by: Geoff Ficke

During my many years of lecturing university business school students on entrepreneurial topics I have been pleased, and surprised, at the relatively large numbers willing to take the plunge and pursue new business opportunities. The surprise is that modern students are willing to forego a corporate job right out of school; a job that for so many has been a pre-occupation (and the dream of tuition strapped parents). Choosing a major course of study, a syllabus and internships in many cases are structured solely to enhance and magnify qualifications deemed necessary to excite future corporate employers.

And yet, career goals for many of today’s students will not have a corporate path. The boom in entrepreneurial programs at colleges and universities has provided an alternative route to perceived fulfillment, income and excitement. More and more students see themselves as pioneering, small business owners and creators of wealth and jobs. Their sense of adventure and desire to control their destiny can only be sated by self-employment. Students and recent graduates actually possess many traits and advantages that hinder older, more seasoned prospective entrepreneurs.

Not being married (in most cases) is a singular advantage. Having dealt with hundreds of clients through the years, I can confirm that the single biggest hurdle for a married inventor is spousal objections. I have seen divorce occur as a result of pursuit of a dream.

The youth of students means that life has not usually dealt them too many serious knocks. They feel as if they can overcome any problem, probably because they have not had to face many during their young lives. More mature entrepreneurs, on the other hand, have typically seen ups and downs in life, business and socially. These life’s experiences often temper their enthusiasm, create caution and doubt.

Students needs are simpler and thus less complicated and expensive than adults with extended households and obligations. They can sleep in small, cramped circumstances, eat minimally, dress in t-shirts and jeans, ride a bike and attack an opportunity without the weight of an established fixed overhead facing them every week.

Gates and Allen, Jobs and Wosniak, Lucas and Spielberg, Hewlitt and Packard, and the Weinstein brothers are just a few of the most famous youngsters to launch spectacular careers as young drop outs, students, or university graduates. They had minimal encumbrances to curtail focus on their goals. They had nothing to lose. The mortgage, children’s orthodontics, multiple car payments and swim club dues were not issues for these entrepreneurial, fully focused youngsters.

Modern students are very willing to take risks. They constantly seek mentoring from me on all aspects of launching business opportunities. I am amazed at the degree to which they are able to identify significant commercial opportunities. The creativity, energy and courage so necessary to succeed is constantly on display in the contemporary college student population.

Working with these students is a blessing. My exposure to them has confirmed that the future is in wonderful hands. These youngsters are smart, motivated, energetic and so very curious. They will find better ways to provide products and services that benefit all of society. We will all be better for their creativity.

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, Inc. ( 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.