Creative Entrepreneurship in MBA Program

March 23, 2010

in GWU School of Business,MBA experience

There was another blast class in Entrepreneurship this week. From the two first classes it seems that the main purpose of our instructor in this class is to evoke our creativity and show us how indispensable it is for those of us who aspire to venture on our own or join a start-up after getting our MBA degree, and in business environment in general.

Professor already mentioned that in a seven week module there will be not enough time for all the material that used to be covered under the standard format of 14 weeks/3 credits. So some parts of the old course will be squeezed out from our current course. Namely, writing the business plan, among other things. Based on the syllabus we will still have an opportunity to try our hand in preparing Executive Summary and doing the Elevator Pitch.


But, as it seems, creativity is not going to be sacrificed in the course. I actually have had this dilemma about the MBA program in general. The standard curriculum in most business schools is focused on introducing the students to a rather rigid, formalized way of thinking and manipulating the data. It is also geared to equip us with the standardized tool set for solving business problems. This is, no doubt, a very important skill set to acquire in the business school. However, I always had this thought in the back of my mind, that this rigid approach, exacerbated by the fast pace of packing a lot of knowledge in a short period of time, would force us into a very formal, standardized and somewhat narrow mind set, would not allow us to develop some other softer, but still very important business skills, including creative business thinking. 

As a matter of fact, I remember reading an article in the summer before the start of my MBA program, that one of the complaints from the recruiters was that the MBA graduates in general were well equiped in “hard” business skills, such as analyzing financial statements, or performing statistic analysis. But they were relatively lacking in the “softer” skills, like leadership, negotiations. I don’t remember if creativity was explicitely mentioned among those “underdeveloped” soft skills, but this is what came to my mind when I was reading the article. 

That’s why I personally see this creativity slant in the Entrepreneurship course as a welcome respite from some other less “creative” classes. To some degree I feel that my right-brainness in a way is “rehabilitated” in this class. Not that I am the most creative person in the room, but I have always thought of myself being more on a creative side of business.

Anyways, back to this week’s class. This time professor brought one of his PhD students, and let him run the class. The guy was no less enthusiastic on the subject of creativity than the professor. And since he is younger, he brought even more energy in presentation. Admittedly, we did not learn much in a formal way, but he provided some invaluable pointers for further learning and provoked us to let ourselves play. Overall it was a well-prepared and conducted interactive presentation on the subject of creativity in entrepreneurship and business at large.  

Just a couple of things the PhD student gave us as interesting resources:

I also found these two  recent articles in Businessweek on Entrepreneurship being hot among MBAs now that the traditional MBA jobs in finance, investment, and consulting have become more scarce and less lucrative:

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