“A master’s in Entrepreneurship?” exclaimed my friend, in a disbelieving tone. “Why on earth would you want to study entrepreneurship? If you want to start a business you should, you know, just go out and do it!” His ramblings continued, “A master’s in Entrepreneurship! That’s like the ultimate faux pas” (my friend has this annoying habit of injecting French words in the middle of a conversation. He believes it makes him sound smart and sophisticated. I beg to differ).
The misconception about the role of academic training in creating and sustaining a successful business venture is more widespread than one might think. Whenever I talk to someone about my ambition of starting my own business one day, and how I believe studying Entrepreneurship at the graduate level is going to help me achieve that goal, I – more often than not – receive the same shrugged off reaction. I realized – to my astonishment – that people regard the ability to start a successful company as an embedded, instinctive thing “it’s like the ability to draw a stunning painting or compose a musical masterpiece. You either have it, or you don’t” as it was so eloquently put by one of my friends.
I’ve been in plenty of those conversations with people from all walks of life, and it always goes the same way. A couple of minutes into the conversation, I usually get presented with the damning evidence of the futility of my efforts: the names of prominent, poster-child entrepreneurs who dropped out of college to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams (and did so ever so successfully). I remember one of my friends shooting questions like bullets from a machine gun: “Did Steve jobs, your idol, study entrepreneurship? NO. How about Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook? NO? Oh… what about the founders of Google, Larry page and Sergey Brin? Where did they study entrepreneurship? They didn’t? Bill gates, then? Paul Alan? Jeff Bezos? Richard Branson? None of those business magnates studies entrepreneurship? Why would you, then?”
My friend leaned back in his chair with a swaggering smile on his face, thinking that he had me stymied. The one thing he forgot to take into account was that the famous entrepreneurs he mentioned are only the tip of the tip of the iceberg. We all know Steve Jobs, sure, but how many Steve Jobs “wannabes” have attempted to copy the great man, ever since he rose to stardom? Thousands? Tens of thousands? How many of them made it to the top, and became successful entrepreneurs? Only a fraction. We as humans tend to glorify success. That’s why the stories of those great entrepreneurs are ubiquitous: books are written, TV shows and movies are produced to celebrate the great entrepreneurs of our time. But how many books are there depicting the lives and struggles of failed entrepreneurs?
To make it as an Entrepreneur, you need much more than just a killer idea, fancy technology and sheer zeal. How would you even assess the business viability of your idea? How would you identify, segment and target your market? How would you determine your niche? How would you approach financiers? How can you pitch your idea in a way that will enthrall even the most skeptical venture capitalist? How would you develop your idea from an abstract concept to a living, breathing entity? (metaphorically of course, unless your venture is a replica of Jurassic park and in that case, kudos J ).
Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Do you want to be your country’s Steve Jobs? Do you want to be an emblem for entrepreneurial success in your community? It might be best for you to know what entrepreneurship entails, before you get any deeper. Do you want answers to the myriad questions above? Join a high quality master’s program in Entrepreneurship.