TED Conversations

Brant Scheifler

Founder & Chief Encourager, Whiteboard Entrepreneur.com

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Does formal education play a significant role in the success of entrepreneurs and the outcomes of their business activities?

The foreground of such debate is perhaps seen in this debate: Are leaders born or made? With multiple TED (and Tedx) talks discussing entrepreneurship, I was curious what the community thought about the role that education plays in the success of the entrepreneur. (*please don't just say, it depends.)

Topics: Entrepreneurs

Closing Statement from Brant Scheifler

Thanks all for your thoughts and comments. It's clear that most commentators don't view education as being vital to the success of the entrepreneur. In fact, many feel it can be a hindrance. With that said, many pointed out that education is what you make of it and that it can be utilized as a tool, even if that tool is context/perspective. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

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    Mar 14 2012: actually it is related about that how much time does formal education take time from us? i am studying now but at the same time i have many projects in my mind to do. but i have a lot things to do for my studies and so there is no time to develop myself out of formal education. So, if there is no balance, it can be really harmful. i dont think so that all topics that we learn at schools are so beneficial. Some of them are really useless. I believe that people can learn in real manner when they experience. Probably they think that we want to do something after studies but this is not true
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      Mar 17 2012: Ufuk, where are you studying if I may ask? I know what you mean, in fact, I can relate. I went to college and was simultaneously launching a business at the time. To be honest, I was learning much more from my real world activities. At the same time, some (very few) of my classes offered an interesting perspective on some of my entrepreneurial activities but most classes (for me) were geared toward making me a corporate employee. I found some value, but most of the content, in my experience, wasn't applicable. Yet, many of us feel we must have a degree to obtain real world credibility. Strange. Do you plan on pursuing your ideas while you are in school or does your coursework demand that you wait?
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        Mar 17 2012: Hey Brant,

        I study in Poland as you said most of studies aim to prepare students for companies. I hear so much time words which is starting like "for companies". However i wanna hear more entrepreneurship or our own business. But, still i am trying to go on my way and pursue my ideas eventhough i dont have much time after studies. Maybe i am moving with small steps but it is better to be waiting i think. i guess you pursued your ideas while you were studying, didnt you ?

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          Mar 18 2012: Yes, it's possible to pursue both, but it has its challenges. One thing I did to use my school time efficiently was this. Whenever possible, I would select research papers that allowed me to research the market or customer demographics I was also doing business in. That way my time spent studying (sometimes) crossed over into my business activities. The other thing available today is outsourcing. I do a ton of that now. There are lots of sites on the net these days that allow you to delegate some of your business tasks to workers, and it can be quite cost effective. All the best, would love to hear about the ideas you want to pursue.

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