Study: Entrepreneurs First Get Down to Business in the Classroom

Adults classroomEntrepreneurs aren't just born; they're made -- in classrooms.

A new study by Babson College found "overwhelming evidence" that even just a few elective courses in entrepreneurship can inspire students to later launch their own businesses.

Researchers at the Wellesley, Mass., school said the findings should put another dent in the old argument that entrepreneurship cannot be taught. "We now have excellent empirical evidence that it makes a difference," they wrote. "We think that entrepreneurship should be taught not only for the production and training of entrepreneurs but also to help students decide if they have the right stuff to be entrepreneurs before they embark on careers for which they may be ill-suited."

If students want to really light a fire under their unformed dreams to someday launch a startup, three classes are better than two, the researchers added. The extra lesson time apparently further persuades students to become their own bosses. But taking just one class doesn't do the trick, researchers determined. Apparently, some take a single course out of curiosity and decide that running a business isn't for them.

The study also found that taking classes had a greater impact than having parents who were entrepreneurs, and that the number of students who desired to begin a company and later actually began one did not differ between undergraduates and graduate students.

A handful of Babson professors analyzed the career paths of 3,755 Babson graduates from 1985 to 2009. Their conclusion: "We believe that entrepreneurship should be taught to every business student because it is the very origin of all businesses -- after all, there would be no business schools if there had never been any entrepreneurs!"

Note that the findings might not be agenda-free. Babson is a business school, and a good one: Its MBA program was ranked first in entrepreneurship by U.S. News & World Report in 2010, and its undergraduate program was ranked 17th by Bloomberg Businessweek.

But the point is well-taken: Learning about entrepreneurship can be a smart first step on the road to actually becoming an entrepreneur.

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I totally agree and attribute much of this success and confirmation to the late Professor Jeff Timmons who continuously underscored this message and teaching. I miss him very much and I expect so does Babson.

Guy R. Guarch

June 27 2011 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would hope, and all the unofficial data confirms,that those who employ others to help them "realize" their dreams of a successful business, would also remember those workers, or employees, that help their business flourish! All to often, they forget that you are not without obligation to those who , on a day to day basis, put their time and effort, into your dream, to make a success of your venture, only to be forgotten when growth, and success comes, and relegated to "just an employee!! These are things that are NOT taught in business schools, and large corporations seem to want it that way, however, morally, and ethically, it is the correct thing to do!!

June 27 2011 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well it seems like an excellant idea to me.Maybe it encourages kids who are so inclined but,I belive it would also inspire some kids to develope ideas.This is so much more practicle then some of the nonsence they teach.Art music and sports are good ,but they do not prepare you for life.Entrepreneurs are not only lemonaid stands and tee shirt shops,they are also the kids that start computer business in their parents garages and become billionaires.
Liberals belive you should teach students how to earn an honest living without screwing everyone and their brothers

June 27 2011 at 10:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to spike's comment

And conservatives think you should screw everyone for profit, ignore morality, take care of "Me", and go to church on Sunday, with your concealed weapon, at your side!!

June 27 2011 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I do not believe people take this class and then decide to be an entrepreneur. They only take this course to get further ideas. Just like a self employed person will take a college course in tax accounting. People that open their own business are those that are driven by success and the challenge. Our country is comprised by three basic groups. The lazy that want someone to take care of them. They do not want to further their education or learn a skill. They are happy with the 10 dollar an hour job and government subsidies. Group 2 get higher educations but seek jobs with a set income and benefits. they feel more comfortable knowing what they will bring home every week. The last group are the ones that take the challenge to open a business and strive for success. This group will work many hours and sometimes take nothing home. It only makes them drive even harder towards success.
The problem with this is once he does become successful the government want to take from him to give to those that have no drive.

June 27 2011 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the people who take classes like this are those who already have an inclination to become entrepreuners. So maybe the class is just a reflection of an interest -- not the spark.

June 27 2011 at 8:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Liberals believe in Robin Hood and Slavery.................Democrats need to take some Classes @ Babson College !

June 27 2011 at 8:06 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to frank1946's comment


June 27 2011 at 12:40 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Here you can really broaden your horiizens.

June 26 2011 at 11:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

On this same page is a story about the Food Pyramid. Is this some kind of humor ?
Like Americans are mal-nourished. Two thirds of us are over weight, and one third are obese.
Sure, somebody needs to tell us how to eat. Yeah, right...Alfie-

June 26 2011 at 9:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

gone's brain is really gone. When Obamacare kicks in he'll get his new chimp brain.....chee, chee, chee. It will be an improvement.

June 26 2011 at 9:00 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply