There’s a new educational movement afoot that preaches the value of experiential education over academia. The new generation of tech entrepreneurs argues that a college education doesn’t impart the skills they need to succeed as modern entrepreneurs. Rather than lectures on economics and business management, today’s young Turks are impatient to launch their own start-ups. They think the best way to further their dreams is to jump in at the deep end and see whether they sink or swim. They argue that on-the-job learning will get them farther faster than a bachelor’s degree.
Some of the start-up nouveau riche are putting their money where their mouths are and funding start-up schools designed to train the next generation of entrepreneurs. The schools typically offer specialized training in such areas as computer programming and attracting venture capital. Opportunities to be mentored by successful young entrepreneurs who have already made their mark in cyberspace and to rub shoulders with venture capitalists and angel investors are major selling points for start-up schools. One of the options in the LA area is Ken Rutkowski’s Business Rockstars Academy. Another selling point is the dot.com ambiance. Open workspaces, game rooms and cappuccino bars provide the trappings of success if not the fact.
The last time the college vs. experience argument was fought so vociferously was back in the 1940s when the U.S. desire for upward mobility tipped the scales in favor of a college education and the GI bill made it affordable. Times have changed. The computer science and programming skills that are driving modern innovation can only progress so far in the classroom, many argue. A freer, more collaborative, more intense environment is needed to incubate and nurture the intellectual and creative leaps that will change the world.
Lofty thoughts, but there’s no denying that many of today’s most successful and ultimately most lucrative start-ups began as the brain-child of a 20-year-old college dropout or never-been who pursued his or her dream instead of a college diploma. However, there is some disagreement about whether entrepreneurial skills can be taught or whether they hinge on an innate spark of genius.
For more on this topic, click here to read Time magazine’s very interesting article on The Dream Factories. For the latest information on entrepreneurship and innovative employment, read The Zoondy Daily.