Accidentally I was invited to the international conference: European Entrepreneurship in the Globalizing Economy: Preparation of New Generation of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.
1. The problem
I had the incredible luck to discuss the problem of the growing gap between practice and theory taught in business schools,
with scientists like Professor Ken O’Neill, Professor David Smallbone, Professor Andrew Burke. They opened my eyes to the fact that nowadays tertiary business education system (in the U.S. and UK) rewards only the number of scientific publications and books of lecturers. None of the Universities encourages the practical application of these scientific publications. None measures the change in students’ business skills between the first and last year of their education (the change could be positive or negative).
As aptly noted by the millionaire – Robert Kiyosaki in his book “Business School” – “Skills make us rich, not theories”. Mission Impossible is a lecturer with little or no practical experience to teach business skills to students. The military system has long ago solved this problem. In schools for pilots, for example, instructors are veterans, experienced professionals.
2. The Goal
The business leaders and entrepreneurs of the 21st century must develop and/or acquire business skills to help them in achieving better results. In modern educational systems, ideally, can be acquired theoretical knowledge. It appears that students – the future business leaders – need to find the right path by themselves in their most important learning: business skills learning.
3. Possible solutions.
3.1. Books – it is of no surprise that many best-sellers on leadership, management, entrepreneurship are written by practitioners – not by scholars. The business leaders are interested in skills and pragmatic ideas. The disadvantage of 3.1. is that many pages are to be read to find the 10 pages we are interested in.
3.2. Networking – forums, groups of people with similar interests are valuable, inexpensive tool for getting and sharing ideas and experiences. The disadvantage of 3.2. is the lack of focus and low chances to find exactly what we need at the right time and extend.
3.3. Guiding – mentoring, coaching, counseling, are the most focused on a particular skill, tools. The disadvantage of 3.3. is the higher price.
The business leaders’ world is full of crossroads with no road signs. Obvious “right” decisions are very rare. Our experience will guide us through the crossroads. Our experience is a function of our mistakes. Young people who are not afraid to make mistakes have all the prerequisites to acquire the necessary business skills, needed for the success.