Dear MBA graduates (and to-be MBA graduates)- Ask yourself this:Do you want to develop software for the best company or do you want to be the biggest Software King?
One cannot much question, least argue, the vast knowledge a graduate receives during a business school program, but despite that, the most important lesson is baffling absent – The door to an entrepreneurial world.
The key to being an entrepreneur is in being an opportunity exploiter and not just a problem decipherer. When you're looking at shaping the future, who count more- are not those worrying about the fruits that have already fallen, but those who are looking for the new ripe ones for picking. Successful entrepreneurs have the skills to recognize an opportunity, devise a business plan that unlocks the worth in that opportunity, and eventually classify and ally the resources essential to steer its growth.
And do the leading business schools of today create such opportunity challengers? What exactly is the target of a business school? Is it to teach how to build a profitable business or is it to teach how to just work efficiently for someone else’s profits?
Every successful enterprise, big or small, was first born in someone’s vision. Someone had in his heart, the need to contribute something valuable to society, and the plan in his head, to profit with it. But why many dreams fail to materialise into reality is because it thrives not only on appropriate talent but also on apposite skills. And so the focal point of the academic rigor of a business school should be to nurture these dreams and help its graduates in acquiring the required skills.
An entrepreneurship-specific curriculum at a business school is necessary for today's entrepreneurs to create value for their companies, their customers, and their stakeholders. They need to teach them the philosophy of how a passionate person typically behaves in order to fuel the individual within and stimulate the entrepreneurial potential. They need to ask them if they have a personal mission statement. And for that they must conjure an academic atmosphere that orbits over self-retrospection and helps them discover what they truly want.
Factually speaking, B-schools of developing countries like China and India do recognise the need of entrepreneurial training and have included entrepreneurship as a part of their curriculum. However one might accuse the faulty method of training that makes the process more or less redundant.
Many management students complain that the first year ‘business plan’ is the only chance they get at their tryst with entrepreneurship. The chief component of the course otherwise is to learn the techniques and competencies to excel in a corporation and to analyse every industry to master the tricks of the trade. Through projects, case-studies, books, internships with companies, the employer’s experiences, quizzes and other campus activities they do learn the trick. Even the trick against the trick. But what they fail to realise is that a trick is never an arrow.
Unfortunately they are not trained on the rudiments. It’s almost always on working out someone else’s idea effectively. There is no initiative in making a student feel what it would be like to explore value niches of the market. The students are not given the opportunity to have try-outs. To break the code- do the different. Maybe they could try running a library at a hospital, sell fuel on the world wide web, fresh lemonade in a school or newspapers on the highway. This is the best time for them to make the trial and error method also tried and tested. Their academic years are the most secure and safest time-zone for them to discover the pros and cons, do their due diligence and weigh the odds in starting up a venture. To let them risk stepping into the shoes of entrepreneur tycoons like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Warner Buffet, and not just train them to only stepping into the industries of the above mentioned. At the end of the day, when the dust settles, these young minds must endeavour to be those who create the business and not those who just satisfy other people’s prospects.
And to redefine what corporate success means to a graduate, business schools must revise their curricula in order to generate entrepreneurial leaders. They must, at first, admit a more diversified class without compromising on academic rigour. And this can be done by doing a total three-sixty degree assessment of a candidate and not just using one common entrance exam as the ultimate criterion. They must also create a separate academic department, where one can major in entrepreneurship and has access to all appropriate courses and germane knowledge in that area. Besides having stand-alone courses, there must be a subsequent addition of experimental programs that allow students to apply their classroom knowledge into real-world challenges. The entrepreneurial outlook must be made to broaden into existing disciplines within the business school itself. They must egg on having frequent communication with existing entrepreneurs and motivate them to learn from their tales.
B schools must encourage their students to interrogate their own ideas and instigate in them innovative thinking. They must push them to look at uniting the world’s resources effectively, add distinct value to the society, pursue their passion and go all-out to realize their dreams. And to teach to think out of the box, they must themselves think out of the box. They must celebrate their rate of success in churning out entrepreneurial alumni and not just bask in the glory of highest pay-packs, maximum day-zero placements and large number of overseas employment converts. They must eulogize entrepreneurs who have walked the talk and could be a constant source of inspiration. To quit a well paying job and to begin a company from a scratch can easily be deemed as emotional and irrational, but those who chose to do so were highly inspired to believe. B-schools must inspire them to believe. Let go off your managerial outlook and kindle in them the fire of entrepreneurship.
And for kindling the fire of entrepreneurship, the management educators themselves must have one. They may find teaching students to walk the beaten road a safer bet than teaching them to make their own way. They may find it risky to urge someone to take risks, but then what could be a bigger risk in life than taking no risk at all?
The log-line being, all business schools must strive to fabricate a considerable number of misfits – because that is what defines being an entrepreneur- The uneasiness of nestling down into existing corporate structures. The motto of every leading business school should be in helping their students acquire three fundamental principles: Opportunity identification, Idea generation and Plan implementation.
Its like asking:
‘There were 100 sheep in a farm, one found a way to escape. How many were left?’
He who answers 99, may be a bit too inert to exploit the dynamics of a crisis without accounting for the intent in the solution. But he who answers none – if one finds a way, why’d others stay behind?, could be the entrepreneur who leads the cattle of the 99 managers.
Now it lies in the hands of leading business schools to hunt for this one sheep and train and support it to transforming into an entrepreneur our society’s future can successfully thrive on. Now it lies in the hands of leading business schools to give the society a leader it not only wants, but in the uncertain economic times we live, it most desperately needs.
This article is contributed by Abhilasha Dafria, who holds a Masters in Commerce and is now pursuing specialization in Foreign Languages. What do you think about this article? Feel free to reach out to her firstname.lastname@example.org