Entrepreneurship Beyond the Curriculum

Entrepreneurship Beyond the Curriculum: Insights on the Business School Ecosystem
Andy Specht, Director, Roadmap Market Research

For some business schools, entrepreneurship goes beyond the curriculum. For the better part of a decade, many higher education pundits have opined that the digital revolution will disrupt the institutions of higher learning and fundamentally change how we define a college education. Online programs, MOOCs, learning management systems and online textbooks are frequently cited as the primary disruptors of higher education. In many business schools, however, the biggest disruptor has been institutions’ development of entrepreneurship ecosystems.

Campus Ecosystem

Teaching entrepreneurial skills is nothing new to business schools, but some are taking the concept several steps further through the development of campus ecosystems that encourages entrepreneurial-minded students to take their ideas to the next level. In addition to entrepreneurship curriculum, institutions are now offering legal, technical and even financial support through grants. Many schools also hold competitions that allow students to showcase their ideas in front of real investors. According to the website for UC Berkeley’s LAUNCH, the student startup competition “…is a transformative startup accelerator program and competition that guides companies from validated product to fundable business. Participants have access to proven development curriculum, world-class mentors, and real venture capitalist feedback.”

Developing Entrepreneurial Skills

While cultivating and supporting a new generation of entrepreneurs is the primary objective of higher ed entrepreneurship programs, they benefit non-entrepreneurial students as well. In 2014, Bloomberg Business conducted research with employers to understand what skills they are looking for in potential employees. According to the survey, strategic thinking, creative problem-solving, leadership skills and communication skills were the skills that were most in-demand by employers but least commonly held among job applicants. It is no coincidence that these skills coincide with successful entrepreneurship – a successful entrepreneur must be able to communicate, strategize, think outside of the box and, of course, lead. The benefits of institution-backed entrepreneurship ecosystems are innumerable. Preparing students for a changing economy, teaching in-demand skills and fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation only scratch the surface. Entrepreneurship programs are innovating universities and transforming how they deliver education and add value to their communities.

LAUNCH: http://launch.berkeley.edu/
The Bloomberg Recruiter Report: http://launch.berkeley.edu/