Sundar Pichai’s elevation as CEO of Google and the rise of another India-born Satya Nadella, at Microsoft has been met with an expected blend of pride and propaganda in India. It is important for us in India to take note that the likes of Pichai and Nadella have thrived in a facilitating political, cultural and B-School environment that values creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The chances of India incubating a Google or Microsoft — which essentially were startups that grew into large business houses — will remain slim if we do not have this enabling environment to nurture creativity and entrepreneurship.
Business Education has been provided by institutions of higher learning for more than a century now. Wharton was the first business school in 1880s from where Pichai also was graduated. First MBA was offered in 1908. Those days, Business Schools were founded to train managers, not entrepreneurs. The first course on entrepreneurship was offered at the Harvard Business School in 1947.
The people who immediately spring to mind when one reflects of entrepreneurs – Bill Gates, Richard Branson or Dirubai Ambani, for example-few have done more than deliver a speech at B-School convocations. Thinking about these leaders makes us to partially believe that entrepreneurship may have more to do with genes than classroom experience. Do entrepreneurs really need a business school education? While it is a fact and a sensible finding that the grooming in B-Schools help entrepreneurs to do it better and faster, the valid question is whether it is really helping to incubate and foster creativity and entrepreneurship
Many business schools now realizes this fact and giving importance to nurture creativity and entrepreneurial orientation among their students and that is, of course, the need of the hour. Business Schools to be encouraged in giving opportunities for students to interact with industry while doing their studies. B-Schools should come forward and explore ways to strengthen relationship between educational institutes and corporates.
Apart from the trainers from pure academia, the right mix of the faculty with industry background and visiting faculties from entrepreneur community would be able to give more insights in to the practical and creative aspects of business. The students should study the cases of failures along with success stories of ventures to convert their orientation effectively to practical entrepreneurship.
B-Schools need to loosen the structural reins to foster creativity. They are required to “think outside the school” to create a new generation of passionate, self-directed creative learners; who can then become the creative leaders and entrepreneurs we desperately need to solve our growing 21st century challenges of our country.
Having a business incubation centre in every business school would contribute to creative entrepreneurship development. In short, business education should create and nurture businessmen with creativity along with creating business professionals and that should be the objective of B-Schools.
(The author is an entrepreneur who is presently doing his doctoral studies in management at Alliance University. He can be reached on email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org)