People in unison around the world have had a pandemic-inspired revelation: the corporate career is perhaps no longer what we aspire to.

People’s outlook on their relationship with ‘work’ has significantly shifted. Likewise, the students enrolled in management courses will want to shape their futures to align with new values. They are the next generation of small business owners; the drivers of ‘start-ups’; the entrepreneurs.

When Associate Professor Tui McKeown presents the facts to her students – Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Australia account for over 98% of all enterprises – her students are shocked. She has observed that this single fact gives students permission to chase their dreams – they start to realise starting a small business is a real option.

As lecturer and researcher within the Monash University Business School, Assoc. Prof. McKeown shares below the benefits of incorporating small business, entrepreneurship, and intrapreneurship, in management courses.

Tui McKeown

Tui McKeown
Associate Professor of Management at Monash University

Why incorporate entrepreneurial small business content?

Given that most students may well land in SMEs and self-employment, let’s actively incorporate it into our education. Instructors teaching Business Management have the opportunity to frame their lectures and tutorials to align with these types of employment and forms of business.

The Student Perspective

  • A growing number of students are realising that ‘corporate’ is not what they want, especially if they are the type who think outside the box.
  • Students observe other graduates’ experiences and realise the competitive nature of the corporate market.
  • When students don’t know what they want to do, corporate careers are still a default option – but now often used as a stepping stone to build skills for when they want to ‘go out on their own’.
  • Millennials and Gen Z intend to shape their future and customise their career. It’s natural that they’ll need SME and entrepreneurial skills as graduates.

The Education Perspective

  • In an unpredictable pandemic-influenced economy, universities have a new role in workforce preparation. Let’s educate students according to the shifting world of careers and employment.
  • The entrepreneurial mindset gives rise to other graduate skills – problem solving; discipline spanning; leadership; effective communication; teamwork.
  • Universities should make sure management theory does not hold back the creativity of students in these moments. Whether it’s within a corporate organisation, or within their own SME or start-up, we want students to innovate, invent, and implement with creativity.

Intrapreneurship: a contemporary adaptation of entrepreneurship