Entrepreneurlism Vital in Workplace

October 29, 201610:20 am486 views
Entrepreneurlism Vital in Workplace
image: hrmasia.com
An MBA is not just about building business acumen. Rather, it’s also about encouraging a sense of entrepreneurialism which is becoming increasingly vital in the workplace. HRM reveals more.

George Deeb, Managing Partner at Chicago-based consultancy Red Rocket Ventures, wrote in a 2013 online article on Forbes that there has been a “seismic shift in demand for an alternative business education” over the last decade or two.

That’s come in part from the rising costs of education. He said students are now looking for courses that focus on entrepeneurial skills and the business of startups.

“One that teaches the basics in starting your own business and being your own boss.  One that is tapped into local startup ecosystems with access to venture capitalists and startup incubators.  One that marries expertise in technology development, with startup business and marketing skills. A new breed of business education under the banner: a Master’s in Entrepreneurship,” he wrote.

While a standalone Master’s in Entrepreneurship is gaining traction among individuals looking to launch their own businesses, Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes are also incorporating entrepreneurialism into their curricula.

“MBA programmes are increasingly focusing on entrepreneurship as an important part of the curriculum,” says Associate Professor Nilanjan Sen, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Nanyang Business School.

“Most students pursuing an MBA aspire to start something of their own either immediately or a few years after graduation.”

Making a comeback

Sen says constantly advancing technology and growing emerging markets are enhancing the potential market size for new startup businesses, resulting in significant opportunities for those with entrepreneurial ambitions.

“Governments across the globe are encouraging, supporting and investing in ecosystems conducive for innovation to thrive,” he explains.

“The effects of traditional businesses on the environment, as well as climate change issues, are also highlighting the need for alternative sustainable approaches.”

Michael Cope, Director of Studies, London School of Business and Finance, declares “entrepreneurship is making a comeback as far as MBAs are concerned.”

“This is part of a trend originating from the US where increasing numbers of MBA graduates are setting up their own businesses after graduating, or even while they are still studying,” he elaborates.

“This is especially apparent in MBAs that are at the ‘higher’ end or take students who have significant working experience.”

Cope says some business schools have an emphasis on preparing students to enter executive positions in high-growth companies, or to become entrepreneurs in their own right. They also prepare to participate in entrepreneurial ventures without being the founder of the startup, also known as “intrapreneurship”.

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It all begins at work

A chief reason behind the rise of entrepreneurialism has been the fact that businesses are fostering an entrepreneurial culture among their own workforces.

“Most successful organisations are encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset and providing financial support for their employees to gain a competitive edge,” explains Sen.

“Significant technological enhancements and the evolution of the shared economy business model allow organisations to capture significant market share as they execute disruptive ideas in the market place.”

“There is also an increased appreciation of the fact that relevant, and impactful innovation does not happen in a vacuum; it often comes from employees and other associated stakeholders.”

Cope says entrepreneurialism encourages employees to treat the employer as their own company and to put its interests first.

“Employees are likely to be more innovative and creative as they tend to put new business ideas into practice and this will help them to develop and build the skills needed for personal growth.”

Wynne Lim, Senior Manager of HR, London School of Business and Finance, cites tech giant Google as an example of a business that has entrepreneurialism in its very blueprint.

“Google used to have a legendary programme where all employees were allowed to spend 20% of their work time on projects that could benefit customers,” says Lim.

“These ‘20% projects’ have resulted in a number of very successful new products including Gmail, Google News, Google Maps, Orkut, and AdSense.”

“There are many more inspiring examples on how entrepreneurship programmes can drive business results.”

Fostering entrepreneurialism in HR

Tellingly, entrepreneurialism is also a valued trait for HR professionals.

Sen says the current market environment makes it important that HR professionals possess a good understanding of entrepreneurial skills, develop processes that assess entrepreneurial skills, and have training programmes available to develop such skills.

“Organisations increasingly ask their employees to come up with new business ideas, or to start up new lines of business in response to increased competition and changing business conditions,” he explains.

“HR can definitely help organisations to ensure that such ‘intrapreneurs’ are spotted and receive the right support to be successful.”

Lim agrees, noting that employees with entrepreneurial ability are vital to the sustainability and growth of a business.

“Entrepreneurialism enhances performance management, productivity and, operational excellence,” he elaborates. “Possessing an entrepreneurial mindset or skills allows employees to embody the spirit of enterprise into their work, which will not only benefit HR professionals, but also the company.”

“However, entrepreneurialism does not come easy, and the company has to make a conscious effort to nurture it.”

Top 10 US colleges for entrepreneurship (graduate programmes in 2015)

  • Harvard University
  • Babson College
  • University of Michigan
  • Rice University
  • Stanford University
  • Northwestern University
  • Brigham Young University
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Virginia

Source: Annual Princeton Review ranking


Cutting-edge programmes

It comes as no surprise to Associate Professor Nilanjan Sen, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Nanyang Business School (NBS), that over the last few years, there has been a visible shift in demand for a different kind of business education. He says today’s students are increasingly seeking out learning experiences that encompass technology development, start-up incubation, as well as strategy and marketing skills.

“Institutions need to constantly develop their programme curriculum to prepare students for the future business scenarios and offer electives related to entrepreneurialism,” he stresses.

“Actively training for and participating in competitions is a great way to expose students to the world of entrepreneurialism. The Venture Capital Investment Competition, which NBS participates in, has evolved into a marketplace for entrepreneurs seeking investors and is a solid training ground for future venture capitalists.”

In addition, Sen says mentoring by a pool of industry-relevant small and medium enterprise (SME) leaders is another way to get students thinking about entrepreneurship opportunities and challenges.

“Governments and corporations across the globe offer grants to support start-ups. Building an effective ecosystem with business leaders and funding sources is a valuable offering for any business school,” he states.

True to its word, NBS offers elective courses in entrepreneurship for its MBA programme participants.

According to Sen, the SME track for its top-ranked Nanyang Executive MBA programme prepares participants for the unique challenges that SMEs face.

“NBS has partnered with Spring Singapore, an enterprise development agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to develop a cutting-edge curriculum to enhance the skillsets of business owners and entrepreneurs to be at the forefront of this competitive business area,” he says.

“Every year, the cohort visits some of the most prestigious American universities like the University of California, Berkeley, where they take courses in innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Michael Cope, Director of Studies, London School of Business and Finance, says his school’s MBA with Concordia University Chicago is designed to provide students with a thorough foundation on business and commerce and to prepare them for management roles.

“We are consistently monitoring the market to design relevant programmes to working professionals,” he says.

“There are plans to launch programmes to professionals who either wish to launch their own business or develop knowledge and skills that can be used within companies.”


Melbourne University launches Master of Entrepreneurship programme

From 2016 onwards, Australia’s Melbourne University will be offering a one-year Master of Entrepreneurship degree which will generate graduates who are “start-up ready”.

According to the Melbourne launches Master of Entrepreneurship online article written by Chris Parkes, the course will be located at the custom-built Wade Institute for Entrepreneurship at Ormond College.

The Master of Entrepreneurship will arm students with the knowledge and skillsets needed foster and embark on innovative new businesses, successfully commercialise products and services, and craft successful business models.

Students will be guided by entrepreneurs and will accumulate hands-on experience in prototyping new products and services, running a pop-up business, and cultivating a start-up business idea to pitch for real venture capital.

The Wade Institute for Entrepreneurship, designed by renowned Melbourne architectural and heritage consultant Lovell Chen, will offer a unique setting for budding entrepreneurs to unlock their creative potential.

The article first appeared on HRM Asia.


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