I was invited today to give a talk at SITM (which stands for Symbiosis Institute of Telecom Management). The college is situated at the Symbiosis International University campus at Lavale, Pune which is a very picturesque location (set on the top of a hill) on the way to Lavasa. Though approach roads and some other things are under construction, the place was beautiful and I am sure it will look terrific in the rains.
I always have a conflict of interest while speaking at such events because I do not completely believe in the “entrepreneurship” mumbo-jumbo and pushing students to take up entrepreneurship for the college’s sake. Many faculty members express their disappointment with students who do not take up entrepreneurship after getting their MBA degree. The sad truth (if the faculty members would realise) is that most MBA students take up MBA studies for one primary thing – and that is to get a high paying job. Thus pushing them to give this up is going to be very hard and better grounds to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit would be in undergraduate courses like engineering.
I heard of a reputed MBA college which allowed students to try entrepreneurship for a year and if they could not make it, they could come back and sit for campus placements the next year. Stats? Out of the people who tried to be entrepreneurs, 96% sat for campus placements the next year — and only 4% of the students continued their startup.
Moral of the story? People who want to do a startup / be an entrepreneur will do it regardless of getting any push and people who don’t want to, won’t.
Like the famous quote from the Jesse Eisenberg character (Zuckerberg) in the movie “The Social Network”:
You know, you really don’t need a forensics team to get to the bottom of this. If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.
Then there are of course core “entrepreneurship” courses which teach you how to become an entrepreneur.
I totally (and this is my own personal opinion) – think these course have no value whatsoever and are hooking onto a fad. (It is suddenly cool to be an entrepreneur, no?) I believe that running a business is like swimming – you cannot learn it from a book. You just have to get out there and do it!
Anyways, I had prepared a deck on my learnings from trying to run a software startup(s) for the past four years. I spoke for about 30 minutes and it wasn’t scripted – so I do not have the notes to share – but I think the deck has some decent bullet points which should be self explanatory.
Sharing the deck here for my own personal (chronological) reference so that I can come down a couple of years later and see how stupid (or clever) I was: