Take lessons in entrepreneurship?

Take lessons in entrepreneurship?

Summary: 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.


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?

Topic: Apple


Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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  • One thing that I learnt from studying at NTU's business courses is that nothing can be learnt about the world from the books. The business world has changed because of technology and technology changes everytime. And changes needed to be embraced with a sense of gung-ho, a sense of adventure and wisdom.

    Wisdom is not about being pragmatic, wisdom is to do things that has calculable risks but risks nevertheless. The only issue is that people tend to "formularise" the factors behind success and use this formula as an attempt to negate risk.

    Our Singapore culture and education system do not encourage courage or what we see as risk taking. Even the government is trying to flesh out something like creativity into a system that is steep in methodology thereby making things like creativity that cannot be measured into something that can be gauged. It is an attempt that is bound to failure right from the start.

    It is of little wonder that Bill Gates can succeed is mainly because he does not bound himself to a set of rules that is supposed to bring success. He has the mentality to say that college education is good but it is not the tool to bring total success.

    The world is fluid. Creativity and thus the birth of entrepreneurship from a creative mind thrives in a fluid world and can never and should never be written into a system. What is entrepreneurship without the ability to change status quo since a system is a tool that enforces status quo?

    Rules gives the boundaries. Law gives some order. Both of which is to safeguard people and should be appreciated. But creativity lives outside of rules so that things can be done better, entrepreneurship lives outside of the laws of business so that new markets can grow.

    The only thing we can teach our young is to seize the opportunities, to think creatively, not to say yes to everything they see or do, to allow employees to question and employers should learn listen. We do not lack great minds but we have an environment that locks creativity instead of letting it go...it is the same as letting the bird fly in the sky and should not be locked in a cage.
  • It is just weird. I'd rather attend a talk by a very successful entrepreneur.

    It would be rather stupid if one gets a 'Master of Entrepreneurship' and yet fails to even start a business.
  • Founding Story- Pchub.com
    With just S$5,000 and no experience in computer field, being a bankrupt and working as an employee, Mr. Chong Kin Siong the founder of Pchub.com created the business from zero ground into the first e-retailer and the only one actively today in Asia competing with the west in the world secondary market of laptop spare parts. It has shipped orders placed online by more than 15,000 customers to over 130 counties worldwide.

  • Hi Isabelle,

    There have been a lot of discussion and debate on this topic. Some have gone as far as saying that entrepreneurs can be trained, thus making it a science.

    But being an entrepreneur myself for more than 10 years, some traits that I see are traits such as resiliency, there is also this trait where the passion of the entrepreneur, the ability to re-engineer one self. Flexibility vs. rigidity, these traits (and more), some even call them behavior can not be taught or trained. One have to go through some form of life changing event or to some extent is "in-built", but nonetheless, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Thus making me think that entrepreneursip is both a science and an art. While it may seem a structured process, it also exhibits some degree of chaos, unstructured in the way entrepreneurs are emerging.

    It is important to learn from others.

    It is also important to learn both wining and losing models.

    But, I also think that the need to have such a program may be useful in allowing the participant to understand or come to realise if they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. It should not be taken as those that go through the program is expected to be an entrepreneur just because they have a a degree, masters or even a PhD in entrepreneursip. Though I think that these people would possibly be more employable.
  • What make successful people? Could genius be made? Chong3 believes the answer could be found in the natured instinct of the human.

    Change of instinct.
    On an experimental research using the method of grasping a flying arrow that was a toy for children with 450mm length plastic stick ended with a rubber suction cup.

    The eyes look at the arrow before it is lunched. Once lunched, it serves as a stimulus triggers the reaction of the instinct and the body movement. It is immediate feeling and gauging in the mind without even a though in responding to the flying arrow

    In this example the instinct of untrained civilized human was the eyes to follow the movement of the arrow. With a bit explanation, the default instinct could be changed into intuited instinct- the intelligently enabled instinct that could be able to grasp the flying arrow in an hour of practice.

    Intuited instinct.
    Whether any instinct inbuilt with the newborn baby, it would smell to get the nipple for milk after first or second tasted it. While growing the instinct is on the process of developing and interacting with learning, with all things and people around.

