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A chance to transform from high school students to financially responsible entrepreneurs

EducationWorld October 2020 | Special Essay
– Professor Arjya B. Majumdar; Dean, Admissions & Outreach; O.P. Jindal Global University

We are witness to the widespread consequences of a dynamic, unpredictable world. The pandemic has dealt devastating blows to the global economy, even touted to be worse than the financial crisis of 2008-09. In this backdrop, it becomes imperative to train future entrepreneurs and businesspeople with the financial agility and dynamism to succeed in times of crises and beyond.

In an effort to empower the youth to embark on their own success stories and transform the economy of India, O.P. Jindal Global University has launched a one-of-a-kind programme at the Jindal School of Banking & Finance (JSBF)—the three-year B.A. (Hons.) in Finance & Entrepreneurship. It will offer a nuanced understanding of issues at the intersection of finance and entrepreneurship. Here’s what budding entrepreneurs stand to gain from the contemporary new degree:

A firm footing in finance

Start-ups are built on great ideas. An innovative concept is key to cracking the start-up scene, but in the long-run, for a breakthrough product or service to succeed in the market, entrepreneurs need to have a handle on finance and economics.

Without an understanding of concepts like working capital, venture capital, cash flows, equity, assets, liabilities, financial risks, taxes, security analysis, behavioural economics, private wealth management, return on investment, and so on, the vast and complex world of business can seem daunting. Housed in a cutting-edge school of banking and finance, this programme is uniquely positioned to help students grasp the financial needs of their new ventures.

A practical knowledge of business oriented technology

Today’s generation has been born into a digital age where technology is the very backbone of modern life. Using technology comes naturally to many young people. Given the right guidance to get acquainted with technology relevant to business, young entrepreneurs in-the-making can be poised to conquer the world of business.

Students will learn to appreciate digital financial platforms and digital tools, from the basics of Microsoft Excel to software like Tableau or Power BI, the top data analysis tools for Business Intelligence (BI). They will dabble with data analytics as they explore technological megatrends, technology commercialisation and beyond.

As technology grows central to new-age businesses, the case for entrepreneurs without engineering backgrounds to get hands-on with programming is also growing. ‘Code’ is the language of the 21st century. Tailored to the needs of new ventures around digital finance, the programme will impart training in Python, a programming language among the best-suited to data crunching and FinTech.

People & planning—hone skills of communication & strategy

The route to success is mapped by navigating traps and pitfalls along the way. To a large extent, whether a start-up thrives or falls flat depends on a well-crafted business plan. Young entrepreneurs must not only learn the drivers of success, but also critically evaluate those of failure. Students will study various ventures closely to arrive at those key differentiators, so they can apply the best practices in their own future plans.

When it comes to effective planning, terms like ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ are becoming buzzwords in the start-up scene. It is a method of identifying new markets with few or no players to create innovative ventures that target rapid growth. Students get a chance to learn all this and much more—from the Lego Serious Play Method (a technique which improves group problem solving), to understanding start-up ecosystems, design thinking and innovation, and the nuances of business communication.

Extensive exposure to nurture entrepreneurial skills

Some argue that entrepreneurship is an inherent quality. Others believe that a conducive environment can ignite an entrepreneurial mindset and fuel it with the necessary skills to find success. Yet at the end of the day, it is truly in the hands of an individual.

JGU hopes to inspire the youth to achieve greatness in whatever they do. Providing every opportunity possible to accelerate students’ learning, JSBF offers a basket of multidisciplinary courses under the mentorship of internationally-qualified faculty, internship opportunities, workshops, industry projects, and a gamut of global opportunities.

Students can avail short-term study abroad programmes at Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; ISDE Summer School in Madrid and Barcelona; Queen Mary University of London; and University of Queensland, Australia. They can also pursue semester exchange, dual degree and postgraduate pathways at leading institutions across the world.

Get ahead of the curve with a knowledge of law

Being an entrepreneur does not mean you have to manage every aspect of a business alone. Yet a basic knowledge of finance, technology, and even law, will be useful to get off the ground, negotiate initial processes, hire the right people, and build business alliances wisely.

Marketplace realities can be challenging for new players. First-time entrepreneurs will inevitably be faced with the complex legalities of business, be it company law, intellectual property, contracts, trademarks, taxation, etc. The programme explores such legal issues to help students understand and build strong legal frameworks. Students can also take electives at Jindal Global Law School, which is ranked as India’s leading law school.

Incubate your big ideas while at college

The ‘Startup JGU Innovation Lab’ helps students ideate and develop their own ventures. JSBF also facilitates a ‘Startup Founder Series’ which supports students with promising ideas to identify opportunities, build business models and even register a business. Based on a screening, selected ventures could also receive funding, extended mentorship and access to JGU’s global professional networks. The B.A. (Hons.) F&E is an ideal stepping stone for high school students to transform into financially responsible entrepreneurs in just three years.

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