by: Geoff Ficke

Why Don’t Business Schools Produce more Entrepreneurs?

For most of my life I have been a serial Entrepreneur. Even as a kid growing up I knew I wanted to control my own destiny. In order to be free and self-supporting I was constantly seeking opportunity in every way possible. This ambition has lead to a lifetime of interesting challenges, ups and downs, adventure, travel and an array of experiences that I could never have experienced if I had gone the corporate job route. I am always amazed that more people, especially in America, do not take the Entrepreneurial path.

In college I majored in Broadcast Journalism. My goal was to be a sportswriter and ultimately an author or broadcaster. Instead, almost immediately after graduating I was recruited into the Cosmetic Business. This diversion has led me to an interesting and rewarding career in Branding, Sales, Marketing and Consumer Product Development mostly for Companies that I started, or turned around. I never went to Business School although I took many Business courses while at university. I am essentially self-taught, a graduate of the Sales and Marketing University of Hard Knocks.

For many years I have owned a Company that provides guidance, Consulting, Management and Concierge turnkey Product Development services to Entrepreneurs, Small and Large Businesses, Inventors and Non-Profit Organizations seeking to enhance their Sales and Marketing, both domestically and internationally. I cannot imagine a more fulfilling career ride that the one I have been enjoying for so long.

For many years I have been asked a rhetorical question: “Why don’t Business Schools produce more Entrepreneurs? There are many answers for that question. I believe that there two which come closest to answering the query.

1. There is no Business School course that can teach instinct and creativity.
2. Courage, fearlessness, drive and confidence are inherently personal traits, not book learned.

I lecture at Business Schools. I am Fellow at the Page Business School at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I mentor students. There is an unusual dichotomy that I have observed from this work.

Students are a wonderful source of Entrepreneurial creativity. Very little of this energy originates from the B-School students themselves.

I, or a professor, can teach a student to write a Business Plan, customize a Marketing Strategy, create a Sales Model or organize Support Logistics. This is all knowledge that is available in text books. What I, and no professor, especially the ones that have no real world Entrepreneurial experience (that means most of them) can do is teach a student the ability to spot an opportunity, act on the opportunity and execute to turn it into a business.

Entrepreneur’s come from every walk of life. Any blue collar worker or clerk can become a business success if they see and create a better way to perform a needed task. No business degree is required. The bookshelves are full of treatises that detail people rising from the most humble of origins to achieve great commercial and social success. One trait that all of these people have in common is the drive and courage to act on their instincts and visions and make things happen.

The news today is full of stories about the need for jobs, Small Business growth and the encouragement of Entrepreneur’s. Even people who have no clue how to organize a Start-up Business trumpet the importance of increasing support for new ventures. B-School Entrepreneurial Study programs are the rage at hundreds of universities. It is essential that this course of study is encouraged. It would be even more enlightening to students if a course in the study of Capitalism, Adam Smith, Free Markets and Milton Friedman were a required capstone unit for receiving a degree.

No one course of study is better than another for preparing a student to succeed as an Entrepreneur. Success is achieved by the creator who also possesses a fearless ambition to outwork, out-hustle and out-compete the competition. It is this combination of personal qualities that the marketplace rewards. No professor, textbook or Business School degree can provide these essential ingredients.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, ( has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.