The flaws of a business degree in business school

I’m doing a business degree. And honestly, I did it because I had to go to college, or my family would stop supporting me financially and cut me off from my family. I knew since I was 15 that I wanted to become an entrepreneur, but I struggled back and forth between deciding to become an entrepreneur or involve myself in some highly regarded profession, *cough* medicine. ( I was always regarded as smart and got amazingly good grades even though I didn’t put much effort in it, which was a bit unfair to be honest ). But anyway, I received career advice from our high school’s student advisor, and told him about my dreams and aspirations for the future as an entrepreneur. And the conclusion I got out from him was, get a business degree, since it’s the closest thing in college to entrepreneurship. So I did.

And the truth is, it’s nothing even near there. College and universities, are a place for grooming professionals and high-performing employees. Especially business school, where you are groomed into becoming either a business consultant, an accountant, a manager, a marketing personnel, a financial analyst or somewhere along the lines of that. You are groomed into a certain way of thinking, a certain way of behaving, and you get to learn a certain way of solving a problem. Very creative and out of the box.

I don’t mean to criticise the business degree, and I have to admit there are some benefits I get out from it, but I’ll talk about it later, right now, I’ll just focus on what’s wrong with a business degree in a business school. This is strictly my own opinion as an entrepreneur who is doing a business degree, so feel free to voice your own opinions and argue with me.

What is wrong with a business degree?

1) The curriculum.

Let me take an example. I’m doing a management unit this semester, and it comprises of all the flaws I can point out in business degrees in most universities. Did you know that in management, usually the textbook and the material that we are learning are at least 20 years behind from the current business world? We are learning and absorbing material, which is outdated and no longer relevant in the business world. Yes, there are some management principles which may be useful but this doesn’t shade the fact that we are learning outdated and irrelevant material! How is this possible? Initial radical and cutting-edge management theories come from entrepreneurs, which if the theories and principles are proven to be efficient and useful would be adopted by the corporate world, and then the whole business world, and only after that the academic world adopts it and carries out research to validate and prove the theory. That is the only useful information which I learnt from all of my management lectures. So how do we know we’re studying outdated material? Well, just think of who writes our management textbooks, is it a fellow academic who has never been in the business world or a real-life entrepreneur? You get my point. Entrepreneurs should be learning from other entrepreneurs about cutting edge management theories to get ahead in the business world. Or better, develop your own management style and theory, since management theories basically originate from other fellow entrepreneurs, what makes you think you can’t do the same thing, or even better?

2) The way we learn.

We listen to the lecturer during lectures, we download lecture slides online, we memorise the important points where the lecturer told us to do so and we regurgitate it during exams and hopefully we would get a passing mark. That my friends, is how you get you pass your business exams. Of course there are assignments, but basically it’s just a theoretical question on paper, where you have to answer individually or in groups, on paper, and then you submit it to get a mark. We are learning how to spot key points, how to memorise and how to answer questions. The way we are learning is mostly memorisation! Yes, reading and lectures are important to deliver a specific concept or theory, but why are we applying it on paper? Using my last example again, management. We are answering questions about management on a piece of paper. Are we managing papers or are we managing real people? Shouldn’t the final exam be something like, ( fanciful thinking here) here is a group of employees, applying all the management principles you learn or the ones you think of, improve their work performance by 20% by the end of next month. Then, write a brief summary of what techniques you used. Shouldn’t management be like this? Letting students apply the theories, cross out the irrelevant ones in the teaching syllabus and then work on discovering new management theories instead of trying to proof all the old ones? And maybe for finance it could be like this, applying all your financial principles learnt, grow your investment portfolio by 20% from the start of the semester, you may record all your calculations and the choices you made, but final marks will be based on your investment decisions. You don’t even have to use real money since there are simulation softwares online for free. This way the people who actually graduate from a finance major in college would be the ones who actually know how to manage your investment portfolio, since they are doing it so well for themselves. The point here is, business schools are too lazy to think of ways to improve the system so they follow a traditional spoon feed, drill and regurgitate method.

Right now, these are the main flaws which I find in my business degree, so to summarise what I have been saying:

1) The textbooks are outdated

2) The learning and teaching method is inefficient

3) Too much emphasise on route memorisation and problem solving on paper

4) The benchmarks for assessing one’s business skills is ineffective

Basically, the whole business education process and curriculum in business school is wrong in my opinion. These are the flaws of a business degree, and I’ll talk about the benefits of a business degree in my next blog post, feel free to comment and share your opinions with me.


