During the coronavirus pandemic, companies across multiple industries began shifting their focuses. Cleaning supply companies began creating mass quantities of hand sanitizer, clothing companies and designer brands began releasing uniquely patterned masks, and certain manufacturing industries focused on creating PPE for front line medical professionals.
The entrepreneurs behind these decisions didn’t follow a formula. They weren’t using secret tricks used in business school. Instead, they thought on their feet and reacted to market forces at the moment. If these people had gone the old-school way of doing cost analyses and long-term investments, they may never have changed their focus at all.
In the business world, “effectuation” is the name for this kind of seat-of-the-pants entrepreneurship. People who use this method rely on their current knowledge, their existing network, and their own personal identity when making their decisions. You can’t often learn this in business school. And yet with the uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus, this type of approach is increasingly more logical to use in the business world.
Formal MBA programs come with entrepreneurship pursuits like startup competitions, investment opportunities, and formal classes. However, many business professionals don’t believe that entrepreneurship can be taught on an academic basis. Many successful entrepreneurs have no business background, and some don’t even have a college education.
In fact, the traditional business school lessons might inhibit your ability to be a creative entrepreneur. These lessons tend to rely on using precise calculations, abstract formulas, and specific variables. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, go against the traditional grain. They act against expectations, imagine a new approach to the system, and disrupt the current flow of things.
With that said, some schools have made efforts to teach entrepreneurship in a way that’s adapted to today’s modern world. At the University of Toronto, there’s a program that uses an “operating theater” to give students hands-on experience with bold business innovation.
At the University of Virginia, courses focus on unlearning the traditional methods of analysis. The program is based on the idea that considering the risks and pausing to analyze the variables will inhibit you from taking action. According to this theory, a traditional mindset is a too-safe mindset.
The University of Pennsylvania offers a course that combines many traditional business school approaches with modern entrepreneurship models.