Can business schools really teach entrepreneurship? Is somebody born entrepreneur, or it can be taught, as a child is taught to speak? It’s a matter of debate, but I think there are several skills that business schools can teach. Please note that these may not turn every graduate into a multimillionaire, but at least it will stop them from making costly mistakes.
Skill no. 1: Handling the cash-flow
This is critical for any business, and it can’t be done “by heart”. Cash flow management, inventory management, collection and payment days – all these can be learned the hard way, or (preferably) in school. Some say that handling the cash-flow is alone a good reason to study business management. Remember that problems with cash flow tend to multiply, potentially choking a business to death.
Skill no. 2: Business planning
Business planning is not only an opportunity to exhibit some academic language and chart drawing skills. The point is to see the entire business as a whole. This will help you to define specific objectives, milestones, tasks and responsibilities, as part of a big strategy. Many self-made entrepreneurs tend to lose “the big picture” and the decision-making is often triggered by certain events, rather than a result of strategic planning.
Skill no. 3: Mastering the fundamental concepts
Although not everyone knows the “laws of physics”, everyone obeys them. The same goes for the business fundamentals: a mix of strategic and analytical thinking, marketing, finance, etc. Knowing the framework greatly improves your ability to identify specific problems and find adequate responses.
Skill no. 4: Communication
Laying out a simple and direct business proposal, focusing on what’s most important and choosing the appropriate means for doing that – these skills are best cultivated in schools, and not in practice. Good business schools teach communication and communication is essential in managing a business.
Skill no. 5: Skepticism
Educated people tend to have a strong critic sense. It’s a byproduct of analytic thought. They keep their heads cool and rarely let themselves carried away by some wave of enthusiasm. It’s good to be passionate and persistent in your undertaking, but on a solid basis.