The News is Out
This past week Entrepreneur released its annual list of Top 25 Colleges for Entrepreneurship. Rounding out the top 10 is my alma mater, Miami University in Ohio. Pushing their way towards to top, Miami is ranked amongst Entrepreneurship powerhouses such as Baylor University, Brigham Young and Oklahoma.
Oxford, OH, (Miami’s hometown) is represented by a mere speck on an Ohio state map – northwest of Cincinnati and southwest of Dayton. Through offering a world class education, Miami is a hidden gem of the Midwest. And if its academic programs continue to rise above the rest, the Redhawks (Miami mascot) will continue to soar high and soar far.
If this article had been passed to me six years ago as I began my senior year at Miami, then I likely wouldn’t have given a damn what it said. I probably would have even made a smart-ass remark along the lines of, ‘What do entrepreneurs even do and how do you teach it’? Fortunately, that was six years ago, and today I have the answers to my then question from 2008.
How Did Miami do it?
It was with great joy I read this article about Miami’s Entrepreneurship program. For the last two year’s my fiancé has served as an Assistant Director for this very program. Through an incredible staff, each member has greatly contributed to the success of the team. They’ve encouraged one another through struggles, picked each other up in times of failure, and praised each other when success was reached.
Through the work of my fiancé (smiles, tears and everything in between), I’ve seen the program develop. I’ve had firsthand accounts of watching their students in action. I’ve watched the students be engaged with companies. I’ve listened to them pitch innovative ideas. And I’ve heard them speak about the ‘experience of a lifetime’ through the entrepreneurship program.
While I’m not a member of their staff, nor do I completely understand every facet of starting a company (building something from the ground up), I have witnessed how Miami has themselves in the position they do today. To build something requires you to be brave. To be brave requires you to do one thing that is summed up in two words – Live it. Miami has been brave and they choose to ‘Live It’.
It’s become the motto of their program. I have Miami Entrepreneurship coffee mugs in my house scripted with the words ‘Live It’ on the side. There is a black, mock turtle neck with embroidered white letters spelling out ‘Live It’ on the collar. And in those two words, the expectation is set.
Taking the approach of ‘doing what is needed’ isn’t acceptable. If given a task, then more is required than just doing the job. When placed into an internship with four and five roles, a student is expected to do more than just ‘do’ four or five jobs.
Instead of showing up at the stadium to play the game, these students show up to live the game – to fight in the game, to develop in the game, and to grow in the game. It’s not possible to ‘do’ the entrepreneurial life. It must be lived. And those who live it, are the most successful. This is the approach Miami has taken, and what I’m confident it will continue to take as it continues to rise in the rankings.
All In, or Not In at All
When you wake up each day, do you find yourself going through the motions? Do your days begin the same, follow a particular routine and come to a close the same? I know I am guilty of this at times, and I’m sure many others would admit to it as well.
Most of us have an innate desire to want to be better at something. Whether you enjoy cooking, or playing an instrument, there is likely something within you that yearns to be able to cook a certain meal or play a certain song on the guitar. If you want to be able to do those things, you can’t practice whenever you feel like it and expect that you will reach your goal. If you want to achieve your goal bad enough, you need to be all in – utilizing every bit of time, effort, energy and sometimes money, in making headway.
In other words, you need to stop doing and start living. At your job, stop showing up right at 8am and punching out at 5PM. In school, don’t just show up and sit in the back of the classroom. When you attend church, leave your phone in the car so you can take away the true message of the day’s teaching.
Miami University’s Entrepreneurship program has its students ‘all in’ right now. They are utilizing experiential learning and hands-on curriculum that builds their students skill sets so that they have a competitive advantage. These students ‘live’ every single moment that they are a part of the program.
Are you ‘all in’ on a project right now right now? Are you busting your ass at work everyday giving it everything you have. Are you training your body to make it 26.2 miles in your next marathon. Are you doing more than just going through the motions? Whether you answered yes or no to these questions and are seeking something more, the best piece of advice I can give is to put yourself all in – Live It!