Why business schools are relevant

It is no secret that Millennials hold tech entrepreneurs in the highest regard.

They enjoy the fact that these individuals have revolutionized the world not by pursuing a path laid out by others, but by completely shunning measures that in bygone eras were thought key to unlocking success.

In other words, they have forsaken the school-college-employment model of generations past, choosing instead to skip tertiary education entirely or drop out after a few years as they develop the kind of algorithms that can make them dollar millionaires overnight.

Many of those who have gone on to conquer Silicon Valley and other tech-heaving regions make a point of saying that a university or college education would actually have curtailed their ambitions. Their argument if often that existing course structures are too inhibiting to their creativity.

However economist Scott Shane cites numerous studies that have shown that business studies reduces business failures, and actually improves the health of companies, from employee wellness to profit margins.

“People with little education who become successful entrepreneurs are few and far between. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, your odds are much better if you graduate from high school and go on to college,” Shane told Bloomberg Businessweek.

“Many studies show that better educated entrepreneurs have greater access to external capital, lower business failure rates, greater business sales and employment growth, and more profitable ventures.”

It is worth bearing in mind that Shane’s insights pertain to the United States, where the venture capital community is so much larger than that of South Africa and other emerging economies.

Accordingly, the need for business schools in Johannesburg and other centres is in fact greater that it is abroad, given that seed funding is still difficult to come by for the majority of young South African entrepreneurs.

Like it or not, if individuals who choose to forgo tertiary education, regardless of their entrepreneurial drive, will find it difficult to convince backers like banks to invest in their idea without the necessary grounding.

Business degrees and diplomas are perhaps even more relevant now than they were a decade ago.

These days the business world is very precise in its day to day operations, and “winging it” or learning on the job is no longer an option.

According to the Young Entrepreneur Council , some valuable lessons young entrepreneurs will learn in business include:

  • The value of connections: These classmates are also aspire to be titans of industry, so it stands to reason that those you meets might be able to contribute to your own business down the line;
  • Operational management: Having the best idea in the world is all very well and good, but implementing that idea requires the ability to manage employees and process effectively. Business schools teach you how to do this.
  • Strength in diverse opinion: People will almost always approach a scenario differently, and learning to appreciate this while working on projects will stand you in good stead once your own business is up and running.
  • Interpreting reports: Clients want concrete results, so it is important to be able to read reports and analyze feedback correctly – a skill that one invariably acquires in business school.

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