Entrepreneurship is the hot new course being offered in many universities around the world.
For example, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore is inviting applications for its new Master of Science Technopreneurship & Innovation Program. This is a step up from its graduate diploma course which was introduced in 2002. Students will pick up "global entrepreneurial skill sets and mindset" and "emerge a much more confident leader and entrepreneur armed with the right skills to succeed in the business world", according to an advertisement copy.
I'm not against higher education or, in this case, entrepreneurship education, because having additional business knowledge cannot be a bad thing. And who doesn't relish the opportunity to make study visits to Silicon Valley and China?
But if one doesn't need a fancy paper to be a successful entrepreneur--think Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, both of whom dropped out of college to pursue their dreams--why would we need degree programs in entrepreneurship?
I doubt these programs will produce hoards of successful Asian entrepreneurs like Creative Technology CEO Sim Wong Ho or Alibaba.com CEO Jack Ma. We all know that most business answers cannot be found in any book. You are starting a new company after all, and that means venturing into unchartered territory. Even your mentors may not have the right answers.
But these courses will provide tips or lessons learnt from other industry practitioners, and while students will probably make mistakes of their own, they will, at least, have a network of lecturers as well as business and industry contacts from whom they can draw experience and inspiration. As the old adage goes, "it's not what you know, it's who you know".
What do you think of entrepreneurship education? Will attending business school help you launch a successful business? Which schools offer the most useful business courses in Asia?