Studying entrepreneurship: is it worth it? For whom?

The stories of entrepreneurs who abandoned renowned colleges to invest in their idea are famous. Entrepreneurs responsible for the great innovations of this century, such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, are examples of these college dropouts. What makes us think: what is more worthwhile for those who dream of entrepreneurship - studying entrepreneurship or diving headlong into their project?

Bill Gates himself has an answer to this question: "Although I dropped out of college and made a career in the software industry, having a degree is a much more sure path to success," he wrote on his blog . He, who abandoned Harvard as nothing less than to found Microsoft, explains that the institution's environment and the people around it while studying there were important for its development.

And this answer from Gates can give you a hint as to what is the best path for those who do not want to give up college or wait four years to start their own business: choose an Entrepreneurial University.

That's right. Although in Brazil the division is very clear between theory and practice; between academia and the market, there is no reason why it should be so. And, in fact, several institutions in the United States and Europe encourage and nurture an entrepreneurial ecosystem within the campus itself.

Studying Entrepreneurship at Entrepreneurial Universities

Students who have gone to leading universities in the United States say that the secret of an entrepreneurial institution is not so much in the disciplines themselves, but in the spirit spread by the faculty.

It was the feeling that Roger Koeppl had, for example, in the mere 35 days he spent at Babson College . In five weeks, Roger acquired valuable knowledge about business and social entrepreneurship, but what caught his attention the most was the constant affirmation of the identity spread by Babson. A symptomatic example he cites is the fact that, when arriving at the campus, he did not receive the typical stickers with the name of the institution written in bold letters to adorn his dormitory, but instead, adhering with the word “ entrepreneurship ” (entrepreneurship) - the same ones that I saw scattered through the halls of the college.

The repetition with which he was bombarded with this idea, at first, seemed to Roger a kind of "brainwashing". Weeks of study later, he came to the conclusion that, in fact, it was an encounter with what he was looking for. “From hearing this so much, from understanding this profile, I came back saying: 'this is what I am. Good, I'm going to turn that spirit into something '”. It is as if, he says, brainwashing "for good". "If it weren't for her, I would try to avoid it," he argues, thinking of the prejudice he felt for the label.

Silicon Valley: fruit of university environments

Brazilians who went to study entrepreneurship at renowned institutions in Silicon Valley return with the same impression. “ Stanford motivates you to see how big ventures, ideas, things that have already been done in humanity were done by people like you,” says Miguel Andorffy, creator of the educational site MeSalva. For him, the giant academic institution around which the most important center of technology companies was built causes his students to think big. "You see all the cases of people who left there and you want to do something big, too."

In the words of AndrĂ© Penha, creator of the property rental website QuintoAndar, Stanford's “ecosystem” attracts and motivates entrepreneurs. “The innovation discourse is well known inside. The university encourages you to take risks to do something that has not yet been done ”, he observes. AndrĂ© also compares the local university spirit to “good brainwashing”. "I knew I was going to set up a big business to impact people's lives."

In addition to motivational speeches, the entrepreneurial spirit is also expressed in attitudes. For Paulo Mannheimer, an MBA student from Berkeley , it was thanks to the support of the university that he managed to make two ventures possible over the years he studied there. The first time, in the late 1990s, he was able to lock the course to deal with his investments. "It is very rare for a school to allow the MBA to be closed, but they agreed because that was the essence: running a business." The second time, years later, when he returned to California to finish his studies, Paulo started a software company from inside his dormitory. “People kept coming and going from my room all the time to see what was going on. I said I was starting a business and they allowed me to continue ”.

The importance of the “entrepreneurial ecosystem”

Gabriela Toquarto, responsible for strategies with universities at Endeavor, also highlights the importance of an “entrepreneurial ecosystem” in universities.

According to a methodology developed by the organization itself, which supports high-impact entrepreneurs, students watch the programmatic content online and use the classroom space for more dynamic activities, such as debates and project creation. According to her, the theory can and should be passed on to other activities, such as lectures with market people, visits to successful ventures, hackathons , mentoring programs, etc.

“The disciplines must be as transversal as possible. The more people involved, the better ”, he says. "The classroom must be just one of the interactions."

In the end, the bottom line is that, no matter what your business idea is, studying entrepreneurship can be a good idea. Both you and your project can always benefit from the knowledge and networking that an entrepreneurial university will offer.

Interested in Entrepreneurship?

Anyone looking for a gateway to a career in Entrepreneurship and Technology has until 3/9 to register for the Conference On Practice Entrepreneurship and Technology  - a free career conference promoted by the Estudar Foundation that aims to connect young students and newcomers. trained with the best companies and job opportunities in the sector. If you want to be face to face with recruiters from companies like Endeavor, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, be sure to sign up:

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