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Saturday, April 7, 2012


By Dean Pax Lapid*

I was recently invited by a big school to be their commencement speaker this 29th April not realizing that it came in conflict with the wedding of a very good friend and member of the Mastermind Circle with Bro Bo. Definitely, I would not miss this milestone event of my dear friend, but at the same time, I want to deliver a message to a batch of graduates in case they want to dive into the world of entrepreneurship. (Thank God, I’m given the opportunity to share this thru the Truly Rich Club newsletter.)

The months of April and May are a time of celebration and evaluation (some meditation) especially for our young high school graduates. There’s a dilemma of ‘CHOICE’ of what to take up in college. If rushed, it’s a battle of ‘CHANCE’ whether one can survive, thrive and eventually land a job related to his or her chosen 4-year course.

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Admittedly, these young graduates could fall into a chasm of ‘CRISIS’ in their critical stage of life if not properly guided.

Let me share with you the scenario (60 percent of the time) that I’ve experienced while interviewing incoming freshmen when I was Dean of the Entrepreneurship program at Entrepreneurship School of Asia (ESA) for almost seven years.

Imagine the situation were the parent, the incoming student and myself are in a small conference room doing the preliminary interview. Here’s how the conversation usually transpired:
Dean Pax: Hi Frank, I’m glad that you’ve chosen our school to take up your college degree.
Incoming Student: Yes, Dean. I’m quite okay but at the same time pressured.
Dean Pax: Why is that so? (The incoming student hesitates, so the mother answers.)
Parent-Mom: Well, my husband and I think that this Entrep course will prepare him for his future.
Dean Pax: Ma’am, actually any course can prepare your son for his future for as long as he is serious with his studies and the practical course works. (I then shift back my questioning to the incoming student.)
Frank, I only have two questions for you. The first question is, are you committed to pursue this degree, come what may? (Again the young one hesitates.)

More importantly, is the Entrep course the one that you’d really want to pursue?

(As I was in the process of handing over the blank application form to the incoming student, the mother

Parent-Mom: Actually, I want him to follow my husband’s professional career who is a very good mechanical engineer but his Math and Science grades were so-so. Therefore, I took the liberty of enrolling him in the Entrep program.
Dean Pax: (I shifted my hands towards giving the application form to the mother.)

Ma’am, can I also take the liberty of asking you to fill up the application form? We welcome all ages here! (Frank the incoming freshman laughs out loud.)
With due respect to parents, our dreams may not be the dreams and ambitions of our children.

Everything in this world is not ours – we only manage all our possessions, including our loved ones.

Entrepreneurship is not a crisis situation where there’s peer pressure (the barkada wants ‘trending course’) or parent pressure.

Entrepreneurship is also not a game of chance – it is planned and worked thru.

Real entrepreneurs must make the choice of innovating products out of their ideas, giving jobs to others, and building business systems to sustain the young venture.

Message for the Young Graduates
Let me share with all of you the letter I wrote to my eldest son as he was coming into college eight years ago. By the way, I’m so proud and happy that early on in his career, he was able to find his ‘flow’. He’s a very good training officer for retail outlets all over Luzon.

Dearest Franz,
I am writing this letter to you with the hope that the insights here will give you inspiration and challenge to what you will tackle as you get into college.

As a teacher and dean, I always tell students that coming into college and prospering in the next four years is one of the critical milestones in one’s young adult life. College life could either make or break what happens to your professional career. The next four years in college will give you three things:

a. Learning. Some say it is knowledge that you acquire through books and lectures. I believe that these together with the right understanding and the relevant application will give you a more meaningful learning experience that you can carry into your professional life. Respect your teachers and find mentors that can help you refine your current skills and talents.

b. Discipline. Although you have already acquired your study habits from high school, college will hopefully further enhance this. College will expose you to young ladies; you are mature enough and there is nothing wrong with having a girlfriend just as long as she is an inspiration, not a frustration. 

College diversity with all its activities will either enhance or distract you. It is up to you to manage your time and prioritize what is most important – to graduate foremost and be well rounded as well with organization, sports and friends.

c. Leadership. Some of my friends have sent their children to the USA or UK for college. I personally believe that dollar money is better spent for a post-graduate or masters degree. College builds your network that you can connect in the future especially if you plan to prosper a career or business here in the Philippines. In college, you will be tested on how you select your friends and your study groups. The challenge is for you to blend and work with people you have not known, to be able to influence them with the right priorities and, most importantly, being able to gain their respect.

Like any loving parent, my wish for you is to grow up to be a responsible and productive member of society. More importantly, I want you be as successful as I am or even to be better than I am. I am sorry for forcing my aspirations to you earlier on. As we walked through Malcolm Hall at UP last August to take your UPCAT, I realized that you are not me and that you have your own individuality. I fell into the same trap as your lolas did to me (Lola Julia wanted me to be a priest while Lola Nena (my mom) wanted me to be an Air Force pilot). Now I know better – I want you to be good at what you really want.

As your loving father, I will always be around to give you advice and support you in your aspirations and problems. My guidance may not be a panacea to your troubles but at least I will be there in your times of need. Live your life to the best of your God-given abilities. Time is on your side – make use of it well. Work hard first then play hard also (all within moral and legal limits). Most importantly, pray daily for guidance and protection – God knows what is best; you just have to be patient and enduring.

I am very proud of you Franz and I love you always.

Let me end this newsletter by sharing with you Psalm 22:20. (I hope that as parents, you will listen and respond to your children as our Father in heaven responds when we’re in crisis):

“But You, O Lord, do not be far from me;
O my Strength, hasten to help me!”

*Dean Pax Lapid is the former Dean of Entrepreneur School of Asia. He is also a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Asian Institute of Management, one of the most prestigious business schools in Asia. He is a prolific entrepreneur, creating one new business a year.

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