Researchers Identify the Most Important Skills in Entrepreneurial Education
As part of the series, ‘Modern Analytics of Education’, the Human Capital Multidisciplinary Research Center has released a report entitled ‘Entrepreneurship Training in Universities in Russia and the World’. Based on a review of best practices, the authors identified 71 skills that are fostered in entrepreneurial education abroad. The researchers selected 63 programmes and courses from 44 universities and 24 countries for analysis.
The most frequently mentioned skills, which are taught in foreign entrepreneurial education, were teamwork (mentioned in 21 programmes), oral and written communication (14 programmes), and management and critical thinking (12 mentions each). Analysis, decision-making, and oral & written presentation each received 10 mentions.
The Human Capital Multidisciplinary Research Center was founded in 2020 as part of the Russian National Project ‘Science’. The Center was founded by HSE University, RANEPA (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration), MGIMO University (Moscow State Institute of International Relations) and N.N. Miklouho-Maklay Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, RAS (Russian Academy of Sciences).
Skills that were identified according to the concept of ‘human capital’ by Gary Becker can be divided into two groups — general (teamwork, presentation in written and oral form, persuasion, creative thinking, decision making, initiative, critical thinking, etc.) and specific (attracting investors, innovation management, human resource management, business plan preparation, financial and accounting analysis, etc.).
At the same time, the authors point out that programme developers do not distinguish between undergraduate and Master’s programme students in terms of the skills taught, which means that an entrepreneurial programme should provide experience, skills, and knowledge that students can apply and find useful regardless of their profession or level of educational attainment. There is also no single list of skills and courses that must be included in the programme.
As for lecturers, the following skills are critical: the presence of entrepreneurial experience, immersion in the problem area (at least in terms of interest in news and developments), and teamwork practices (e.g. brainstorming) have been found to be most effective. In addition, close working contacts with the external environment (companies, laboratories, guest speakers) are important — but here the effort should be made not only by the lecturer themselves, but also by the university as a whole.
Russia is currently experiencing a boom in entrepreneurial courses, but it is still difficult to talk about sustained success, as there are not many programmes and courses on entrepreneurship in universities (according to the GUESSS study, Russia lags behind most of the observed countries in terms of the share of university students with experience taking a course on entrepreneurship). Global Entrepreneurship Monitoring (GEM) presents relevant indicators of Russia in a comparative perspective. First, Russia occupies the penultimate place among all the countries studied in terms of the share of respondents who indicated that they see good opportunities for starting a business, as well as the share of those who believe that it is easy to start a business in their country (about 30%). Second, Russia is in one of the last three places among all countries studied (about 50 in total) in terms of the share of respondents who indicated that they have enough knowledge, skills, and experience to start a business (about 35% vs. 65% in the United States).