I’m thrilled that “entrepreneurship” is now a major you can study in school. In fact, you can get a master’s degree in entrepreneurship. College is a time for focused, intense learning no matter what subject you pick. Same holds for business majors and entrepreneurs as it does for doctors and lawyers.
Dilbert creator Scott Adams has a great story about how he learned to run a business during college. Unfortunately, aspiring blogger Ivan Schneider has a different idea and would rather you study art or history… or simply drop out if you want to build a business.
Now, if you’d rather drop out and start a company like FaceBook or Microsoft because you simply can’t be bothered to learn the difference between credits and debits, have at it. But I can tell you from experience that in entrepreneurship there are far more failed dropouts than there are winners like Zuckerberg and Gates.
In fact, ask any serious entrepreneur and they will tell you that most companies fail not for lack of passion but for poor execution. The kind of execution that can be taught in a few short years at B-School… or learned the hard way over decades of trial and error.
Ivan says “drop outs and artists” can make billions from their passion alone. Take his advice and you’ll soon be acquainted with the term “starving artist”.
I say that great companies — great entrepreneurial companies — are not the result, as Ivan puts it, of “creativity taken to the extremes of imagination” but rather the rock solid execution of a fundamentally valuable process. (Often executed so thoroughly and efficiently that there is very little passion left in it!)
Yes, there is a growing wave of universities offering entrepreneurship courses or majors — and even MBAs — including my favorite, Queens University in Charlotte. And at each of these, students learn deep, important lessons about business, including how to tell a great strategy from a merely good one. And how to project cash flows. And how to build a business bigger, better and faster.
I like liberal arts as much as the next guy (and my business degree allowed plenty of it). But students who want to write great literature should study Shakespeare. Students who want to heal people should study medicine. And students who want to create rock solid businesses should study entrepreneurship.
Take it from me — or, take it from Dilbert — Entrepreneurship ain’t just for drop outs anymore!