My concentration (B-school buzzword for “major“) in the undergraduate business program at UM (Ross) was Entrepreneurship. Many people have asked me what that means and what I learned. Unlike finance or accounting, there is no real definition of what an entrepreneurial education is. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what I was going to learn going into it. Now that I’m in the real world, it all makes sense.
Entrepreneurship is not learned in the classroom or from a textbook. You have to get out the door and experience things firsthand. As a student of entrepreneurship, I started many different ventures while in school that ranged from a music blog to a social fundraising platform. I’m proud to say that most of them failed and are no longer in existence. Why am I proud to say that you ask? Failure is the greatest way to learn. It teaches you how to take ownership of something real, look at and approach real world problems and analyze your actions after the fact so you can improve your efforts next time. Real world experiences teach you that things usually don’t work out as planned. For entrepreneurs, there is always a next time. Whether your ventures fail after 5 years or IPO in 10 months, that ever-so-persistant entrepreneurial bug will start to itch again very soon. How you constantly improve yourself is what we entrepreneurs like to measure.
My greatest takeaway from B-school came from all my previous ventures. Startup events like Techarb’s Student Startup Showcase and Detroit Venture Partners’ and Ludlow Ventures‘ Funded by Night forced me to present my ideas in an organized, easy-to-follow fashion to avoid embarrassment infront of rooms full of people. I used to emphasize and explain a technology that only techies would understand instead of a simple concept that even grandparents would understand. Giving powerpoint presentations at these events and to venture capitalists taught me how to clearly translate what’s speeding around in my head into a concise, confident presentation. After my “Strategy and Implementation Plan” presentation last week to the board here at Stark, I now realize how valuable a skill articulating clear and organized thoughts is. That is the most valuable skill I acquired from a B-school entrepreneurial education.
As a mentor of mine once said, “Every time an entrepreneur opens his mouth, he is pitching.” My friends all know how much I like to talk. Thank you B-school for teaching me how to actually say something instead of just blabber.