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
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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 19 2012: I say that leaders are born not made. I say this because I myself am only a freshman in high school but I have noticed that the kids who were leading in first grade are still leading today. And I have no business experience but I would say that having a successful business depends on how bad you yourself wants it and if you can inspire the people around you like Simon Sinek's great TED talk, "How great leaders inspire action".
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      Mar 20 2012: Michael, good for you. Welcome to this thread and I commend you for your zeal and determination. I would assume that by your comment you would count yourself among those leaders? If so, do you feel your education is benefiting you in your efforts or hindering? Perhaps you have the most real time perspective of any of us who have commented thus far. Let us know!
      • Mar 20 2012: Well yes I would consider myself one of those leaders and I would also say that education hasn't hurt if that's what you are asking. I wouldn't consider myself one of the smartest kids in my class, I'm only a year ahead in science and other than that I am taking advantage if every higher level class I can. With that being said I feel that education especially now is just a tool in order to construct the final product that is the students future. My school district is the highest achieving public school district in central Ohio, maybe the whole state I'm not sure, but this education is given to every kid who walks into the door of a classroom. This is where I'm going to connect back to what I said earlier in that it is up to the student to use that education. In the city I live in the question is not are you going to college but rather what college are you planning on going to. It is up to the child to take that extra AP or IB class versus just taking the regular class. Now when I bring this back to leadership I feel that the best leaders in the school have taken full advantage of the opportunity at hand and have turned it into something great. I hope that this helps in the conversation, if you would ever like me to comment on anything regarding education feel free to ask.

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