Why Is It Critical To Place a Greater Emphasis On Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Mindset In Business School?

When a B-school is entrepreneurial, its students get an opportunity to experientially learn from the ecosystem inside the B-school. This prepares the students to handle real-world problems and face challenges in a cutting-edge world

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The aim of any good business school (B-school) is to impart education to students so that they become better managers and leaders, leading any organization. An entrepreneurial mindset largely contributes to this. An entrepreneurial mindset is a skill/ability that every businessman, manager, and leader requires, whether they are part of large or small organizations (corporate or government); it is not something, which only an entrepreneur, who starts a new venture, requires. An entrepreneurial mindset is a thinking paradigm that gives an ability to rapidly sense and identify opportunities; leverage them under highly uncertain conditions. This mindset also helps an individual to learn from mistakes/failures and overcome using available resources. Research has identified different entrepreneurial mindset domains: opportunity recognition; creativity and innovation; risk and uncertainty management; critical thinking and problem-solving; communication and collaboration; and future orientation. Different individuals would have different levels of an entrepreneurial mindset, with some having high or low levels. People with a high level of entrepreneurial mindset would be very quick in identifying opportunities and leveraging them by taking appropriate risks, whereas people with a low level, would require more time and effort in leveraging such opportunities. However, people with a low level of entrepreneurial mindset can improve this skill, and this is what a B-school needs to do to their students.

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Business schools need to cultivate and enhance entrepreneurial mindset among students, as they are the main customers. An entrepreneurial mindset can be developed through various means such as formal education, and tacit and experiential learning through exposure to risks and uncertainties. To promote an entrepreneurial mindset in a B-school, the management/administration (which includes faculties and staff) and students need to work towards it consciously and continuously.

There are various ways through which a student can acquire an entrepreneurial mindset. One of them is by being in a cross-cultural environment. This broadens their views and helps in appreciating the bigger picture. Secondly, students should be encouraged to organize and/or participate in several events/programs, to get practical experience in handling these events, and the associated risks and uncertainties. It would be better for students to experience failure in some instances so that they can learn from their mistakes/failures. This would be one of the best ways for them to have an experiencial learning to handle various uncertainties. A management school needs to provide an ambience and ecosystem which provides this experiential learning.

It is not only the students but also the management/administrative staffs of a B-school that need to have an entrepreneurial mindset. They have to look into the future requirements of the businesses and thereby design and formulate the course curriculum; they need to take some risks in predicting the future trends. Secondly, the management of any B-school needs to be quick in their decisions, as they operate in a competitive environment since several B-schools have recently established. A progressive B-school has to be innovative and creative in attracting students. The B-schools also need to think collaboratively. They can collaborate with other educational institutions so that it becomes a win-win situation for both institutions; for example, collaborative joint programs/degrees between two/three institutions located in different countries. Another collaboration can be a partnership with industry (corporates), whereby the educational institution can train and provide students with tailor-made skill-sets, so as to meet industry-specific requirements. The B-schools can also undertake consulting and solve industry problems. In developed countries, theories developed by management schools inform/guide industrial practice. However, this is not popular in developing countries. Some corporate firms may not have a research and development (R&D) facility. In such cases, the academic institution can undertake R&D, which can be a mutual win-win. All this collaborative work would expose the B-school to varying degrees of risk and uncertainty, but this is the only way ahead. Cultivating and establishing an entrepreneurial mindset in a B-school requires entrepreneurial leaders to be part of the top management. These leaders need to orchestrate an opportunity-seeking mindset among management teams, set the working climate, and then motivate and move the teams. The top leadership needs to act entrepreneurially in a B-school and be comfortable in handling risks. They need to sense, act, think adaptably and make decisions in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment. When a B-school is entrepreneurial, its students get an opportunity to experientially learn from the ecosystem inside the B-school. This prepares the students to handle real-world problems and face challenges in a cutting-edge world.

In conclusion, B-schools need to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset, so that the students who pass out will be better managers and leaders and be ready to enter 21st-century workplaces so that they can take the national economy to a higher level. In today's VUCA world, an entrepreneurial mindset is considered an essential non-cognitive skill set for students. A business school that wants to be successful needs to have top management that has an entrepreneurial mindset that embraces new technology, innovation, and collaboration. Being such a place, the entrepreneurial mindset will imprint on the students who need such a mindset to be competitive in a business world. This is kind of: be the change you want your students to carry into the future, in line with Mahatma Gandhi's quote "be the change you want to see'.