As children, we are raised to think of the things we do in the context of the utility they will deliver tomorrow. For myself and many other students, we understand this as “go to school, study hard. Sacrifice a few years now so you can get an amazing career later.”
Thousands of young people are led to believe that the pursuit of higher education, and the time commitment and financial burden associated with it, will one day pay off. Pursuing a degree under the guiding notion that it would result in good fortune as promised in childhood. As if instantly.
The truth is that studying is a lot of work and success is never instant with many students at universities across the country devoting nearly every waking moment to their studies. A generation of students who understand the amount of work that is needed to reach the top of the class competing with everyone wanting to get there.
Like many students, I was stuck in this limbo state of thought that allowed me to work incredibly well in structured and well-defined contexts while often struggling to think “outside of the box”. In structure, I am confident; in courses, I can envision success. In entrepreneurship, a field where you are at the helm of creation, I had no idea what I was doing.
After four years of learning business theory I thought it would be natural that I, being a business major, would easily be able to at least understand how to start a business. I was thrown into the deep end, the sharks were coming, and I was drowning. But it wasn’t the business theory I learned prior that got me above water, it was the help from our incredible mentors and what got me into SFU—my work ethic. For one of the first times in post-secondary, I felt like I was working on a project that not only expanded my scope of thought but allowed me to learn from a place of deep seeded motivated and passion. I was not working towards earning a top grade, I was working hard because I wanted to create something wonderful.
Tech e@SFU radically puts the project students are working on at the centre of the learning experience and lets students learn theories and practices that help them achieve their goals. Theory is only ever as good as your ability to put it into practice, and Tech e@SFU allowed me to put everything I have ever learned into a tangible context through a project that I am passionate about.
Considering higher education at a broader level, isn’t this the point of academia? What good is the knowledge you will gain in your degree if you cannot apply it to something you’re passionate about? Innovation needs be the foundation of the post-secondary business administration experience. I hope that we move towards helping our students break free from conventional thinking and provide them an even stronger foundation for which they can take a chance and dare to achieve more than just high grades.
Tony J. Vukasovic is a Bachelor in Business Administration candidate from the Beedie School of Business finishing his final year of studies. He is concentrating in Management Information Systems and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. In addition to achieving strong academic performance, he has competed on the international level in Hawaiian outrigger canoes and is the active President & CEO of local paddling club, Lotus Sports Club. Through SFU’s Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU program, he co-founded location-based analytics venture Locus Technology of which he serves as the Strategic Director.