Where Entrepreneurship Goes to Die

That would be Wharton, according this current junior who blogs about his marketing class.

It’s always amusing to hear these kinds of war stories from undergrad students who have an interest in entrepreneurship and have to suffer through an environment designed for Excel junkies (oops — I mean investment bankers).

I have my own funny Wharton story. Last year some Wharton people came to pitch juniors at my high school on their undergrad business program. As a senior already committed to Claremont, I didn’t plan on attending, but our school college counselor, Jon, asked me to go and tell him what I thought of the presentation. So I did.

After the professor of marketing and admissions person finished their spiel to a captive audience of about 10 juniors, Jon asked me — in front of everyone else — what I thought. I had no idea he was going to put me on the spot. But I nevertheless shared my candid opinion: "I’m not a huge fan of undergrad business programs." I preceded to offer a quick explanation to the juniors in the room, the most important being, "Why study business when you can pick it up quickly in the school of hard knocks? Why not study Plato, as you need an expert to help you understand Plato? Study business in-depth in business school."

This, predictably, infuriated the Wharton people. I believe we got into some mild argument about whether it’s worth studying marketing "in theory" as a 19 or 20 year-old (I have no idea what a marketing textbook would contain, but I’m guessing a lot of colorful graphs). Anyway, soon enough the bell rang and everyone hustled out of the room.

I think undergrad business can work well for some people. I plan to visit many undergrad business programs in this spring. Especially in the areas of finance and accounting, getting a jump start on basic concepts can be helpful. But aspiring entrepreneurs must be aware that most of the undergrad business population may not be filled with entrepreneur-types as much as i-banking dreamers. And those two populations are not always peanut butter and jelly.

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