Amar Bhide is Glaubinger Professor of Business, Columbia University Graduate School of Business. His special area of research interest is entrepreneurship. Before joining Columbia in July 2000, Bhide served on the faculties of Harvard Business School (from 1988 to 2000) and the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. A former Senior Engagement Manager at McKinsey, and Vice President at E F Hutton, Bhide served on the staff of the Brady Commission which investigated the stock market crash. Bhide earned a DBA and an MBA from Harvard, and a BTech from the Indian Institute of Technology. Bhide has several publications in the areas of entrepreneurship, strategy, contracting, and firm governance in publications that include the Harvard Business Review, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, and the Wall Street Journal. His recent book, The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses, has shattered some of the myths and traditional perceptions about entrepreneurs, particularly about their risk taking abilities. Amar Bhide was in Bangalore recently, and spoke to IIM Professors N Balasubramanian, Rishikesha T Krishnan, Mathew Manimala and S Raghunath and Visiting Faculty Douglas Stoddart about his research. The prevalent myth in the business world is about the business school style start-up. This is the well planned, well financed, well managed kind of start up, where an experienced manager from Microsoft or Intel has a big idea, comes up with a plan, raises millions of dollars from a venture capital fund, recruits a top notch team, puts it all together using the kind of business management techniques taught at business schools, and in fairly short order turns it into a successful business. Contrary to this belief, most startups are started without much capital or experience, are based on relatively mundane ideas, and improvise and adapt as the businesses grow. Although he has taught, and continues to teach entrepreneurship, Bhide is sceptical of business plan contests, incubators and entrepreneurship courses. It is not possible to learn a skill, he believes, without getting your hands wet. Universities and business schools have two major roles to play: distilling and disseminating knowledge, and nurturing networks among students who have graduated. Going beyond that is a fruitless distraction.