So recently Derrick Ko (let me make this clear first, he is a good friend of mine. It’s just that I disagree with some of his arguments on this.) wrote this blog post on this guy on NOC who was offered to stay on another year at the company he is currently working at and how NUS was being a/an …(fill in your own word here) for denying the guy such an awesome opportunity.
Now, before I start saying why I disagree with what he expects NUS to do, I want to make this clear as well. In no way am I endorsing/supporting NOC/NEC in this post, as long as they have people with PhD’s in entrepreneurship running that place and act like they know everything, and people with no startup experience teaching people how to startup.
Now that I have gotten that out of the way, here’s why I disagree. NUS is a university. Much as the industry want the university to be a place where they create production ready employees, that is not what a university is about. It is not a vocational institution. And its core business is definitely not to encourage entrepreneurship. Its core business is to expand the knowledge of mankind (which I personally don’t see alot of in NUS but that’s another rant for another day).
Not only that, entrepreneurship in Singapore is starting to get really easy. People stretch their hands out for long enough and chances are they will be able to get some sort of grant/funding from the govt. We see people writing tons of business plans first, and then getting funding, then finally looking for the guy to implement the idea, and finally complaining that the govt did not give them enough support for their idea to succeed. You don’t see stuff like this happening in a really vibrant and successful startup ecosystem. Imagine, getting funding for just a business plan. That actually happens in Singapore. And as a result, there are many substandard entrepreneurs out there who see entrepreneurship as a quick way to get rich without much work.
How does this fit into my argument?
Well, NUS is making is hard for the guy to achieve what he wants. Well, guess what? When you run a startup, it’s hard to get what you want too. Nothing is smooth sailing in the real world. People have been complaining that NUS is not real world enough. Well guess what? NUS is giving him as real world an experience as it can. I don’t see anything wrong with that. You want something you fight for it, knowing that you might not get it. I’m quite sure that that was not NUS’s intention, so don’t give them credit for it, but face it, it’s the right move. It’s teaching the guy a lesson, that you don’t get everything you want in life. And this could be a very useful lesson in future.
There are many reasons to slam NUS, but this is clearly not one of them.