The common perception is that small businesses are vital to job creation and hence the well-being of America. Heck, even President Obama in a speech to Congress a few weeks back said, “Everyone here knows that small businesses are where most new jobs begin.”
Eh, not quite. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, nearly all job creation in America comes from start-up businesses.
So now we are on to one of my pet peeves—business schools teach little about how businesses really work, they teach about how big businesses work. Their case studies are about big businesses. Best practices are about big businesses. Yet, all businesses were start-ups at one point. Why do the Steve Jobs’, Michael Dells’, and Bill Gates’ of the world quit college? Because the curriculum is not relevant to them. Does any school teach about the value of networking? Where to find start-up capital and how to obtain it? How about the freedom to fail? Almost every great entrepreneur has failed at one point or another. Why not let people know about those case studies, how these entrepreneurs benefited from their experience and what students can learn from these giants. How about encouraging, even teaching, good old-fashioned street smarts, in my opinion the most important attribute any person in business can posses.
The big question of the day is why anyone should spend $35,000 and more a year to go to a mid-level school for four years plus graduate school? What is the value proposition colleges are offering? Don’t take risks? America needs more risk takers, more dreamers, more people with guts who are unafraid to try something that ordinary people might think is crazy. Why aren’t we dedicating curriculum to the crazies of the world? The future of America depends on developing these folks to their full potential.