On his blog on bplans, Tim Barry launched an interesting debate on the role that business schools play (and should/could play) in the development of entrepreneurship.

A series of rather interesting posts are following each other.

I summarize a couple of them in which Tim Barry lists 5 basic lessons that business schools can teach and 5 other lessons that they should teach, but which present a number of difficulties, for which one wonders if a classroom is the right place to give them.

Here are the lists. The 5 basic lessons that business schools can teach

Cash flow

The concept of cash flow is critical but not intuitive. Learning it in class is better than learning it in the field.

Business planning

Creating a business plan is a good way to see a business in its articulation, complexity, completeness. And also to teach it, this articulation. However, this does not necessarily mean that we are confronted with extremely complex models.

Business fundamentals

The role of fundamentals should not be underestimated: strategy, marketing, data collection, finance, analytical thinking. With the focus on teaching how to translate concepts into numbers and vice versa.

Communication skills

Both in writing and in front of the public, the importance of the ability to convey one’s ideas is often underestimated.


Good business education should also teach what to not believe, and why. The 5 lessons that business schools do not teach.

What to do with people

The question is: can people really be taught empathy?
Is it really possible to learn how a person feels while sitting in front of you?
What’s Right and What’s Wrong

Ethical issues have become an overriding theme in the debate, and often in business school programs as well. But it is so difficult to reconcile the different visions, the different social and political constraints, the different meanings of the word ethics that it is difficult to think that translating all this into teaching.

Living a lifetime

Is it possible to think that business schools teach not only the passion and enthusiasm to start a new business initiative, but also the ability to prioritize professional issues over the development of a rewarding private life?

Manage risk

Not from a technical point of view. This is what most business schools do.
Rather, the ability not to take risks whose consequences you are unable to manage.

When to persist and when to give up

One of the most difficult things to evaluate, from an entrepreneurial and start-up point of view, is to what extent to remain faithful to a business plan and when, instead, the time comes to make substantial changes and seek alternatives.

This is a difficult issue to translate into templates valid for all occasions. It is a matter of educating a sensibility to the changes of scenario, to the generation of alternatives, and not to fall in love too much (but not even too little) with one’s own plans.