Anita On MBAs In Entrepreneurship
January 31, 2013 2 Comments
“I often get asked to talk about entrepreneurship – even by hallowed institutions like Harvard and Stanford – but I’m not all convinced it is a subject you can teach.How do you teach obsession, because more often than not it’s obsessions that drives an entrepreneur’s vision? Why would you march to a different drumbeat if you are instinctively part of the crowd?
If I had learned more about business ahead of time, I would have been shaped into believing that it was only about finances and quality management. There is a sort of terrorism that comes with the operations and the science of making money, but by not knowing any of that, I had an amazing freedom.In the business school model, entrepreneurs are most at home with a balance sheet, a cash-flow forecast and a business plan. They dream of profit forecasts and the day they can take the company public. You certainly must be able to wield these weapons. But these are just part of the toolbox of re-imagining the world. They are not the basic defining characteristic of entrepreneurship.
Potential entrepreneurs are outsiders. They are people who imagine things as they might be, not as they are, and have the drive to change the world around them. Those are skills that business schools do not teach.They will not teach you the most crucial thing of all: how to be an entrepreneur. They might also sap what entrepreneurial flair you have as they force you into the template called an MBA pass.
I started The Body Shop in 1976 simply to create a livelihood for myself and my two daughters, while my husband, Gordon, was trekking across the Americas. I had no training or experience and my only business acumen was Gordon’s advice to take sales of £300 a week. Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking.”-Anita Roddick