Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean spoke on the topic of higher education versus entrepreneurship at the Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 Award Presentation Ceremony a few days ago.
He asked “Will providing more places in higher education mean less entrepreneurship?”
We all know it’s a tough one to answer, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the more educated a person is, the more likely he’ll work for others, i.e. he’s less likely to venture out on his own and be his own boss.
The minister mentioned 2 possible reasons for this:
- Non-graduates are “more hungry” (which is to say university graduates are less hungry conversely). Since the corporate path is less open to them, non-graduates are more willing to take on risks and venture out. They have “less to lose”.
- The university education prepares the future graduate to have a “structured way of thinking.” When he graduates, he’s more suited for the corporate life, and “be part of a system” or “cog in a machine.”
The minister’s speech is archived by NHB and is available online here. Mr Chan Chong Beng of Goodrich Global got the top trophy of Entrepreneur of the Year 2007.
See also my advice for non-elite poly students.