‘So if you’re interested in entrepreneurship, why aren’t you in the business school?” I’m often asked this by my peers who don’t understand why I am part of StartupHoyas, the Compass Fellowship and have interned at the Small Business Administration and with D.C. Entrepreneurship Week — all while studying political economy in the School of Foreign Service. However, I have found that there is a unique synergy between the content of my classes and what I’m learning through entrepreneurship.
My classes strive to understand poverty, inequality, unemployment and economic development through a systemic approach, that focuses on the big picture. But entrepreneurship provides me with greater perspective because it dives into the details. It focuses on the individual actors in the system and how they can tackle these seemingly insurmountable problems through startups. Entrepreneurs are the ones that put wheels into motion and spark change, and through their startups they spur economic growth and create jobs. Because of that, entrepreneurship is an important economic tool for many countries; in the United States, spurring entrepreneurship is a crucial part of both our domestic and foreign policy agenda.
But entrepreneurship doesn’t just relate to my major; it complements any field of study because entrepreneurship is not just an economic tool. It is a mindset — one in which you constantly envision new solutions to old problems. It’s about igniting your passion and applying innovation, creativity and risktaking to it.
As a result, entrepreneurship does not, and should not, belong exclusively to any particular school, major, career or vocation. In fact, the most successful startups are the ones that can capitalize on the synergy created through collaboration across sectors and disciplines. Here at Georgetown, we need students from the School of Nursing and Health Studies to create medical technology startups, we need computer science majors to code applications and build websites and we need science majors to create clean energy startups. We need students studying government, writing, law, international relations and linguistics to contribute their expertise to startups. We need anyone that wants to shake up systems and fundamentally reinvent the way we do things.
Here is the question I’d like to pose to my peers: Why aren’t there more students getting involved with entrepreneurship from outside the MSB? To students in the College, NHS and SFS, I would encourage you to seek out opportunities to develop this entrepreneurial mindset within you, no matter what your major. Everyone has a crazy idea that they want to realize. What distinguishes an entrepreneur from anyone else is that they go out and make it happen — so get out there. Take an area that you’re really passionate about and pursue it. Broaden your horizons by attending a workshop or speaker event, pitching an idea at a competition or by starting your own venture. In the end, college is all about having learning experiences, and there is no better way to learn than through entrepreneurship.
Cherie Chung is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service and the editor-in-chief at StartupHoyas.