MBA News: Teaching Entrepreneurship Is Difficult, Says Martin Trust Center Director

The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed this week in which Bill Aulet—former professional basketball player and current director of Sloan’s Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship—addresses what he sees as the youthful state of entrepreneurial education. Citing a tendency to fill the “intellectual and scholarly vacuum” with overly mythologized start-up anecdotes, Aulet says that entrepreneurial education has yet to come into its own. He adds that although it “will never be fully like law, medicine, or accounting, colleges need to start thinking of entrepreneurship as a discipline that demands similar academic rigor.”

Yet despite the increasing popularity of viewing entrepreneurship as a lucrative career path, it remains one of the smallest sectors in which newly minted MBAs actually choose to work. Only 6.5% of MIT Sloan’s Class of 2012 (26 MBAs) reported starting their own business after graduation—and 6.5% was actually quite high compared with the numbers at other top ten schools. Perhaps, as Aulet suggests, schools need to do a better job of imparting the sort of skills and resources that translate to real world success. Another issue may be that too many MBAs are busy paying back the student loan money they spent on weekend party trips to Iceland and Moscow and need to find jobs that will allow them to pay down their student loans immediately.

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