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Student Diaries: The verdict is out. Entrepreneurship CAN be taught











With his long hair flapping on the side of his face, he strides across the class full of energy and claps his hands – and the adventure has begun.

He is the Willy Wonka of the start-up world. In fact, he is so much like him!

He is quirky, on his feet, witty and well insanely smart. No one can fool him; I think no one has dared to.

Professor Mikkel Draebye, my professor of Entrepreneurship, is THE THING at MISB Bocconi at the moment.Head of the Incubator at SDA Bocconi Milan, he is go-to for every budding entrepreneur in not only in Milano but throughout the world. He has mentored and advised up to 200 start-ups till date. He is a visiting faculty at universities around the world and actively blogs and comments on almost all topics under the umbrella of entrepreneurship and more.

I always thought entrepreneurship cannot be taught, and you need to be born with a business sense you know? No one can teach you how to take risks or make you a risk lover. Much of the success of entrepreneurs could be attributed to innate personality traits that they possess which cannot be taught.Professor-Mikkel-Draebye










Yes, I was right. But I was wrong. I think before jumping into an entirely new career, everyone is ought to know the dos and don’ts, especially when you are risking your financial resources (along with mental resources if I may add). Professor Draebye’s class is all about busting myths and validating all your doubts about being an entrepreneur. From motivation to courage, resources to returns, conceptualization to execution, and family to investors, he gives insights on everything.

His teaching style is far from any text-book style teaching format. He has divided all his sessions as steps to start a business. Where the first session just deals with owning up to becoming an entrepreneur, the next about idea generation followed by testing your idea and so on. Further, he teaches by drawing examples from the hundred of start-ups he has advised, start-up stories that he builds at his incubator and sometimes from his own ventures.











Have you ever been thrown into the pool just to learn how to swim on your own? Know the feeling? Oh PGPB-4 sure does. It was his second session and we all thought it would be another fun filled day with another movie showcase (yes, he showed us a film in the first session! Don’t envy us, YET). However it turned out to be that we all had to think of a business idea of our own that can be executed in real life, and not some dummy fictional one. We had to carry this business idea throughout his course and implement all concepts taught subsequently to it in order to make it optimal. At the end of the course we would be evaluated on the same.

Now you know what I mean?

The class came up with some crazy ideas and some sane ones – and he appreciated both. I wish I could tell you what the ideas were, but every classmate of mine thinks they are sitting on a gold mine – so sorry buddies.

So the following classes were about teaching all the aspects of establishing or running the business as per our suggested activities. The class was encouraged to share their opinions about the business models and exchange suggestions.

It was incredible to see how you can benefit from opening up your business idea to a diverse group of people. His dynamism was such, that people like me who claim to be built of the ‘9-5 fiber’ were motivated to work on their idea and test its viability.

Anyhow, Let me leave you guys with some of his quotes, all those who want to become entrepreneurs can treat it as soul-curry .











“Not sharing your idea with others out of the fear of it getting stolen, is the first step to you failing your idea.”

“4 out of 5 random people would say your idea is good because no one has the time to tell you where you are going wrong.”

“Do not borrow money from your family and friends to start your business. If a day comes when you have to lose money, its better, you start with losing your own money first.”

“Always tell me what problem your business is solving.”

“While explaining your idea to the investors, do not make their ‘perception’ of your idea, your perception. Don’t be afraid of correcting your investors. They may even like it.”

“Once you get used to fixed income, it is difficult to be an entrepreneur.”

“In India you need to choose between being ethical or being an entrepreneur.”


This post is written by PGPB4 student – Vibhuti Varma


  1. The Road to Entrepreneurship Begins at MISB Bocconi

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