Formal Education and Entrepreneurship

A reader on An Entrepreneur’s Life asked:

If you were asked for advice by an intelligent, graduating, high-school senior who has decided his or her burning desire is to become an entrepreneur and can convince you of that decision; under what conditions would you recommend formal education? College, an MBA program, whatever…?

Michael Cage responded:

My answer is NONE, unless they want the social aspect of college more than the goal of entrepreneurship.

I would recommend they find a hard-nosed, been-there-done-that entrepreneur to mentor them at slave wages (or less, or pay the mentor) for however long it took to learn what has to be learned. Once you know how to run a business, market it, and sell it effectively… you can hire all the biz school grads you want for peanuts. Someone, and I can’t recall who, recently told me, “if I want an MBA; I’ll hire one.” What they teach in books and what a real life entrepreneur deals with on a daily basis are two wildly different things — illustrated almost perfectly by the situation of Kwame and Bill to close out The Apprentice.

I’d be interested to hear Dr. Jeffrey R. Cornwall‘s response to this query?

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