When it comes to solving challenges in business these days, the most innovative solutions usually come from startups. Of course, established companies do solve some of them. But what makes a startup different is that they end up finding solutions using very few resources. If you draw parallels to the startup culture, it is somewhat similar to that of students in college (well, most of them), as it’s a stage of life where they have less access to cash, are trying to learn more, and are also coming to terms with the important things in life.
So what can a college student learn from the startup culture?
Here are 3 things:
Bootstrapping: When you don’t have access to external funding, you have to find alternative ways of making the most of what you have. That’s what startups are really good at! Bootstrapping basically means commencing a business minus that external financial backing, and using inexpensive resources to get the job done. As a college student, what you can learn from the startup culture is how to make do with things on a shoestring budget. This means finding out ways to do more with less. For example, instead of buying new textbooks, you can either borrow it from a library or go for pre-used ones. Even better, find people who are studying in classes ahead of you, if they are willing to lend their previous year’s books and/or notes.


Innovation: Yep, innovation may be on its way to becoming the most clichéd term ever, but when it comes to survival it is something that enables you to stay ahead of the curve. For an industry behemoth, innovation can be a choice. But for a startup, innovation is a must. And employers these days are not just looking for problem solvers, they want individuals who can get the best possible solution with the least possible resources. So it becomes quite significant for a college student to start thinking innovatively and out of the box. You can apply innovative methods to find out the best way to learn a topic quickly and how to get the best grades. For example, the education system in India, especially the examinations, are quite static. What most Indian college students do is go through question papers of exams held in the last five years and find patterns and probable questions. Though criticized, this method works for each individual student in his/her unique way and gets the results for them.

Persistence: At a startup company job, the attitude of the founders and the employees is that things don’t happen, you have to make them happen. Be it product management or day-to-day office administration, new instances offer newer sets of challenges and these have to be overcome, anyhow. Most entrepreneurs persist till they find out a way to solve a particular problem. It could be anything – a bug, getting the right person for the job, or even deciding office policies! At the end of the day, persistence is a quality that comes good in your professional life as well as your personal life. As a college student, if you imbibe the value of perseverance, it becomes a habit when you start looking for a job or maybe start your own venture. Situations that will enable you to practice these qualities in college are during your projects or when participating in events or competitions.

At the end of the day, the above mentioned values will allow you to excel in college and also prepare you for the professional challenges that lie ahead. Feel free to add your views in the comments section below about your experience in college and how you innovated or bootstrapped.
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