Luke Johnson wonders if university degrees are good for entrepreneurs and speculates that creative destruction in higher education is coming and is a good thing. From the Financial Times
The best experience during my three years at Oxford was starting a business, which had nothing to do with my physiology degree. I suspect a lot of students spend most of their time not absorbing knowledge, but drinking, having sex, sleeping late, demonstrating and so forth. This is what actually happens on campuses. Is that fun and idleness really worth all the time and money? Especially when students now graduate with a mountain of debt, while facing far fewer job vacancies.
I’ve delivered speeches at perhaps a dozen universities around Britain in the past few months, and everywhere undergraduates are considering start-ups as an alternative to the classic posh careers such as law, management consultancy and banking. This youthful spirit of enterprise is marvellous news, but I doubt the textbooks and tutorials help them in their ventures. Why spend years waiting? The best training for business is simply going out there and doing it.
Academia needs to reform. Universities should offer better value, with more practical courses. Holidays are too long and permanent tenure for professors a terrible system. Colleges should wean themselves from state subsidy and engage with capitalism more. The taxpayers ought to get better returns from all the research they fund, with more commercial spin-offs.