Can Business Schools Teach an Entrepreneurial Mindset?

Educators and business leaders look at what entrepreneurship really is, and whether it is a skill or ideal that business schools can teach learners.


Marc van der Chijs: [00:05] The role of business schools in developing entrepreneurs is really about making people understand that entrepreneurship is a real possibility for anyone. First of all, they need to make people aware of entrepreneurship. Then they need to make them understand that entrepreneurship is actually very hard.

00:30] Many people think an entrepreneur, you're going to get rich, it's an easy life. But it's actually a very, very difficult life. People need to make sure that they understand that it's a rollercoaster with some really high highs, but also some very low lows. It's a life of often having sleepless nights, worrying about business 24/7. That's important that business schools teach people this.

[00:54] When people go through this and realize that it's actually hard, the best ones only will try it out. Too many people try to become an entrepreneur without realizing how difficult it actually is.

María Paola Podestá Correa: [01:05] There's been a whole ongoing discussion as to whether business schools can educate an entrepreneurial mindset or not. I think we can. We can trigger interest. We can trigger discussions. An entrepreneurial mindset is not only useful for your own company, for your own venture, but also for already existing companies, already existing ventures.

[01:40] An entrepreneurial mindset will be useful in any industry, will be useful in any country, at any age, at any stage of your life, because you don't have to necessarily make it become your own business.

[01:57] You can use your entrepreneurial mindset, and the entrepreneurial mindset has lots of tools that it can put to work and put at the service of other companies that are already around, that already exist.

van der Chijs: [02:13] You need to know the core things taught in business school to become a successful entrepreneur. Simply because when you start out, you're normally on your own or maybe there's two people there.

[02:22] But you need to understand accounting, you need to understand marketing, you need to understand how organizations work. These things, it takes time to learn those. You learn those in university or in business school, you have a big advantage over other entrepreneurs.

Correa: [02:36] I do believe business schools have been very responsible in the sense that it has, as I said previously, been an ongoing discussion. It is always there in our reality—what to do with entrepreneurship, how to be more entrepreneurial, how to, as business schools, have an entrepreneurial mindset. Not just our students and our alumni, but also our business schools.

[03:02] I believe we have a big role in fostering entrepreneurship and in fostering entrepreneurial mindsets, no matter the profession and no matter where that entrepreneurial mindset becomes a reality.

Filmed April 2019 at AACSB's International Conference and Annual Meeting (ICAM) in Edinburgh, Scotland.