Yesterday I assisted to the final presentation of a project of what we call at Endeavor an "eMBA". The Endeavor eMBA program allows MBA students (normally people between their 1st and 2nd MBA year, mainly from US-based business schools) to come over to the emerging countries where Endeavor is and work on certain projects with Endeavor Entrepreneurs over the summer.
Indeed, we had 5 eMBAs working with Colombian Entrepreneurs this summer, yet one reflection made by this particular eMBA on his final presentation yesterday caught my attention. This eMBA happened to be an Entrepreneur himself - he founded and still has a company back home, he just moved abroad for 2 years to do his MBA and after his studies he will come back to keep running and growing the business. From the beginning I found his background very interesting, because (and even if it´s not a rule) the majority of "eMBAs" are professionals with real consulting or investment banking background, which in my opinion is a kind of experience that makes the development of research and analytical projects easier. So, the "Entrepreneur - eMBA" at the end of his presentation of a very well done Marketing Plan that he carefully built for almost two months for the host Entrepreneur, said funnily: "I never have done something like this, not even for my own company ... I might now do something like this for me"
I just loved how through this genuine comment he revealed his true entrepreneurial essence: empiricism and practicity over theory and analytical thinking. He truly has always had the skills to design such a well argumented marketing plan, as the one he did for the company he´s working for as an eMBA, though in his day to day as an Entrepreneur, he never got to sit down and do something like this, for his own benefit.
Now, don´t get me wrong. It sounds as if I am affirming that every and each Entrepreneur on this earth is empirical and lacks of analytical thinking. That´s not true. But my reflection is much more about how so many times the risk taking attitude that Entrepreneurs have - that allows them to take desicions without the sufficient planning and yet be sucessfull taking them - wins over the importance of sit back, and strategically envision what you really want to go for and how exactly.
I guess the magic is about finding the middle point. A very well managed (effective, action oriented, participative, flexible) planning process in my opinion has more chances of impact positively that to hinder the growth of a venture. What do you think? The answer sounds a bit obvious, almost stupid, though the interesting thing is that I know a good number of Entrepreneurs for whom it won´t be a fact.
In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. President