Business School Leaves Entrepreneurs Empty-handed

Entrepreneurship is a 24-7 job. It requires the willingness to look at different perspectives and the ability to generate new ideas. Modern entrepreneurs need to be flexible enough to keep up with technology and to recognize and adapt to changes in the market. They need intuition and resilience in the face of obstacles. Unfortunately, most of these skills are not taught in business school. In fact, many business classes hinder the development of entrepreneurial skills.

Bowling Green University recently tested the entrepreneurial skills of two different groups of business students. One group consisted of students who had experience running their own business, and the other was a control group that had only regular classroom instruction. The study tested the students in three areas vital to entrepreneurship; overall business capability, the ability to embrace uncertainty, and the skills to start up a company. The results of the study showed that entrepreneurs test higher in every category.

The entrepreneurs’ overall business capability was 7% higher than the students, they rated 4% higher in risk taking, and 2% higher in start up skills.

The problem is particularly severe for people who have achieved their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. One would think that a person that graduated with an MBA would be poised for any business situation, but many MBA graduates lack the entrepreneurial spark. MBAs leave school with unrealistic business expectations. They are trained on how to plan, and how to follow through on those plans. But, as many business owners know, things rarely go ‘by the book’ in real life situations.

The article “Robots with Swollen Egos” (a Canadian Business cover story) states that “business schools tend to churn out robots [who are] analytically or technically very skilled, but without enough common sense.” This might be the reason that many companies are hiring less MBAs and more professionals with Bachelor’s or other undergraduate degrees. While MBA recruitment was on the rise in the 1980s, a recent survey found that Human Resource directors are recruiting far less MBA graduates across the board, in America, Canada, and Great Britain.

Many business school graduates are uncomfortable with the ambiguity and loosely-structured, but complex, problems faced by entrepreneurs. They have loads of practical skills, but those abilities are often rendered useless because their classes have robbed them of some of the most vital business skills. Skills such as creativity, innovation, and risk-taking are either discouraged, or lost in the educational shuffle. The Bowling Green test showed that entrepreneurs are 4% more innovative than regular business students.  The students end up graduating without creative stimulus and innovative focus.

Many business scholars recommend that students take a few years off of school and work in the field before they enter higher learning. This gives the student a practical basis for their theoretical classes. An experienced business person knows that, in the face of serious problems, plans and theories pale in comparison the ability to think quickly. That is why real-world experience needs to be applied to business classes, instead of vice-versa.

MBA and other business classes may look very different in the future. Many universities realize that most business classes are not structured in ways that benefit people looking to enter the modern business arena. Future classes may focus on current issues such as globalization, recession economics, and real-world situations, instead of traditional academic studies.

That’s why our Business Mastery Programs are so popular – they teach entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses WITHIN the context and reality of their every day actvities – not in a theoretical classroom setting.

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