leaders must be educated to look at the uncertainty of our unknowable future not as a drag to be solved, but rather as a reality to be embraced.

After all, within the unknowable future, all leaders will get (or need) to be entrepreneurs: visionaries who will imagine, adapt and act swiftly to deal with whatever challenges come their way. Business schools shouldn’t delay in adopting new teaching philosophies that empower a subsequent generation of entrepreneurs — to satisfy these challenges.