I loved my major in college —psychology; the study of the mind and human behavior. From doing experiments with random students, like dropping pencils in their path to see if they would stop and help pick them up (which all depended on if they were occupied with another task or late for a class) to running the complex numbers in statistics, the study of the human mind was fascinating!

But upon graduation from UCLA, I realized psychology was one of the most useful, useless degrees ever. I suddenly found out that a bachelor’s in psychology doesn’t hold much power; it lends itself to higher required education. Finding employment with that degree proved futile and I ended up going to a temp agency for a mundane job in title work in the real estate sector.

On the other hand, psychology turned out to be very useful because understanding human behavior in fields that involve working with people can be a huge advantage, especially in marketing or education. With the increasing awareness of social emotional intelligence and its benefits, having a foundation in behavioral sciences has given me an edge in certain professional and personal situations.

I eventually found my path back to education from the ‘oh so exciting’ world of title work, but it wasn’t until I began building my arts integration curriculum, speaking publicly and establishing a professional platform that I realized what actually are the most beneficial qualities for a student to have— entrepreneurship skills.

At the conclusion of our 2016 EntreCamp in August, Ryan Holbrook, the Director of Entrepreneurship from the Nazarian School of Business at Cal State Northridge, came to watch our Alumni360 students pitch their business ideas. He witnessed the beginnings of these entrepreneurship skills start to blossom in our young students.

“Alumni360 has clearly recognized the importance of cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset and accompanying skills,” he said, “setting and accomplishing goals, working effectively on a team, speaking confidently to an audience, and creatively exploring new areas of interest: these are abilities Alumni360’s students will draw on for years to come.”

I fully agree.

No matter which field you pursue or which position you are in, being able to communicate effectively, build a network of strategic partners, and understand the ebb and flow of a market are critical to overall professional success. Having entrepreneurship skills are no longer negotiable in today’s professional landscape.

My generation is coming to the realization that the 40-40 plan that our grandparents enjoyed is now obsolete. Working 40 hours for 40 years at the same company, being able to advance within that same company, and then retire with a blingin’ watch adorning your wrist was the dream of yesterday. Many of us are finding ourselves in a position of needing to reinvent—or rebrand—our message and ourselves.

Could entrepreneurial skills be more important than academics?

I think so.

Of course, academics are important. I’m an educator—teaching and learning are what I do and what I love. Still, one can be an academic, a brilliant person even, and be hiding in a corner because they can’t bounce back from defeat or take calculated risks. There are many academically strong students who are unable to recognize opportunity or interact with a problem from multiple perspectives. They may have great ideas but lack the resourcefulness to execute those ideas and bring them to the marketplace. Knowledge is useless without action and effective implementation.

Education is paramount but combining them with entrepreneurship qualities has now become essential. Alumni360 understands this and is now meeting this need by offering these skills to our students before they head into the job market. Most of our amazing students come from low-income backgrounds and do not have access to entrepreneurial programs or exposure to successful entrepreneurs, that is, until the creation of Alumni360.

This can and will be life changing for them.

If you are interested in learning more about Alumni360 or Alumni360’s EntreCamp, please email Genein@alumni360.org. We invite students, speakers, and sponsors to come join us for the summer 2017!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This