Life as a college entrepreneur

I have assignments due tomorrow and next week, but here I am, blogging. I should do it, I know I should, but there’s just so much things on my mind which keeps distracting me from school work. It’s just that I get so distracted by my business ideas, zooming in my mind at high speeds, and it’s just plain weird how they usually pop up when I’m trying to silence my mind to actually do some school work. And maybe during lectures, tutorials, while I’m talking to others, before I sleep… you get the point. 

I don’t know if this happens to you, but entrepreneurship consumes me in general. Not that I’m complaining, since it’s my passion but still, it can be a major distraction in my daily life. Especially when I have another important role to fulfil, or maybe it’s the 30k investment in my tertiary education which I had to make use of. But you get my point, when I have one of our “aha” moments, I stop functioning normally, in a conventional sense. 

It’s like I get into a zone, where my lives and thoughts revolve around that business idea. I go to lectures, but my mind is working too fast for me to even concentrate on what the lecturer is talking about, I talk to friends, but barely paying attention to them since my mind is busy calculating all the figures and numbers I need for the idea, or even worse, I start avoiding friends like plague, since talking to them would mean less time for me to work on my idea. It’s like my normal life just shuts down, and as a college student, my normal life would most probably be, go to lectures, finish assignments, hang out with friends, you know, a conventional way. But no, I go into full obsession mode, it’s like I get cut off from the outside world, my “normal” life.

And truthfully, it’s very challenging. Since all I want to do right now, is to just focus 100% on my business idea. I guess this is every college entrepreneur’s dilemma, or maybe just the ones that haven’t dropped out from college yet. We still go to college, we still need to learn whatever we paid to learn in college, we still have to function as a college student. But at the same time, our need to work on our business idea, develop, experiment and grow it is strong as well. In fact, it’s much stronger than our obligation to fulfil our responsibilities as a college student. 

So why aren’t we dropping out since there’s so many success stories of young entrepreneurs who dropped out of college and became billionaires? *Cough* Bill Gates *Cough* Steve Jobs. 

Truthfully, I don’t know. I don’t know why I’m staying in college. But if I have to give an answer, it may be the safety net. If your business idea fails, you still have a college degree, you still have an identity as a college student. Or it may be because I need to satisfy my parents wishes to graduate from college in return for the freedom in pursuing my entrepreneurial dreams in the future. Or it may be because I still haven’t decided yet if the business idea will work out. Or may be it’s just that I want to experience life as a college student as well. Or maybe I actually want to learn something from college although I want to be an entrepreneur.

I really don’t know. But I know I don’t really want to drop out of college, even though I want to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams, my business ideas. So that leaves me in some sort of dilemma. How do I get the best of both worlds, is it possible?

Maybe I’ll have to give up one for the another in the future, or maybe I’ll find a solution to solve this problem, but right now, I still have to complete my assignments while trying to minimise distractions from my business idea. It’s like I have to prevent myself from switching into entrepreneur mode from student mode. Multiple hats, isn’t that what an entrepreneur does? 

Anyways, feel free to comment and share your thoughts on your lives as a college entrepreneur. And maybe some helpful advice as well *wink. Until next time, bye. 

Start of a blog

This is my first blog about my entrepreneurial journey as a college student, which I’ll share my experience, my problems, my thoughts and opinions about entrepreneurship in general. As you guys probably know, entrepreneurship is no easy task, well at least being a successful one isn’t, plus balancing entrepreneurship with college, delightful! So, hopefully I can find some like-minded people and let’s just enjoy the journey together. After all, this is what we have chosen!

Quoting Steve Jobs, which is like most wannabe or new entrepreneurs’ role model of all time:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

College entrepreneurs out there, are you living your own life? Are you really thinking for yourself? Are you finding your own inner voice? Are you following your heart and intuition? 

I’m not going to offer advice or act like some expert in entrepreneurship, since I’m not. But maybe you’ll find yourselves in some of my stories as a college entrepreneur and know that somewhere out there in the world, there is someone who is facing similar challenges as you or someone who is going through what you are going through. That’s what I hope to find though, through this blog, a fellow companion.

Oh, by the way, I’m Nicole, and feel free to comment and share your opinions with me 🙂 Guess that’s all done for self introduction, so see you guys in the next post!