‘WE WANT TO PREPARE PEOPLE FOR A LIFETIME OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP’
The school also wanted to rethink the way it teaches entrepreneurship. Rather than train students to do startups, the emphasis will be on inculcating an entrepreneurial mindset. “Coming back to data from recruiters, the second thing they look for is the ability of a person to manage him or herself,” explains Boulding. “When people typically hear the world entrepreneurship, they think of the world of startups. That is an important part of entrepreneurship but the majority of students who come out of an MBA program will not be founders immediately. So we want to prepare people for a lifetime of entrepreneurship when they see something that is new and innovative and can create value.
“The median age of a successful founder is 39 because it takes experience in working in an area to identify where things fall short so you can solve a problem and come up with something that is value creating for consumers and the firm itself. There is this focus on thinking about what it takes to succeed as a founder and there is another area that is fundamentally important. Every firm wants to hire someone with an entrepreneurial mindset. It’s not just relevant for new firms. Existing firms need people who are entrepreneurial because they need people to sustain and drive innovation in their firms.”
Fuqua will introduce the course in the first summer term and then connect it to other classes in marketing and finance.
‘WE ARE NOT GOING TO TELL STUDENTS THIS IS WHAT THEY SHOULD DO’
And finally, the third theme will center on managing technology to drive transformation. “There is just no question that technology has been changing the world of business in very dramatic ways,” says Boulding. “Students need to understand the implications of big data and artificial intelligence and to have an understanding of how STEM skills are reshaping organizations. Right now people are very focused on digital transformation and the role AI will play. I think there are too many people in the workforce who do not understand how that transformation will happen. The limiting factor on what we can do is not the underlying technology. It is the leadership capability to harness that technology in the appropriate ways.
“One thing that has gotten negative attention is the role of technology in eliminating jobs. We are not focused on just what we can selfishly accomplish because we understand there is potentially a backlash on business decisions. We are not going to tell students this is what they should do. We are telling them that these issues are those they will confront. It’s not our business to tell people what they choose but it is our business to prepare people for these increasingly complicated decisions.”