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BW Businessworld

Enterprisers Should Be Taught Too

ISME has the latest curriculum from Babson College, USA and works closely with the entrepreneurship ecosystem...

Photo Credit : ShutterStock

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With news headlines focused on entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and companies like Uber, Facebook, Air Bnb and Snapchat; and closer home, Ankit Bhati of Ola Cabs, Ashish Goel of Urban Ladder, Kavin Bharti Mittal of Hike, Ritesh Agarwal of Oyo Rooms, entrepreneurship has become the ‘it’ word in our daily lexicon – and everyone wants to be an entrepreneur!

Is entrepreneurship something that is in your DNA or is it a skill that can be acquired and learnt over time? There are two schools of thought – one that entrepreneurs are born with the natural skills and characteristics that make them cut out for business; and the other that whether you are born in a business family or an employed salaried family – entrepreneurs can be created anywhere with the right quality and amount of training, development and fostering.

Education has progressed leaps and bounds with the capability of modifying the topics they teach and the methods in which they teach them. With a boom in the startup world and the birth of entrepreneurial ecosystems, educational institutes and universities world over have not only recognized this, but responded/reacted to it with new age teachings and methodologies, specially customized and designed to meet the requirements of teaching entrepreneurship in a classroom.
In today’s startup age there are numerous business incubators and business accelerators that are successful in teaching budding entrepreneurs and innovators how to learn to start and build their own enterprise from scratch. These are taught through mentorship programmes, seminars, conferences and related industry events. If it can be taught through an incubation model, then it can certainly be taught through a systematic accredited educational system, i.e. universities.

There are two aspects to imparting knowledge: theory and practice. With entrepreneurship as a subject, theory is the tool required to apply it in practical circumstances. There are several esteemed B-schools and universities who teach entrepreneurship and teach it effectively – Stanford, Harvard Business School, MIT, and Babson, are some examples.

In India also there are several acclaimed institutes teaching entrepreneurship. Not to be left out, the Innovative School Consortium has founded the Indian School of Management and Entrepreneurship (ISME) to revolutionise the teaching of entrepreneurship and graduate job creators (entrepreneurs). Taking the best of the East and the West, ISME, where I am an executive director, has the latest curriculum from Babson College, USA and works in close collaboration with India Inc. and the entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem.

Modern techniques and approaches to teaching and learning have changed the ways in which education impacts students. Classroom lectures have been replaced with industry experts and guest lecturers. Students are given real life case studies to solve, mentorship programmes, boot camps, international faculty, along with internship and trainee programmes.

Real life entrepreneurial attributes such as persuasion, negotiation, timing of a sales pitch, spotting opportunities, gaining a commercial edge, mitigating risks, business acumen and gut instincts, have come to be of prime significance for students to truly grasp the essence of running a business.

One stellar example is that of the ISME students being included in the Eureka Forbes’ board meeting to discuss and strategise on their CSR activities. The students had to come up with a viable solution to provide clean drinking water to deprived communities. The students not only arrived at an innovative solution to this, but also a way to measure their success.

Modules and subjects have evolved with emerging trends and students learning entrepreneurship are taught risk management, go-to market strategies, entrepreneurial finance, problem solving strategies, social media and digital marketing, business law, leadership techniques, fundamentals of business plans, managing innovations, entrepreneurial sales, listening to the customer and developmental entrepreneurship.

Educationists argue that if practical subjects such as medicine and law are taught in classrooms which require both physical, practical and real life knowledge, then how different is entrepreneurship? It is true that entrepreneurship necessitates a certain amount of realistic knowledge, but nothing that can’t be learned without the help of experts, up-to-date pedagogy and a complementary academic approach. A large number of individuals, keen to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk, are seeing the power and impact of education and seeking entrepreneurial education.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Raakhe Kapoor Tandon

The author is founder, MD & CEO, RAAS Capital (India) and founder & executive director of Indian School of Management and Entreprenuership

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