Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Programme for Entrepreneurs

Among various projects that I am considering doing is one that involves creating a global programme for Entrepreneurs. 

As always, things that I do represent a coalition of interests. The current conversation involves someone I have known for a long time, and respect for his business savvy, backed by investors wanting to leverage UK qualifications in the global markets, and primarily in China. My role will be to craft a programme that works, and I am setting myself to the task as earnestly as I can.

However, I have always harboured doubts about degrees that look to certify entrepreneurship. For one, I think it is a purely defensive move: I can not think of a person who would be a successful entrepreneur in the end trying to an MBA in entrepreneurship first. Besides, while I do not deny that there are things entrepreneurs need to learn, I would always see entrepreneurs as men (and women) of action, who needs to learn not from text books and lecturers but from the action itself. I have failed enough times to know entrepreneurship is not business planning - and, therefore, exploring what a course can teach entrepreneurs.

These 'objections' are not, I should add, about denying the need for a programme for entrepreneurs, but to set the framework for the task at hand. I know what this programme should not be: This should not be made up of endless lectures and assignments on how to do business. They should not be about innate principles of economics or marketing, but about action, engagements and understanding of real life. And, indeed, the key thing for me is to make this 'Global' - an opportunity to connect and collaborate, to refresh the ideas and open minds to new possibilities, by bringing together people from different places and backgrounds.

The point, of course, is that an MBA is an MBA, and not the needs of the learners, but the frameworks that the regulators set, take precedence. It is always a fine balancing act to manage these, alongside the ideals that I enumerated. Right now, at this stage of ideas then, I am thinking of different models: What if the MBA has no teaching at all, but rather real work which gets translated into credits? What if there are no essays or examinations, but just a reflective summary of an entrepreneur's life? Living within a start-up ecosystem in London or Cambridge, the two places we have in mind to deliver this programme, can be another very interesting aspect to integrate, and such experiences could be transformational to an young African, Chinese or Indian graduate.

This is all new and exciting kind of work for me, the kind of challenge I love to deal with and have spent most of my life doing. Even the regulatory bit does not bother me much, as I have lived in that world all too often. This one project is a signifier of what is changing in my life - I am moving from things that I had to do to things what I really want to spend time doing - and it is indeed changing fast.
 


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