Developing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

June 10, 2012

Commentary, Entrepreneurship, GMAT

Naturally, I haven’t been in much of a writing mood lately since I have just a little more than 2 weeks left until I take a swing at the GMAT. I’ve reviewed all of the math that I intend to, including:

  • OG (all math)
  • OG quant supplement
  • Manhatttan GMAT Number Properties
  • Manhatttan GMAT Geometry
  • Manhatttan GMAT Word Problems
  • Manhatttan GMAT Advanced Quant

I’ve also completed a good deal of the verbal prep that I plan on going through, which (thus far) has included:

  • OG sentence correction
  • OG verbal supplement sentence correction
  • Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction
  • Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible

I’ll be rounding out my last two weeks of pre-GMAT study by focusing on OG RC, OG verbal supplement RC and maybe some LSAT RC practice, a quick look at a few Integrated Reasoning and AWA strategies, and 4-5 practice tests (both OG and 2+ MGMAT) that I’ll take one of after every couple of days of review.

During my “brain brakes”, I tend to watch YouTube  or some form of video to keep me from being tempted to read (which I love to do) while I’m supposed to be giving my grey matter a break. My intent is to avoid wearing down my mental capacity for reading RC (reading comp) passages after the break is over.

Today I ran across a video on Developing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs that was recorded at the World Entrepreneurship Conference about two years ago.  A lot of what the panelists (all highly successful entrepreneurs) had to say rang true with me.

I began to ponder some of their comments about the role of the educational system and how it hinders entrepreneurial development. Since I am afflicted with MBA obsession, I naturally began to think about some of the things that (some) top business schools are doing (and should do more of) to continue to promote the development of entrepreneurs.

Four weaknesses of the present educational system that were brought up during the panel discussion in particular come to mind. These are all areas in which I’ve observed positive trends occurring among top MBA programs.

A Lack of Understanding About the Nature of Failure

The point was made that our educational system does a poor job of contextualizing the role of failure in success. Therefore, instead of producing courageous free thinkers who are willing to take risks and try new things it tends to produce people who are afraid to fail so that they won’t make a bad grade.

I remember how obsessed I was in high school with making sure that I graduated in the top 10 of my class. When my younger sister graduated from the same high school nine years later I told her that I would not come to her graduation if she was not sitting on the front row. Though she did accomplish this, I wonder what kind of damage I inflicted from (the many) similar comments that I made to her.

I’m encouraged to see several of the top business schools challenging their students to become shrewd risk takers by implementing more hands on education into their curriculum. Grade nondisclosure and interdisciplinary learning initiatives (with other schools on campus) are also good examples of some programs’ attempt to encourage curiosity and exploration.

It’s healthy for the world’s leading incubators for top business talent to begin to shift their systems of grading and reward away from just a superficial grade and toward the actual results that someone can produce–that’s all the real world cares about anyway.

Lack of individuality/Encouraging Conformity

The conformist nature of traditional business curriculum sprang largely from the similar manner in which traditional corporate cultures were constructed (I’ve had the misfortune of being a part of such over starched corporate cultures). The most recent trends in company culture have made it incumbent on business schools to produce business people who not only revel in their individuality but can draw on their uniqueness to synthesize new and innovative solutions to problems.

Lack of flexibility/too much bureaucracy

One of the things that I’m looking for in an MBA program is the freedom to craft my own education. I believe that we are in the midst of a renaissance in education where the idea of formal learning will transcend merely being planned and will become something that is actively pursued based on the intrinsic motivation and unique interests of the individual.

The notion that the same business student who will be expected to make decisions that can affect millions of dollars in revenue–if not lives–is somehow seen as incapable of having valuable input on what kind of development he or she will need to get to that point is absurd. What is the point of screening for the most intelligent adults if they are treated like kindergartners upon matriculation?

At any rate, if you’d like to view all or some of the video that has put me into this thinking space, I’ve attached the link below.

Developing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

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About mbaover30

Wharton MBA and admissions expert

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3 Comments on “Developing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs”

  1. Angie Says:

    I agree with what you say here. The educational system can do that to a young mind – they want people to follow the leader. Being a leader takes risk, and it seems we protect our young people from failing, or from making mistakes. Life is about mistakes. Tons of them!

    I do have a question for you. How are you doing with your GMAT studies? Is this the first time you are taking it? I decided to get a tutor, myself. I enjoy having someone that will listen to my complaints and evaluate my weaknesses.

    Do you feel Berkeley Haas is supportive of those who are over 30? I truly like the programs at the school, and I am considering them as one of my top choices.

    Please keep us updated on your progress. Looking forward to hearing how you do!


    • mbaover30 Says:

      Hi Angie,

      Thanks for contributing to the discussion. My GMAT studies are going well. I feel very comfortable with the material; however, the GMAT is an “any given Sunday” sort of deal. I just hope that my “A-Game” is on come the 25th so that I won’t have to retake it. Berkeley Haas is one of my top choices as well. I have no data on how they respond to 30+ candidates, specifically; but I would imagine that a program of that caliber would do well for anyone who found themselves in the enviable position of being admitted. That being said, I know of 30+ students at most of the top 10 schools; still, its a hard shot to call. I’d imagine that it really just comes down to the individual. I wish you the best on your journey. And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe (top right)!



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