Why Do We Treat Student Entrepreneurs Like Students and Not Like Entrepreneurs?

Student entrepreneurship has always been a tricky thing.

A few years ago, I spent a semester as an entrepreneur-in-residence in a first-year MBA entrepreneurship program. I was doing it to try to figure out how to teach startup. It was kind of a disaster. I didn’t learn anything, which was OK, but I also didn’t teach anything.

The class was so busy focused on either the strategic nuts-and-bolts lesson or the mechanics of the tactical nature of their projects, that there was little room for me to talk about the stuff I think should be the foundation of entrepreneurial education: the experiential “why.”

There were open discussions sometimes, actually a lot of the time, but this would always devolve into an in-depth litany of someone’s specific issue, which was usually personal. Open discussion turned into a psychology class.

I mean, it’s no secret that the best way to learn entrepreneurship is to do it. The problem is that kind of education is expensive, it takes a long time, and sometimes you have to do the wrong thing a dozen times or more to learn not to do the one stupid thing you’re doing to sabotage yourself.

There must be some way to distill this experiential knowledge into something that can be learned outside of the school of hard knocks.

Some universities are lucky enough to have access to a wealth of working entrepreneurs, especially those universities in startup hubs (I’m looking at Stanford and NYU). But sometimes that turns into a guest lecture, and that lecture is usually about basic drive and motivation. Either that or some get into shock talk: You will fail and it will suck or you will have to compromise and it will suck — blah blah blah.

So here’s my solution: Offer students the kind of Q&A that happens between real entrepreneurs, and not just top tier entrepreneurs, all entrepreneurs.

That’s what Teaching Startup is. It’s Q&A in a newsletter. It works just as well for students as it does the rest of the entrepreneurs.

I’m going to prove my point.

Because it kind of sucks right now to be a college student, I’m going to offer anyone with an .edu address a subscription for Teaching Startup for $5 a month until May 2021. You don’t need a promo code. Just sign up for the free trial with your .edu address.

If you’re not a college student, use the promo code NOTASTUDENT and you’ll get the free trial and your first month for $5. After that it’s $10 a month.

I’m betting students and non-students alike will see this as a better (and affordable) way to learn to be a better entrepreneur than me trying to settle cofounder arguments in an MBA class.