President Calvin Coolidge once said, “Teaching is one of the noblest of professions.” It’s also a great gig!
I have had many conversations over the years with people who feel drawn to becoming a professor. I used to have a pretty standard spiel. After all, higher education in the Western world remained relatively unchanged for more than a century.
However, since higher education entered its period of market disruption over the past decade, my conversation with aspiring academics has changed considerably.
There will always be many families that want their children to have the campus experience. For them, the total costs beyond tuition, such as room, board, and transportation, are more than worth the price. When I meet parents after graduation, their words clearly express their satisfaction with sending their child to our university for four years of education. I love working with our students in a traditional college setting, so I am grateful that so many see value in what we offer their children.
For a growing number of other families and for many adult learners, online education offers an alternative that provides a different bundle of features that meet what they want from a university education.
Education is not a homogeneous market.
What is interesting to me is that the tuition charged both on campus and online is about the same for most universities.
Just who is the customer? This is a question that comes up in all corners of higher education. Is it the student? Is it their parents? Is it employers? Is it the community and the broader society?
As entrepreneur, this question leaves me more than a bit unsettled! After all, if I don’t know who my customer is, I have no chance of success in the market. How can I deliver what the customer really wants? How do I effectively communicate to the customer what I offer? How do I strategically set prices? How can I deliver the product or service to the customer the way they want it? None of this is possible if I am not really sure who is my customer.
I first launched this blog fifteen years ago. It started quite simply as an experiment with a new medium that I knew very little about. In 2003, you could probably fit all the bloggers in the entire state of Tennessee into one of my classrooms and still have room for a few more.
Over time, the number of people following The Entrepreneurial Mind grew. And so, too, did the number of people blogging. Today there are tens of millions of blogs published in the US and hundreds of millions of active blogs worldwide.
Entrepreneurs need to be ready to pitch any time, anywhere.
Jake Jorgovan, an alumnus from Belmont’s Entrepreneurship program, is always ready to give his pitch.
“At the most random situations, I will find myself giving a pitch,” says Jorgovan. “Out at drinks with friends, or just out socializing and suddenly I run into someone who is a contact directly in the space that I am working in. It can catch you off guard sometimes, but you should have your elevator pitch prepared and not be afraid to deliver it anytime of day.” Continue reading Life’s a Pitch. Be Ready!
One of the greatest joys of my job is advising and mentoring the student and alumni entrepreneurs who come out of our program at Belmont.
Students take full advantage of my office hours for mentoring. Some come in with the seed of an idea, while others are actively growing their ventures even before they graduate. Continue reading Find Two Mentors
The number one goal for new entrepreneurs is to grow their businesses to the point where they can finally get paid and begin to make a living from their new venture. Tyler Barstow and Belmont alumnus Matt Fiedler, co-founders of Vinyl Me, Please, are trying to adapt their business model to reach that important goal.
It is not unusual for older faculty to get a little cynical. I have heard many faculty grumble about how hard it is to motivate today’s students. While I agree with them that it is hard, and have grumbled about this my self a time or two, I have learned that it is quite possible to motivate millennials.
I tried a little experiment a couple of years ago with my grading that has had remarkable results and has helped me better understand what drives this generation.