Memories of an entrepreneur's career
: when successes and failures occur and what lessons they teach

  • Francisco Miguel de Sousa Banha (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The purpose of this thesis was to tap the autobiographical memory of entrepreneurs as a resource for learning about successes and failures of relevance to their careers. In an online survey, entrepreneurs were asked to recall experiences of success and failure, date these experiences, and assess how much they learnt as a result. I examined the types of experiences reported, their timing, and learning from success and failure. I also compared how user entrepreneurs differ from non-user entrepreneurs on the above dimensions. Results showed interesting regularities about the timing of memories of success versus failure. Consistent with the extant literature on learning from experience, I found that entrepreneurs learn more from failure, and that they tend to attribute success to internal factors, whereas they attribute failure to external factors. I found that user entrepreneurs report learning less from both experiences of success and failure, but the knowledge user entrepreneurs possess at the start of their careers is positively associated with subsequent learning from experience. I discuss the implications of these findings for the study of entrepreneurship and suggest directions for future research.
Date of Award2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorIrina Cojuharenco (Supervisor)


  • Mestrado em Gestão

Cite this