Why You Should Study Entrepreneurship in Europe
What Are Entrepreneurship Studies?
The transformation of a new idea or enterprise into action — and, ultimately, economic goods — isn’t a magician’s sleight of hand; rather, it’s the dedicated work of an entrepreneur. Many aspiring entrepreneurs study business during the undergraduate years. This degree can be a first step to learn the skills involved in successful entrepreneurship. Read more about Bachelor degrees in Entrepreneurship here.
Graduate studies in entrepreneurship, which include the Master of Entrepreneurship and the MBA in Entrepreneurship, are structured to provide the knowledge and training to succeed as an entrepreneur, including how to generate sustainable business models, manage with proficiency, understand financials, and capitalize on economic trends. Read more about Masters degrees in Entrepreneurship and MBAs in Entrepreneurship here.
Grads of entrepreneurship programs enter the workforce with unique knowledge and networking connections. This skill set is increasingly sought after by employers in a variety of fields; many degree recipients start their own businesses or join startups while others take on management roles or go into product marketing or consulting.
Europe stands out as experiencing a significant drive toward incorporating entrepreneurship education into its curriculum. The European Commission’s 2012 report, “Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe,” concluded that many European colleges were investing in entrepreneurship education strategies for primary and secondary schools. The report further revealed that a full half of European nations were undergoing educational reform to include an entrepreneurship component. This imperative is attributed to the 21st century challenges facing Europe, and the accompanying drive to create an entrepreneurial culture that will foster innovation and commercial success.
Many European schools and universities offer quality Entrepreneurship degrees, such as the University of Liechtenstein, Jönköping University in Sweden, the Business School Lausanne in Switzerland, the ESCP Europe Business School with its campuses in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Torino, the VU University Amsterdam and Team Academy – International School For Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands, Durham University Business School in the UK, the International School of Management in Paris.
In addition to offering academic programs in entrepreneurship for students, universities are striving toward a marriage of innovation and entrepreneurship across research and academic areas. This new focus on innovation enterprise is in part motivated by lack of capacity: as European economies continue to struggle with converting scientific advancements into commercial success, universities themselves — and by proxy, the academics within them — are taking on entrepreneurial roles.
Europe’s commitment to entrepreneurship is further reinforced by programs like the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. Partly financed by the European Commission, this European exchange programs offers aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to gain the firsthand skills and experience required to start and run small businesses. A critical part of this skill set is learning the importance of teamwork. These hallmarks of the 21st century global economy can lead to long-term and multinational collaboration.
Historically, many self-directed entrepreneurs have insisted on the superiority of self-directed learning over formal education and academic degrees. In fact, one of the hallmarks of the celebrated successful entrepreneur is having ditched — or been ditched by — conventional higher education outlets. (Mark Zuckerberg, anyone? )
So what’s changed? Sure, business visionaries like high school dropout Richard Branson were guided by vision, passion, brilliance, natural talent and maybe even a little luck, but that’s not to say countless other aspiring entrepreneurs can’t gain an essential leading edge with access to the right academic training.
It’s true that the path to successful entrepreneurship is fraught with the unknowable. And because so much of what happens in the world of business is unpredictable, detractors insist that attempting to derive value from formal studies is a waste of time. Proponents — and their numbers have continued to grow exponentially over the past decade — hold to the opposite concept: having a degree not only adds value, but also adds critical credibility which helps candidates stand out from the rest of the pack in a competitive job market.
Furthermore, today’s marketplace is very different than it’s been in the past. An entrepreneurial skill set not only applies to entrepreneurship in its most conventional sense, but also to the workplace in general.
This trend is evidenced by the push to teach these skills in European schools. In fact, a study from Barclays recently concluded that students were leaving school without the most practical skills necessary to success in the contemporary business world. Enterprise education offers a solution by prioritizing the teaching of critical and lateral thinking skills along with specialist knowledge; applied to everything from balance sheets to business plans, this path offers powerful potential.
Another key to success in the contemporary business world? Networking connections. Exposure to potential collaborators and investors can be a jump start to success — particularly in the age of technology. In short, successful 21st century entrepreneurship relies as much on the ability to learn from others and embrace a global perspective as it does from an innovative spirit.