Can entrepreneurship be learned?

But the essential passion, drive and creativity of an entrepreneur cannot be measured or taught. Learning to be an effective entrepreneur is like mastering any new skill. You learn better with practice and must be willing to put things into practice with coherence and concentration. The question you should ask yourself is not if entrepreneurship can be learned, but if it is something you really want for yourself.

If you think the answer is “yes”, you owe it to yourself to find out. There are those who continue to insist that entrepreneurship cannot be taught. They argue that entrepreneurship is confusing, uncertain and unpredictable and therefore there is no single method or map to impart to flourishing entrepreneurs, especially from a teacher or teacher who has no experience in the business world. Entrepreneurship is a team sport, not an individual effort, and you can only learn by doing it in the real world.

The skills that an entrepreneur needs to succeed go beyond business skills that are “easy to teach in the classroom” (e.g. finance, accounting, and economics) and include personal skills, such as leadership and management, that are best learned through experience. People born with these abilities will naturally excel, while others will just be fish out of water and may have difficulty getting to the same point. Yes, people can learn to become entrepreneurs, but then they must have the innate ability to learn things faster than others.

Parts of leadership skills can be learned, but most can't be taught. It takes much more than sophisticated power point presentations and some crisp words in textbooks to become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial skills can be taught; entrepreneurial qualities, such as determination and risk tolerance, are innate. For Professor Nikolaus Franke (pictured) of the WU Executive Academy in Vienna, the answer is a resounding yes.

He says that entrepreneurship is better seen as a skill than a natural talent. First, look for a college or university that offers a practical program to learn entrepreneurship and that teaches basic business concepts and guides you in developing a good business plan. These tools and programs have revolutionized business education by finding a more realistic way to support entrepreneurs, rather than the older and more passive methods of “researching and writing a business plan” to teach entrepreneurship. Some evidence shows that entrepreneurship learning reflects the impact of entrepreneurship on the economy and society; it has been identified on the basis of three basic skills and aptitudes that make an entrepreneur successful: persistence, ability to assess risk, and adaptability.

Running a business is difficult, learning to undertake to be at the level of an effective entrepreneur is like mastering any new skill. While modern MBA programs offer a number of entrepreneurship programs ranging from formal courses to startup competitions and incubators, there is a great degree of skepticism around the idea that academics can teach entrepreneurship in a classroom. It is true that entrepreneurship cannot be taught in the traditional sense of sitting in a classroom listening to a conference or by the typical case study method used in business programs. However, many schools consider that there is still a place for formal education in the world of entrepreneurship, and have taken steps to update their offerings to meet the needs of today's students.

In addition, developing the inclination for imagination, disruption, and counterintuitive action necessary for effective entrepreneurship generally does not fit into the typical curriculum of a business school defined by abstract analytical models and precise calculations. According to some people, entrepreneurship can be carried out in higher education institutions and high schools, and even many institutions have launched entrepreneurship programs in academic sessions. The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto turned its entrepreneurship classroom into a medical school-style operating room, where students sit in a large auditorium and watch a professor perform surgery not on a human body, but on a startup. There are more business education courses and programs than ever before, and demand for them continues to grow.

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