B School and Entreneurship - Two of the most maligned words today.
B School - Non MBAs, non Graduates but successful, all love to thrash/criticise premier B schools (PBS). To be fair to them, PBS think that the badge has been won by winning a war and hence need to be displayed, thrust into everybody's face at every given opportunity. This is more true on LinkedIn where you have Executive courses being touted around as Post Graduate, and of course how can one forget Twitter the favourite hunting ground these days for both sides.
Entrepreneurship - Another word that seems to attract more than its share of attention. Everybody wants to climb the bandwagon. There are 'Angels' to help; Support groups pop up regularly; Mentor, Consultants abound on LinkedIn who are willing to teach you how to become an Entrepreneur. All at a price, of course.
By virtue of age and professional experience I have had the good fortune of being invited on to the panel of a variety of industries, schools or colleges as we know them. A recent visit to a Premier B school gave me an opportunity to share my angst about these two words – and whether B school graduates make good entrepreneurs. Fortunately the students and faculty were similarly inclined and asked a lot of questions about 'Should we look at being/becoming an Entrepreneur?'
There is no sure shot formula to become an Entrepreneur or a successful one at that. There are more than 26 books on "How to become an entrepreneur" as I learnt recently, on Twitter (where else?) and millions of posts/advisors/mentors about it not to mention millions who would advise you not to become one graphically illustrating the reasons for it.
In order to understand and advise the students, I asked a few questions:
Question - How many of you are engineers? 90% were
Question - How many from premier Institutes? 65% of the above.
Question - How many have 5-7 + years of WorkEx? Less than 25%
Question - How many of you are from Business/Service families? 5%:95%
Question - How many of you have taken loans for B school? 70-75%
These percentages are not 100% accurate and the ratio of Male : Female was 80 : 20 with wanting to be Entrepreneur heavily skewed towards Male.
India specific, there are many successful entrepreneurs and the number seems to be growing for a variety of reasons, however it is not a picnic. The initial social stigma, tough times, lack of ecosystem deters most people, or at least curbs the risk taking appetite, so much so that it mostly ends up in 'Self Employment' or getting back into the corporate jungle rather than Entrepreneurship.
After a more insightful debate, asked them some questions again - Are you from:
- Service family background
- An Engineer by push/choice
- Worked for a bit 1-3 yrs & realised that Graduation was not enough.
- Have taken a Loan so that your further studies are not a burden.
- Slogged and got into a Premier B school.
Most of them answered Yes to 4 out of the 5 questions, so I pronounced the verdict.
DON'T become an Entrepreneur straight out of college/school. Because you're taking a gamble, not a calculated risk. The Deck is already stacked against you. All your Excel Sheets and Powerpoint Presentations will not help you. Yes, there have been/are likely to be exceptions. But are you one of them?
But, if You still wish to become an Entrepreneur, then my Guru Mantra:
1) Take the best placement, slog, learn, pay off loan, have self sufficiency savings for 30 months and then start your journey at 31-33 instead 27-29 years.
2) Marry well & with open eyes – A Batch mate who understands your passion, is willing to support you till you hit gold or come to your senses. Or an arranged marriage in US/Canadah or a business man's only daughter who wants the Tag. (Yes I know, this can be a son also, however the girls were in a minority or not interested at all and hence this use)
And yes this will remain so for the next half decade; those who manage to beat the odds can buy me coffee and those who play the odds well, act on either of the above two points successfully, you still buy me coffee.
Mindcaster, People watcher, Entrepreneur by attitude, Employee by choice. Blogs at anaggh.com and tweets at @anaggh