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Importance of Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset as a Student

Student Entrepreneurial Mindset

November 9, 2021

One of the great things about being a college professor is meeting prospective students and having conversations about future goals, finding out what they like and just getting to know them. It is a big world full of great opportunities, and it is fun to talk about their life and dreams for the future. In all my years of doing this, there is one consistent message I share; participating in entrepreneurship is imperative for their future success. The sooner they start, the better.Student Collaboration

This doesn’t mean they need to run out and start a business post academia. It means the skills you learn from involvement with entrepreneurial learning will be impactful to any future career, from starting a business to working in corporate America. Students learn about strengths and how to utilize them, any weaknesses and how to connect with others who can help eliminate them. This entrepreneurial mindset many times includes:

  • How to use curiosity and innovation to find resourceful approaches to difficult problems
  • How to collaborate and work with a team
  • How to speak in public and prepare effective presentations
  • How to collect and analyze information
  • How to solve complex problems that lack a clear answer

One of the biggest advantages of getting started with entrepreneurship at a younger age is the opportunity to learn these skills in a safe environment. Encouraging today’s youth to participate in business programs is a game changer. Many Iowa high schools are great at this. Programs like DECA, the ORBIS program in Ankeny and APEX in Waukee all help build those skills. Also participating in entrepreneurial programming at the collegiate level adds to the career readiness mindset this generation needs.

Entrepreneurial Programs at Simpson College

At Simpson College we support entrepreneurial programming through the Emerge Foundation and encourage even non-entrepreneurs to select an Entrepreneurship Minor. Simpson College also historically hosts an annual entrepreneurial event called Start Up Storm where high school students come together and compete through innovation exercises and pitch competitions.Start Up Storm

There is also research showing participation in entrepreneurial courses has been proven to increase overall academic performance. Solving ambiguous problems and encouraging exploration increases critical thinking ability and personal confidence.

Helping students build these skills, this mindset, will make them highly relevant to a world that is in constant transformation. As global and economic changes continue to occur, one of the most significant challenges facing young people as they launch into careers is something called a boundaryless career. Boundaryless careers are defined as working for multiple organizations, sometimes at the same time. The one-company-for-life career model is slowly eroding and is being redefined through self-directed career choices. The careers of the future are not always one dimensional, one path, one direction (not the band), and having an entrepreneurial mindset is becoming more and more important.

So, have your children take an entrepreneurship class, encourage an entrepreneurship minor while in school and advocate for your children to learn these skills. As I mentioned earlier, it is imperative for their future success.

Job opportunities and career resources are abundant in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Whether you're looking to find an internship, a job, develop professionally or grow as a student, we have the resources to help you thrive.

John Walker

John Walker serves as a professor, advisor and business mentor at Simpson College. He is a tireless advocate for future generations of entrepreneurs and business leaders. When he is not at Simpson you can catch him with his family, on a bike or in a canoe.