From the January 1997 issue of Entrepreneur

Pin-stripe suits or blue jeans? Today's college seniors are thinking they'd rather wear the latter to work after graduation. According to a recent survey, college seniors are leaning toward entrepreneurship rather than joining the corporate world upon commencement. The study, commissioned by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) and conducted by the George H. Gallup International Institute, contains some surprising revelations about how today's young people see their futures.

In the survey, which polled almost 1,000 college seniors nationwide, 49 percent of men and 31 per- cent of women said they were interested in pursuing entrepreneurship when they graduate. According to GMAC president Dave Wilson, "Young people are saying `Only I can ensure my employability for life. I can't count on anyone else to do it for me.' "

Also, says Wilson, "Young people are [no longer] making decisions [solely] for economic reasons." Where college graduates' main concern used to be starting salary, they are now more interested in being part of something exciting and achieving a balance between work and family. Quality of life is a precious commodity for today's college seniors.

How will the trend toward entrepreneurship affect the work force and the economy in the long run? Wilson says large corporations will find it increasingly difficult to woo top-notch grads and will have to work hard to attract them. Ownership in a company, freedom to set their own hours, a real chance to make a difference: These are a few of the things the next generation of movers and shakers are looking for in their jobs--and in life.

Dress For Success

A fashion legend puts your office to the test.

If you've got a flair for office decor, consider entering the first annual Okidata Best Dressed Small Business Contest, judged by none other than Mr. Blackwell. Turning his sharp eye from his usual celebrity targets, Mr. Blackwell is taking aim at entrepreneurs' fashion sensibilities as expressed through their office environments.

"If I go into an office that has zero personality, I get totally bored," says Mr. Blackwell, who considers "a row of fluorescent lights and all the machines lined up" as despicable as polyester pants and a pocket protector. "I don't care if you decorate with egg crates or Louis XV," he says. "I want to see attitude!"

Participants must submit an essay of 150 words or less explaining why their office should win the award. Mr. Blackwell will select 20 semifinalists and announce the winner on March 15.

Besides bestowing the winner with $25,000 in cash and nearly $5,000 in prizes, the fashion critic hopes to present an award for the worst dressed office, and would like to surprise the offender with a personal visit. "I won't attack the entrepreneur," he says, "just his or her furniture!"

The deadline for entries is January 15. For an application, call (800) OKI-DATA, fax a request to (212) 213-7221, or visit the com-pany's Web site at http://okidata.com. --J.C.

Read All About It

What are business owners reading these days? The top 10 business books at press time (based on net sales) were:

1. The Dilbert Principle, by Scott Adams, $20 (Harper Business)

2. Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook, by Scott Adams, $16 (HarperBusiness)

3. Wall Street Money Machine, by Wade Cook, $24.95 (United Support Association)

4. Mean Business, by Albert Dunlap, $25 (Random House)

5. Only the Paranoid Survive, by Andrew S. Grove, $27.50 (Doubleday & Co.)

6. Wave Three to Building Your Downline: Your Guide to Building a Successful Network Marketing Empire, by Richard Poe, $14.95 (Prima Publishing Co.)

7. Investing for Dummies, by Eric Tyson, $19.99 (IDG Books Worldwide)

8. What Color Is Your Parachute--1996, by Richard Nelson Bolles (Ingram)

9. Beardstown Ladies' Common Sense Investment Guide: How We Beat the Stock Market and How You Can, Too, by the Beardstown Ladies' Investment Club, $10.95 (Hyperion)

10. Wave Three: The New Era in Network Marketing, by Richard Poe, $14.95 (Prima Publishing Co.)

Contact Sources

Mr. Blackwell, (800) OKIDATA;

Graduate Management Admission Council, http://www.gmat.org email: gmacmail@gmac.com

Hagberg Consulting Group, 950 Tower Ln., 7th Fl., Foster City, CA 94404, (415) 377-0232;

Village Music Circles, 108 Coalinga Wy., Santa Cruz, CA 95060, (408) 458-1946.