In Chapter 11 of 21 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, business school professor Ben Hallen notes how fortunate he is to do both research and teaching. In the classroom, he gets to work with students who want to learn low power strategy and give them a tool kit for students the to go out and affect change in the world when there are limited resources. Entrepreneurship provides Hallen a great research and teaching platform to understand entrepreneurs
Erik: How do you apply your passion for entrepreneurship as an MBA professor? Ben: Oh I mean that’s the best place you could possibly be. I mean it’s great. I mean, you know, especially – I mean I can’t imagine doing one-half the job. You know, it’s these two great combinations, and I’m so fortunate to get to do both though, the research and the teaching. You know, and so one, I’m able to work with students that maybe are interested in entrepreneurship or maybe aren’t interested in entrepreneurship. You know, on one hand, I’m personally very passionate about entrepreneurship as, you know, the classic approach of starting a new business, that’s what I did, you know, I experienced those challenges, but when you look at the behaviors, entrepreneurship at its core is about low-power strategy, that you have a vision for what’s out there and you don’t necessarily have all the resources in the world to pursue that vision. And that’s certainly the case if you’re at a young company. It’s also the case if you’re a manager at a big company. You know, there’s a lot of bureaucracy at a big company. Or you’re a nonprofit. You know, nonprofits are doing so many exciting things right now. And so what I hope to do in the classroom, is work with students and give them an understanding for and a toolkit for seeing how they can go out and effect change even when they don’t have all the resources they would necessarily like at their disposal. And so that’s my goal in the process. Now some of them may learn this isn’t for them, and that’s great too. I think if I’ve helped someone realize it’s not for them, that’s a great outcome. If I help them realize that it is for them, I think that’s also a great outcome, and if they do decide to do it I hope they’re better prepared for it. At the same time I have to personally say that I’m able to benefit from all these great interactions, to really see people getting – pursuing these ideas that they’re excited about, and to the extent that I can support them, that’s just a very rewarding experience.