Sherif Kamel, dean of the AUC Business School at the American University in Cairo, shares why entrepreneurship should no longer be a singular focus in business curriculum but an embedded element throughout programs.
Sherif Kamel: [0:05] Business students, education, schools, when they focus on entrepreneurship, they should not be focused on a course or a seminar. It's an ecosystem that has to be built within the school. Today, it's through the material that's being taught, the way it's being taught, the access to the market, whether mentors, supporters, start-ups who succeeded and failed.
[0:36] Schools who want to really have an impact when it comes to entrepreneurship should build an ecosystem around that subject. They should build a mindset that is not just directed towards building up companies and creating job, but it's the way to do business, how to impact the community, how to become agents of change.
[0:56] Many schools do that. One of the platforms they use to do that is having an accelerator which compliments what is being taught in the classroom. It's a bit experiential learning. It's a bit some stuff taught in the classroom [indecipherable] , but also a practice when they interact with these startups.
[1:12] Looking at entrepreneurship as a technical field by itself versus looking at it as part of the business studies, I look at it more on a horizontal level rather than vertical level. I look at people when they are taught marketing, finance, strategy, HR, or IT. They should know what entrepreneurs think like, how they see things, how they take risks, how they think differently.
[1:35] I don't see entrepreneurship being taught in a course or two, like Intro to Entrepreneurship, but more or less embedded in the different courses. Again, it's part of creating the mindset of people who do not really want to go and work for a company but are more risk-takers, more innovative, more creative. They want to go out there and be different.
[1:57] In that sense, it should be embedded right, left, and center in the curriculum.
[2:00] When it comes to entrepreneurship and innovation, it should not be confined to the campus. It should also reach out to the community. Stand-alone accelerators or university-based accelerators, they usually pull resources from the campus.
[2:14] They also open up for opportunities coming from outside campus. I think that's the role that universities and business schools should be playing. They should not limit access to the faculty, to the resources, to their mentors network, and what have you, to only the students.
[2:28] What I mean by students, also not students in the business schools. I always believe that this should be interdisciplinary. Whether they come from social sciences, business, sciences, engineering, they all complement each other. Surely, that also impacts the community. That's, actually, magnifies the impact of business schools across the society.
[2:48] Engaging with industry when it comes to business school I think is key. Being confined to theory, in-class discussions, and so on gives a good experience, a good exposure in terms of knowledge, but they do not really tackle the day-to-day operations and successes and failures that happen to industry.
[3:06] The more bridges are being built between business schools and business and industry, the more the learning curve of the students is magnified. Not just between themselves, but also when they interact with the community once they graduate. I think it's a building process that prepares them to their career once they graduate.
Filmed February 2020 at AACSB's Deans Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.