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Why Business Schools Should Let Their Students Start Businesses | WSJ

KARL ULRICH: Stanford’s Graduate School of Business recently admonished its students to wait until graduation to work on their startups. Garth Saloner, the dean of the school, was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article as saying, “we’re not the graduate school of entrepreneurship.”

With due respect to Stanford and to Mr. Saloner, I think this is the wrong perspective to take on an opportunity to reshape business education.

I understand the frustration of faculty members who see their students paying little attention to classroom learning while they focus on creating the next Uber. But such student behavior is a hint at a problem in business education. Students sense a gap between what they are learning in the classroom and the application of that learning to their career objectives.

Students want to focus their energies on, for instance, developing a pricing strategy for their startup, at the expense of doing a homework assignment on pricing for their marketing class. Both experiences can teach students about pricing, but the startup pricing challenge is both more nuanced than the homework assignment, and instills a greater desire to learn.

For instance, a module on estimating price elasticity supports a more general class discussion on pricing. These modules both ensure a consistent high-quality academic experience and allow disciplinary experts to support a large number of students cost effectively.

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Why Business Schools Should Let Their Students Start Businesses – The Experts – WSJ.

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