One recent Wednesday evening in May, more than 50 students, alumni, and ‘friends of TRIUM’ gathered at the London School of Economics and Political Science to hear Professor Saul Estrin lecture on What Makes Different Entrepreneurs Thrive? (For full lecture, click here.)
As part of the TRIUM lecture series, Estrin, a Professor of Management at LSE whose areas of research include economic development and entrepreneurship, provided a lively and informative perspective on existing barriers and opportunities to entrepreneurial activity, which can vary greatly by form and country.
Lecturing to a diverse TRIUM audience of investors, current entrepreneurs, and future entrepreneurs, Estrin clarified that, “While individual, demographic and cultural factors are important, issues of education, institutions and policy are clearly critical in understanding this diversity of global experiences.” With entrepreneurial indexes varying enormously across the globe, (Zambia’s 40% vs. the 8 to 10% in developed countries such as the US, Iceland, and Denmark), he is clearly seeking to make a point. Moreover, Estrin noted, “… the Rule of Law and property rights protection influences high impact entrepreneurship and the role of financial market institutions” are key to understanding the various entrepreneurial indexes.
Stark differences also exist between male vs. female entrepreneurship: “while it exists everywhere, female entrepreneurship is always less than male entrepreneurship, with large cross-country variations,” ranging from 1.2% in Japan to 39% in Peru (GEM).
The TRIUM lecture, followed by a networking reception at LSE, provided an insider’s view to the academic coursework that students in the TRIUM program experience at LSE. The lecture also highlighted the strength of the TRIUM community. As Estrin noted, “this program fundamentally changes people in addition to providing them a new peer network for life.”
At a recent lunch discussion, Professor Estrin shared his perspectives on teaching TRIUM students and on the transformative experience they undergo while at LSE. “As the only non-business school in the alliance and as one of the world’s leading social sciences universities, Module 1 study at LSE provides the analytical framework in a social, economic, and political context that prepares these executives better to understand what possibilities exist for doing business in the global context.” Boasting 16 Nobel Laureates since its founding, the LSE research and teaching spans the full breadth of the social sciences, from economics, politics, and law to sociology, anthropology, accounting, and finance.
Estrin is keen to further emphasize why the LSE component to TRIUM is so important: “By developing the analytical skills that global business leaders need to operate in the fast pace changing global economy, they attain a firmer grasp of the geo-political and economic context to run their companies – making them more informed global leading decisions makers.”
What does Estrin think of his students? Impressed by the diversity and their individual professional achievements over the years, he is quick to point out how learningat this high level is quite different: “I don’t teach this course the way I do with other graduate courses. I don’t lecture at this group — but rather draw on their experiences to illustrate how their own business cases can serve as lessons in the larger global context to open their minds.”
Like Prof. Estrin’s TRIUM students during their Module 1 coursework, audience members left the evening discussion better informed with the analytical tools of entrepreneurial lessons from case studies in the larger global context. For many of the budding entrepreneurs, it’s now time to put theory into practice.