College Education Should Start with Entrepreneurship

In yesterday’s New York Times, op-ed columnist Thomas Friedman had a piece entitled, “Need a Job? Invent It“. It was a spot-on assertion that in a world where virtually any fact or piece of information is available online, “the capacity to innovate…and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge.”

I’ve long argued that entrepreneurship should be a required course for all college students, much like math, science, or English. In fact, I believe that learning real-world concepts such as opportunity recognition, innovation, iterating and adapting, marshaling resources, team formation, operating with uncertainty and ambiguity, etc. are far more valuable in the 21st century than sines and cosines, the periodic table, and dangling participles.

I’m not arguing that every student major in entrepreneurship, only that every freshman is exposed to the subject matter when he/she starts college. It adds a new lens through which they will view the world, the rest of their learning, and their futures.

Look, the tuition cost of higher education is out of control. A college degree doesn’t matter as much as it used to. Students are not fully prepared to enter today’s workforce and compete in a global economy. Upon graduation, they’re saddled with debt that will take years to pay off. There is no such thing anymore as a career track. There is no corporate ladder. There is no loyalty…from either side.

Inventing your own job through the entrepreneurial process is the only way out. And I can’t think of a better course than entrepreneurship to lay the foundation for “the capacity to innovate…and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration”.

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