Obviously I'm terribly biased because this is the path I've chosen. I decided to write this post because in the last few year, I've talked to many undergraduate students who have been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug in a big way. I was exactly the same way. I had started several cash flow positive business in high school so I thought I might as well repeat my success after I get my undergraduate degree.
That all changed after I worked for a start up during my undergrad. Lets just say I saw the good, the bad and the ugly. Overall it was a positive experience, but the start up crashed and burned. I even saw a hostile takeover that outed the founder. At one point, most employees were working for free in exchange for equity. After I crunched the numbers, I realized that even under the most optimistic circumstances, the equity I owned would not be worth more than one year's salary I could make working for another company.
In my opinion, inexperience, a rogue founder and a poor market assessment led to it's downfall. After this experience, I found an internship with a high growth tech company, which has lead to a career at high growth public tech companies. Here is why I think you should consider working for "the man" after graduation, especially at a high growth technology company.
Marketable skills. Following this route, you'll likely pick up skills that fit within a job title that will be an asset to you for the rest of your career.
A strong network. With a little effort, a strong network of talented people in your field from all functions and levels can be built within a few short years.
Financial stability. Earning competitive wages in the tech industry will not make you a millionaire, but will enable you to save aggressively.
The entrepreneurial spirit is rewarded. At many tech companies having an entrepreneurial spirit is encouraged and even rewarded. You'll be able to climb the ranks faster if you bring that entrepreneurial spirit to your job.
The halo effect. If you go to a start up and it fails, you'll get more credit than you deserve. If you go to a growing company that succeeds, you'll also get more credit than you deserve.
Do I still have the entrepreneurial bug? Of course! Joining a start up or doing my own are still in my future. I believe when that time comes, I'll have the skills, network and emergency fund to have a better shot at being successful.