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 We are learning and absorbing material, which is outdated and no longer relevant in the business world. Yes, there are some management principles which may be useful but this doesn’t shade the fact that we are learning outdated and irrelevant material!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.