We Encourage Students to Finish Degree: Hennessy

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June 9 (Bloomberg) -- Stanford University President John Hennessy discusses education and the future for the school at Bloomberg’s Next Big Thing Technology Summit on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.” (Source: Bloomberg)

X delighted to be here.

X -- how does it help to be an engineer when interested in technology?

It helps a variety of ways.

They consider themselves problem solvers.

How do they make the world better by solving problems echo -- problems?

The other piece is because of being an entrepreneur, i'm willing to try new things and moving to -- new directions.

And you also see things on the front line.

How do you bring that into the university?

We are always thinking about how to change what we do, how to change what we learn, so that students can learn in new ways, whether it is online learning or more experiential kinds of opportunities, which are important, too.

You do not learn to be an entrepreneur by doing a few lectures online, but by really doing.

They are all stars in the valley, right?

But they still do taught -- they still do auditoriums.

You do impute in heavy and engineering heavy -- computing heavy and engineering heavy companies.

I feel like we are in a different era where it is not engineers leading the way as much.

Do you get that sense?

You are right in that there is a lot more creativity, new apps, new business models, that demand as much on the creativity side.

Certainly, they have technology beneath them, but the basic insight is not technology.

Look at ebay, for example.

It is interesting.

Ester dyson was on the panel and she had an interesting perspective.

Everyone wants to be a ceo.

No one -- everybody wants to be a chief and no one wants to be an indian.

I've told a lot of young founders that i've talked to, you are not ready to be a ceo.

I know you are the visionary.

Become a chief technical officer.

Learn a little bit more.

You've got to learn skills you don't have.

What is the thing?

How do you hire a great salesperson?

That is something i did not know and i learned the hard way by doing and figuring out.

Some of the guys i hired were not the right sales people.

You learn those important skills.

Negotiating deals, how to tell if a deal is a good deal or a bad deal.

Everybody wants to start a company these days.

What do you tell the kids who say, "i'm going to drop out.

I've got an idea." first, i tell them, tell me why it is so much better than the other ideas out there and is it protectable?

Look at how many photo sharing sites there are.

Sure, instagram got ahead, got a community and were successful.

There were 100 venture shared photo sites that are going nowhere.

You got to think about how the idea is unique and different and you can get ahead with it.

Stanford is called the startup university, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively.

How do you balance and foster innovation with education?

I'm sure you have rules around that.

Yes, we have rules around it.

We try to encourage the students to finish their degrees first, because that is the foundation to them being successful.

There are few ideas that are so radically innovative that they demand dropping out from your degree.

If it is a great idea, it will be a great idea in a year and a half when you finish your degree.

If you are mark zuckerberg, go do it.

But those are rare.

But -- there was a terrible story in the "new york times" if you would go about stanford raising -- even compared to harvard, and i'm sorry.

I know you went to harvard.

But i wonder, educationally, with the success that stanford has had on the world of technology, what has changed education and what types of things do students have to learn that maybe you were not teaching before?

There is a big shift and a lot of growth around experiential learning.

For a lot of us, that comes out of our design school.

It encourages breakthrough thinking, encourages the development of creativity.

And something called creative confidence.

Have the confidence to do something creative where you will be subject to critique and criticism, but learn how to do it and do it well.

We teach that.

What do you think about online learning and all of these companies that are trying to give a college education online?

Will that replace a traditional degree?

I don't think that will replace a traditional residential degree, whether at stanford or harvard or berkeley.

It is going to take over continuing education.

That is the best way to educate professionals.

It will probably change the mba.

I'm not sure the two-year mba will be the best thing to do.

And nobody likes to give large electors.

The students are not engaged and they don't like it.

-- large lectures.

The students are not engaged and they don't like it.

We can do that online.

Some e-mails are not worth repeating that he wrote while at stanford.

The stanford provost responded.

I'm curious about your take away and if there's anything that you will do differently to make sure that does not happen.

My idea is we need the community to rise up against that kind of e-mail.

Whether it is in the fraternity that this young man belonged to, or in another setting, we need people to stand up.

Which means young man -- young men stand up when a young man sent out these e-mails.

It's not just about women standing up, but young men standing up and saying, that is disgraceful and inappropriate.

But is this endemic of the greek system in any way?

How does stanford treat the greek system different?

It is a relatively small piece of our existence.

But i think to some extent, women are a civilizing influence among men.

They really are.

[laughter] he would never have sent that e-mail if he thought one of them was going to a young woman.

He would not have had the courage to do it.

We need to be in that situation where we have the cultural sensitivity.

You mentioned it on stage, the self driving cars and being on the board of google.

You think self driving cars are already driving better than the average driver.

You say, 10 times better.

I think we can get there.

If you take all set of drivers out there, i think we can get there.

Whether we need to be 100 times better, or just 10 times better than the best 10 drivers -- the 10 best drivers, that is where we are headed.

Thank you so much for joining us here on a beta full day.

-- a beautiful day.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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