The art of the entrepreneur

The Art of the Entrepreneur

LONDON, England (CNN) — Business education,
especially an MBA, is designed to prepare students for life in the
corporate world, notably finance and consulting, correct? Well, not
always.

art.gates.jpg

Bill Gates: The man many entrepreneurship students would like to emulate.

While many people leave schools intent on climbing the corporate ladder
all the way to the boardroom, increasing numbers of other students sign
up with another ambition in mind — setting up their own business.

This has led to a boom in schools offering courses in entrepreneurship,
everything from specialist MBAs to undergraduate programs.

The
first question is, of course, can entrepreneurship be taught? Bill
Gates never spent a couple of years sitting in a lecture hall before
starting up Microsoft, a skeptic might note

The answer has two
parts: Of course, the initial inspiration and drive which leads someone
to come up with a business idea and work flat out to make it a reality
is innate and cannot be learned.

However, there are myriad other
challenges to setting up your own business, everything from startup
finance to patents. And once it’s up and running, many traditional
skills — accounting, marketing, the lot — come into play.

With
this in mind, a new league table of business schools specializing in
entrepreneurship aims to point the ambitious and driven towards the
best program.


Jointly run by Entrepreneur magazine and the Princeton Review, it lists
25 leading graduate schools and the same number of undergraduate ones.

However, experts in the field warn that perhaps even more so than with
the equivalent league tables for traditional MBAs, the ranking should
be treated with caution given the huge range of options on offer.

"The most important thing is to understand what you want out of your
entrepreneurship program," Sherry Hoskinson, director of the University
of Arizona’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship in Tucson, ranked
third and fourth on the graduate and undergraduate lists respectively,
told the study.

"There are programs that exist to deliver as many different opportunities as students are looking for."

For example, while some programs teach students the basics of launching
a business — and then help them do it — others aim to pass on more of
the essence of entrepreneurship. Others still fill more niche markets,
for example environmentally conscious business startups.

At
number one in the graduate school list is the Lloyd Greif Center for
Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Southern California’s
Marshall School of Business.

Fact Box

FT MBA Rankings
1. Wharton, U.S.
2. Columbia, U.S.
3. Harvard, U.S.
4. Stanford GSB, U.S.
5. London Business School, UK
6. Chicago GSB, U.S.
7. Insead, France/Singapore
8. Stern, NYU, U.S.
9. Tuck, Dartmouth, U.S.
10. Yale, U.S.
Source: Financial Times 2007

Among the impressive figures for the school are that it offers 20
different entrepreneurship courses and that 10% of its 900-plus
students have already started a business.

Perhaps most importantly, every single faculty member is, or has been, an entrepreneur.

Students are thus taught by "prac-ademics" who know what it is like to
have "made and missed at least one payroll," says Thomas J. O’Malia,
director of the Greif Center.

"We’re dealing with a culture that blends the best of academic research with the people who have been out doing it," he adds.

Many recent graduates of the top rated schools are already out there trying to make their fortunes.

Amit Nar, 22, wrote his business plan for a clinic treating sleep
disorders while still at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts,
listed as the top undergraduate entrepreneurship program, and launched
the company this September.

"Entrepreneurship is the heartbeat
of this school, and that’s what I wanted — I wanted to be surrounded
by people who are very passionate about entrepreneurship," he says

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