At Lenovo we are entrepreneurs committed to driving change. Jeff Reid, of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, introduces entrepreneurship as a major worth exploring.
Just getting into college can be confusing and overwhelming enough. But then you need to choose what subjects you’re going to study. Many people are drawn to majors that interest them or that seem likely to yield the best job prospects come graduation. My recommendation is that you consider making entrepreneurship a part of your college experience. Doing so can help set you up for success in life, even if you think you never want to start a business of your own.
Nearly every four-year university or community college has some sort of program in entrepreneurship. Your school might offer a major or a minor, or perhaps just some elective courses. You are also likely to find extra-curricular activities such as entrepreneurial student clubs, pitch competitions, mentors or incubators.
Whatever path you choose, I thought I would present to you some reasons you might want to take advantage of the entrepreneurship opportunities at your school.
Learn skills that are essential for your future
The pace of change in our world is only growing faster so you’ll need to learn how to thrive in an environment of disruption, ambiguity and constant change. Industries are constantly being disrupted and it’s possible you won’t hold any individual job for more than a few years. The idea of getting a “steady job” seems more and more like a thing of the past so, no matter what career you choose, prepare for disruption. Entrepreneurship classes and activities are designed to help you not just embrace change, but to identify and take advantage of new opportunities when they arise.
It’s not just about starting a business
While many people want to someday own their own business, learning about entrepreneurship is about so much more than just founding your own startup. Maybe you want to join the team of a small high-growth company that someone else has founded, or perhaps you want to be innovative within a large company, non-profit, or government organization. All organizations need creative problem-solvers, which is what you can become by engaging in your school’s entrepreneurship program.
It’s not just for business majors
You might think that entrepreneurship is only for business majors but, of course, anyone can learn to be entrepreneurial. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs have come from liberal arts, the sciences or other non-business fields. Many schools offer an entrepreneurship minor that you can pair with any major. You don’t need to have a deep understanding of finance or accounting in order to learn entrepreneurial skills.
Pursue your interests or even your passion
Studying entrepreneurship can be a way for you to discover and pursue something you are passionate about. You are much more likely to be happy and successful in life if you choose a career that you care deeply about, not just one that’s popular or that pays the most. And while it’s certainly true that not everyone is in a position to take the risk involved with starting a business, if you immerse yourself in a topic that interests you, you’re likely to find others who share your interests and maybe even discover an entrepreneurial opportunity that doesn’t require taking a huge risk. For instance, instead of working for a huge company where your contribution may not feel impactful, why not join a team of people that share your values and your interest in solving a meaningful problem? Studying entrepreneurship can help you understand how newer, smaller organizations may be a better fit for your career plans.
In more than 20 years of working with students, I have never found one who was sorry they studied entrepreneurship as part of their college experience. No matter where you study, I encourage you to take some classes and become a part of the entrepreneurial community at your school. It could be one of the best, most important decisions you ever make.
Jeff Reid is Professor of the Practice at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and Founding Director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative. You can follow him on Twitter here.