The entrepreneurial mindset is about a certain way of thinking — it is about the way in which you approach challenges and mistakes. It is about an inherent drive to improve your skill set and to try and try again.
But why is this important? The entrepreneurial mindset is what you need to propel yourself forward in building a professional career, even if you’re not aiming to become a business owner in the near future. It can help you become more resourceful, flexible and ready to adapt, regardless of what the current situation is like.
For students like fourth-year computer science major Josiah Pang, that’s what taking on Cal Poly’s entrepreneurship minor is all about.
“I knew that coming out of Cal Poly with a degree in computer science would set me up for success technically, but I think there’s a lot of aspects of a job that aren’t covered by pure technical knowledge,” Pang explained. “I kind of view computer science as a square and the [entrepreneurship] minor is what rounds me out into a circle.”
As Pang believes, entrepreneurship isn’t just for the business student looking to create a startup. Rather, studying entrepreneurship can set anyone up for professional success in all fields.
“No matter what role you’re in, you’re going to be interfacing as a component of a larger structure and understanding that larger structure would never put you at a disadvantage,” he said. “It’s good to understand the entrepreneurial mindset because it gives you more context and I think context is what sets you up for even more success in your role.”
When Pang talks about gaining context through the entrepreneurial mindset, he means having the ability to look at the larger, societal picture and utilize that knowledge to innovate for a company in a meaningful way.
His goal with entrepreneurship has been to develop a mindset that makes him a vital asset to the organization he goes on to work for post-grad. By taking courses like design thinking and interdisciplinary senior project for his minor, Pang has gained experience in critical thinking and working with all types of minds.
“It’s interesting to see how through different majors and disciplines, even though we’re all Cal Poly students, the way in which we’ve been trained is very different,” he said of his senior project team. “To have all of these different perspectives and mindsets in the same room working together 100 percent translates into the workplace.”
But can’t you gain this type of knowledge through other areas of study?
Not necessarily. When it comes to learning the entrepreneurial mindset, there’s a lot that you would miss out on in other fields. Entrepreneurship ties in business, design, risk-taking, management, empathy, leadership skills, failure-understanding and more. Plus, utilizing the mindset to be an intrapreneur doesn’t leave graduates at a corporate roadblock.
“‘Intrapreneur’ is the word I would use to describe myself; someone who has an entrepreneurial mindset within a larger organization and can tie in new ideas and innovate existing features, but not necessarily start something from the ground up,” Pang explained. “But [starting a business] could be something I want to do later, once I have the experience and the resources that you get from a bigger network and a bigger company.”
Whether your plan is to dive headfirst into your fresh business venture or apply to several established companies, having an entrepreneurial mindset can only advance your opportunity-seeking, problem-solving and innovative success.
Head to https://cie.calpoly.edu/ or https://www.cob.calpoly.edu/undergrad/entrepreneurship-minor/ to start cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset now.