We recently spoke with several of our alumni entrepreneurs and CES Director Ted Zoller
in a piece for GMAC
about the importance of entrepreneurship education. Here are some of the things they said:
How do business schools really teach entrepreneurship?
“To be relevant in today’s economy, business schools have learned that business by definition is more practice than theory. We have adopted the model of ‘learning by doing,’ and bring entrepreneurship and the market into the classroom through experiential classes. In virtually every course, our students are exposed to successful entrepreneurs and the ventures they founded. I like to say that when you are working with a new venture, you are joining their management team. And in some cases, they actually do!”– Dr. Ted Zoller, CES Director and Senior Kauffman Fellow
What was the most important thing you learned in business school that affected you as an entrepreneur?
“Effect change—don’t just be an audience. Find something you believe in and take action; that’s truly the heart of entrepreneurship. Going to business school made me see what was possible—I realized that if I truly want to do something, it can be done.” – Sumit Vohra, CEO and Founder, Lonerider Brewing Co. (MBA ’07)
What do you do differently because you went to business school?
“Business school taught me the value of frameworks and gave me stronger strategic and quantitative tools to assess opportunities. I take a much more collaborative and fact-based approach to decision-making now. As a result, I have the job of my dreams running a very unique company. Prior to getting my MBA, I lacked the managerial acumen to succeed in such a position.” – Danvers Fleury, Chairman of Pruvop (MBA ’08)
How do business schools extend entrepreneurial thought beyond start-ups?
“What differentiates our work in entrepreneurship is that we continuously consider business models that fuel growth. We make a clear distinction between a startup and a “grow-up” or a firm that has the staying power in the market and develops a value proposition that demonstrates high-growth. We look at the full equation for fuelling growth, from innovation to human capital to finance, and develop business models that next appear among the INC500, making the transition to the Fortune 500. These ventures need serious leaders with serious entrepreneurial DNA. We help our students think through what it takes to lead a venture through growth and success, and hardwire this into their management thinking.” – Dr. Ted Zoller, CES Director and Senior Kauffman Fellow