I’m a senior at XXXX University signed to go into [Name of big corporation] for a full-time role as [name of a corporate role] and had some questions I’d really appreciate some guidance on.
I’m very interested in entrepreneurship. How long should I stay in a corporate working environment before I’m ready?
Thanks for your email. Congratulations on your job with [Name of big corporation]. While corporate experience is not necessary to be an entrepreneur, I think it’s a great way to start. For one thing you will (and if this isn’t your plan and you want to be an entrepreneur it probably should be) learn a lot. Things to keep an eye out for:
1. All the different roles in an organization – which ones make money?
Which ones cost money? How is the organization run? How is leadership talked about and measured?
2. How [Name of big corporation] makes money – What makes up its revenues? How does it drive revenue? Understand its stock price and financial statements.
3. Other great people – no matter the role, no matter inside or outside of the company. What makes them great? You’ll find that some are great with people, some are great at coding, and some are great at synthesizing important information. There are all types of greatness. Think about who you would want on your team in the future. Then make sure you establish relationships with these people. Not because you need something from them, but because you want to learn from them.
4. You. One of the most important skills of a great entrepreneur and leader is self-awareness. What are you good at? What are you weak at? What do you want to improve? Are you the same person at work when you’re down as when you are happy? How do you handle conflict? Are you able to communicate your ideas and your needs?
Finally, keep your eye on the prize. If you really want to start a business be sure to live lean. Save your money so when you have that great idea/opportunity you’ll be able to jump ship and capitalize on it.
As for how long you should stay, only you will be able to answer that. But I think your answer will be clearer once you’ve answered the questions above.
Good luck to you. I know you will do well.