Is corporate experience an asset to…

…become an entrepreneur? 2 years after my move from the corporate to the entrepreneurial  world, I often get this question.

I think that shouldn’t be the first question. I think it should be: can you become an entrepreneur, or are you born as one? If you can become one, does corporate experience help you in becoming a better one?

How do you know you are an entrepreneur? Trying always helps! Failing, learning and trying again too! According to MoreBusiness.com, about 20 or 25 years ago if you asked almost any expert to describe a successful entrepreneur, you would probably have been given a list similar to this:

  • Male
  • Only child
  • About 35 to 45 years old
  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering
  • Protestant
  • Born in the Midwest
  • Father owns a hardware store
  • As a youth, delivered newspapers and sold lemonade

Hilarious right? But I do understand why they came up with this list. I think it’s all about having very specific qualities that you learn and want to learn through the years, from your parents, your friends, during your education, so hopefully also during your corporate life.

I was lucky to work mainly in organisations with an intrapreneurial spirit. Well, lucky, I picked them! I also worked in at least one that didn’t know a thing about intrapreneurship. I guess I can compare and I can say that for me, corporate experience helps me a lot in my daily work. I can imagine that for a lot of my former colleagues, it didn’t make any difference. So once again, it’s not rocket science: “You make your own future.”

Side question: “Does an MBA help?” Well there again, it probably depends on the MBA you follow. In my case: not really. Too theoretical. Already did Math and Computer Science, so wasn’t looking for any more theory and Excel spreadsheets. If the MBA would help you in overcoming all the fears you inherit by only working on numbers, it’s probably a very good start. Your heart is such an important factor and motivator to go out there and do your thing. To follow your heart is a silly statement in most schools…

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