Updated April 2016 from 7/2009-you have to read this-it happened!
Teaching the entrepreneurial mind is not only new to homeschoolers, but is relatively new in the most respected academic institutions. The validity of entrepreneurial thinking has been questioned and even attacked as frivolous, undisciplined, and ineffectual. Research is beginning to emerge to prove very differently. We knew that change was on the horizon with the rapid advance of technology, but few actually forsaw what is taking place. What we see today is very different from only 10 years ago, and will be even more complex in the next 10 years. (remember readers, this was written in 2009!)
What does this mean for our children? How do we prepare them for a future that is impossible to predict? Each generation of the last century could adapt within their lifetimes to the slower, more predictable changes. That is no longer the case. Information offered in universities is often outdated before the course is over, and certainly by graduation. In the first time in history, knowledge is not the coveted commodity, but the ability to adapt, to think critically, and to solve problems with what is immediately available.
In the article, MBAs vs. Entrepreneurs: Who Has the Right Stuff for Tough Times?, Bill Taylor at Harvard Business Press is taking a hard look at the changes MBA’s from prestigious schools such as Harvard are facing as they enter the work world. It seems that an MBA from Harvard no longer carries the promise of the most prominent positions it once did. Mr. Taylor says:
As the economy experiences the most deep-seated changes in decades, maybe it’s time to change our minds about what kinds of people are best-equipped to become business leaders.
So what kinds of people does Mr. Taylor think are candidates for great business leadership? His answer refers to a study done by Saras Sarasvathy who teaches entrepreneurship at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. She has written highly regarded essays, white papers and an outstanding book on the research she’s done on what makes a good candidate for a great business leader.
Her work has revolved around the question: What makes entrepreneurs “entrepreneurial” as well as answering whether there is such a thing as “entrepreneurial thinking”? The research she has done provides new insight into the significant difference entrepreneurial thinking offers versus the reasoning style that results from a traditional MBA education. Even degrees from schools with status of the likes of Harvard.
She believes the education MBA’s receive leave them with a reasoning and approach to business that may not fit the enormous changes we are currently experiencing in the economy. (remember…we’re in 2009-only the cusp of the social network revolution!)
Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are embracing a type of critical thinking that she believes is more suited to survive what is to come. MBA’s tend to approach business with facts and figures, analyzing with results seen to work in the past. Utilizing what is at hand, and a keen eye on the future, entrepreneurs use reasoning that flexes with results. Instead of starting with a specific goal and achieving it in the most efficient way, an entrepreneur carefully watches each result and moves with it, with an adaptability that could cause a Harvard MBA to short circuit.
I’ll leave the rest of the details for you to read in the article, but it boils down to what homeschoolers have known from the start. What I call ‘hardcore homeschoolers’ have made the decision to educate their children at home not as much to avoid what the public schools inflict, but to provide what they do not. Understanding their children better than the best trained teacher possibly could, they can not only adapt their education to their personal learning styles, but encourage the critical thinking skills and the ‘out of the box’ mentality our youth will need to navigate an uncertain future.
As an unexpected result, homeschooling now appears to offer the most fertile ground for teaching entrepreneurial thinking. It offers creative ways to learn and put that learning into practice. Early homeschools often lacked resources and outside support to create the atmosphere they knew was best, but now with the internet and the support of millions that have gone before them, the possibilities are infinite. (That’s not to say homeschool is the only way!)
Now, according to the most recent research, knowing how to think entrepreneurially not only increases career marketability, but is being cited as the foundation to turn our economy around. Entrepreneurs really can change the world!
Just one more reason to teach young entrepreneurs by starting a family home business!