Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The "E" in EMBA does not stand for Entrepreneur

I really enjoy the WFU MBA program. The level of learning and discussion is excellent, and the quality of the people (classmates & faculty) is outstanding. But the conservativeness of the majority of the group is one aspect that frustrates me every time I drive back to Raleigh on Saturday evenings.

I understand the root of it - a bunch of successful people that have gotten to a decent level in their companies, have families and mortgages, and are happy with where they are today. So they bring their conservative mindset into the classroom, and it shows in many of the discussions we have about company strategies or business models. From talking to friends in other programs, I don't believe these characteristics are unique to the WFU MBA program.

The white elephant in the room is that almost all of my classmates have another 20-30 years of work left in their careers. And on top of that, most of their companies and industries will either not exist or be radically changed in the next 5 years.

I can't tell anybody else how to think or act. But it seems to me that the classroom would be the perfect place to experiment with thinking about innovation, business disruption, new business models, and new forms of risk. Maybe the downturn in the economy will push some people to consider looking at ways in which they can adapt to the changes that will confront us over the next 20-30 years.
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