    With care and guidance by family, education and society, the instinct of people is inclined to be intuited intelligently- the way of civilization for people and society to develop and survive. The intelligently enabled instinct has been in development since the first formation of society and nation in history thousands years ago and until today as intended by the rulers.

    Natured instinct.
    If the flying arrow triggers the curiosity of a boy in exploring by himself the trick in grasping it, it naturally spurs the thinking and imagination in search for the answer. His instinct is natured.

    The curiosity and imagination out of the natured instinct is the mother of all new creations. In the process of the natured instinct interacting with circumstance, the creativity prevails if it is maintained and developed and is stiffed when it is turned into intuited instinct. Creativeness decreases generally when intelligence prevails.

    Total cognitive sense
    It is a state of mind, or a belief, or a feeling or a sum of the three arises on or is generated from a kind of collective or summery of the experience and knowledge that have interacted and obtained from society, family, education, self study, guidance, inculcation and any other sources plus the appropriate awareness of self capability.

    The collective or summery process like a mixer continuously receiving all ingredients in a never stopping blending process that are producing a ever changing of mix- the total cognitive sense
    It embeds into the instinct that decides the best possible move consciously or unconsciously in case of emergency.

    Resiliance and passion in relation with natured instinct.
    While the natured instinct searching for the answer, if it could be able to fence out the critic and skeptic and insists on its belief and keep on exploring it passion emerges and resilience spirit develops.

    Resilience spirit
    It is a natural occurrence while the natured instinct insists on concentrating its mind and energy in the process of finding the answer it has no time for the ill feeling.

    It is generated at the time when the natured instinct finds the vale for its insistency and believes in the chance of success. The passion emerges stronger while the natured instinct develops.
  • According to the natured instinct theory, All the education systems include the ongoing entrepreneur education with examination in place for qualification are generally would not help people to be successful in creating new business. The instincts of the people are intuited in such system.

    Knowledge, experience, social statues, wealth, education, networking etc individually could only be variables on path to success but appropriate natured instinct determines the success.

    The best combination of the variables could make individual and the governmental entrepreneur to build great enterprises on the existing resources, technology invention on its existing base. They build on the known condition today and of the future.

    Creation of a new business model, an invention of new technology, growth of genius of all type are all based on the natured instinct on the existing known condition to explore the unknown or commonly unknown of the future. Genius in cases are made idiot by the powerful idiot people or make an intelligent person by group of intelligent people.

    Instinct is the key factor that makes the different. It is natural call to action. All existing education system have made human to be intelligent which is good at building on the existing not on the growth of entrepreneurial spirit.

    The intuited instinct base on the total cognitive sense with intelligent analysis to decide the logical move or an intuition move solely base on the past experiences and knowledge in an emergency.

    Natured instinct decides the move while there is no vital information of the ultimate end available to explore the unknown or the creation of new entity. By this nature the move is always abnormal or a surprise in the eye of the general public and against the intelligent belief. It inclines in an emergency, to make the move on the best possibility that is based on belief.

    The value of the natured instinct could not be measured and comprehended as it is decided by the ongoing development of that value. It spurs up the creativeness, but creativeness itself is worthless until it turns into an invention, product, service, new entity or great failure.

    The natured instinct could be inspired or inculcated but it could not be intelligently guided or taught otherwise it is ended as intuited instinct.

    To spur and cultivate creativity and new leaders in all fields, the natured instinct of people must be inculcated.

    Long term
    Perhaps a new educational system without whatever examination is needed. Centers on the knowledge relating to life, society and the world in the first 8 years, being no examination would favorite the free development of natured instinct. Specialize in fields thereafter that offer the choice at the student desire. Without examination would allows student embark on the discovery path inline with their interest.

    Drastic need and expectation needs drastic action. With this new educational system, the poverty of the mindset in relating to culture of the general public could be changed thought it may take up to one or two generation. We may not know what exactly would come up but we stands a far better chance for fruitful result in entrepreneurship, cultural mindset and to achieve a graceful society.

    Short term
    All that has been done by the government and private sectors has been excellence but in common belief and awareness we lack of people that has strong natured instinct. The outcome remains to see. Those aged and failed entrepreneur especially those bankrupt in out backyard are being neglected. Their talents and experiences are being abandoned