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.

This article first appeared in DNA [ANALYSIS] Should B school graduates
become entrepreneurs? http://t.co/Bdr7ej8e9f on October Friday 18,
2013

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Written by AD
ex waiter, angadia, travel agent, dotcomer, dukaandaar, marketeer, people watcher. appreciates single malt, food, friends