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 18 2012: I recognize the need for reform, but am not drawn into it. You asked for answers, I gave you brief versions of the solutions that I have been able to implement in classrooms that I have run or supervised. I also chose to educate myself in a unique manner. I used the colleges to learn what I needed to teach well and be the best parent that I could be, as opposed to following their "guidelines to graduation" as outlined in the "majors" section of the "education" catalog. I finally took my last g.e. units to graduate the last semester of school. Funny how the universities are designed with a lot of corporate structure and systems (advertising, recruitment, even making money!). Anyway, there may be more entrepeneurs if the ed system focused on creativity and ingenuity. Or not. It may be that some of us are just driven to work millions of hours! There are recent studies on orphaned twins raised by different families which show some very interesting things tying genes to behaviors - but not defining the person. These studies show that it is CRITICAL to nurture a child's nature. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to keep the balance between nurturing, guiding and using discipline. In the end, the parent is the first teacher and genetics does play a role in our decision making, but entrepeneurs have hybrid vigor, so we'll always be popping out of whatever system we're raised in to find ways to work without it, yet still within it.
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      Mar 19 2012: I understand. Yes, education reform is a different battle altogether reserved for those who wish to enlist. :) Like you, I understand the need for it, but have not moved onto that front either. Thanks for sharing your experiential perspective!

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