NASE Blogs

You Aren’t Born To Be An Entrepreneur

Friday, July 15, 2011

Posted by Sung Yoo - In college, I took my first entrepreneurship class the last semester of senior year. It was the first intro class I’d taken since sophomore year, and I was a bit peeved when I entered the lecture hall and realized we had assigned seating. "What is this, high school?" I remember muttering under my breath.

However, my initial disgruntlement turned into amusement when Prof. Costa, the health-care executive-turned-professor, shocked the class with his frank assessment of the upcoming semester: “I know you guys took 101 for the easy A,” he declared. “It’s easy to get an A here as long as you do the work.”

In a nutshell, that’s exactly what I learned that semester. As an international relations major, most of my courses taught me how to be a thinker, an analyzer and an arguer. I was good at those things, but the entrepreneurship class taught me that in the real world, it’s just as much about how you do it as what you know.

The class was structured in a way where there were a whirlwind of deadlines to meet, and Professor Costa wasn’t bashful about the fact grades were given out subjectively. Because that’s exactly how it is in the real world – subjective. You need to know how to say the right things, how to defend yourself, how to meet deadlines and give the impression of competence. Even if you don’t have all the details figured out…

As a NASE Member, I think you must know exactly what I’m talking about. You can only be a great business owner if you are not only good at your craft, but also know how to work the nuts and bolts to make everything come together. You may be a great real estate agent, but you better know how to be a marketer, an accountant, a publicist, and even a human resources professional. You fill all these roles, learn on the fly, and use resources like the NASE to understand how to navigate the chronicles of the self-employed.

That’s why I think you would be pleased to learn that according to a new study at Babson College, entrepreneurship is taught, not born.

A survey of nearly 4,000 alumni found that taking two or more entrepreneurship classes strongly affected a student’s decision to pursue start ups. According to Babson professors who conducted the research, this serves as empirical evidence that “entrepreneurship should be taught not only for the production and training for entrepreneurs but also to help students decide if they have the right stuff to be entrepreneurs before they embark on careers for which they may be ill-suited.”

But what if your college days are long over? The NASE can help you learn more, whether it's with educational articles and other resources in our Business Learning Center, or a Succeed Scholarship™ to pursue continuing education or training. 

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