I once suggested to the dean of a large university that the business curriculum should include courses in networking. His response, “My professors would never teach that material here. It’s all soft science. This is not taught in schools or colleges.”
I shouldn’t have been surprised. I’ve run into this attitude many times. We give people bachelor’s degrees in business, but we teach them little to nothing about the one subject that virtually every entrepreneur says is critical — networking and social capital. Why don’t business schools teach this subject? I think it’s because most are made up of professors who’ve never owned a business. Almost everything they know about running a business they learned from books and consulting.
The science of networking is not taught
Can you imagine a law course taught by someone who’s not an attorney? What about an accounting course taught by anyone with no direct accounting experience? Yet we put business professors in colleges with little or no firsthand experience in the field. It’s no wonder that a subject so critically important to business people would be so completely missed by business schools.
The science of networking is finally being codified and structured. Business schools around the world need to wake up and start teaching this curriculum. Schools with vision, foresight, and the ability to act swiftly (the way business professors say businesses should act) will be positioning themselves as leaders in education by truly understanding and responding to the needs of today’s businesses.
At the end of our conversation, I asked the dean, “How are courses on leadership any less a soft science than networking?” He didn’t have an answer.
Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of a strong network. They are willing to put in the time it takes to develop fruitful connections. If any of these misconceptions are holding you back, it’s time to correct it with the tips provided — and watch your business grow.