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Developing A Joint Engineering/Business School Entrepreneurial Curriculum

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Successful Outcomes of Student Entrepreneurship

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.384.1 - 13.384.9



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Paper Authors

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Timothy Faley University f Michigan

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Peter Adriaens University of Michigan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

An Approach to Building a Graduate-level Engineering and Business collaborative entrepreneurial curriculum American Society of Engineering Education AC2008-1603 re-submitted March 2008


Technology-based entrepreneurship, regardless of whether it takes place within a large organization or in a startup, requires a mixture of technological and business skills. Our aim in developing a joint graduate-level entrepreneurial curriculum between engineering and business is to enhance the blended strengths of the two parties, not turn each into the other. Building the bridge between the two disciplines is the goal, not creating an engineering school within the business school or vice versa.

At the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of _______, we believe it is valuable to think of the continuum of new venture formation and growth as a series of development phases. • Phase I: Discovery – identifying opportunities and shaping them into business concepts; • Phase II: Feasibility analysis and assessment; • Phase III: Creating an actionable business plan; • Phase IV: Launching the business; • Phase V: Growing the business; • Phase VI: Exiting your business -- from succession planning to IPOs.

Our current emphasis in the joint curriculum development is to focus on the early phases, where the complementary skills of both the engineers and the business students are crucial. In Phase I, for example, opportunity identification takes two forms: 1. Finding an optimal market opportunity for a given technology and 2. Identifying an emerging market opportunity and determining what technology may be necessary to exploit it. Two new courses have been created and taught to focus on each of these issues: Driving the Innovation Process, and Entrepreneurial Business Fundamentals for Scientists and Engineers. These courses complement previously existing entrepreneurial courses from the other Phases.

Finding an optimal opportunity for an existing technology requires both a fundamental understanding of the technology benefits and an analysis of the market needs to which these benefits could apply. Since both engineering and business skills are necessary, the Innovation course was developed to allow graduate engineering and business students to learn and work together. On the other hand, business students are well-steeped in market opportunity identification instruction in their standard curriculum, while engineers are not. We therefore created a course that would teach the engineers alone the fundamentals of business (marketing, strategy, finance, and innovation) in the context of identifying market opportunities. Since this course immerses the engineering students in the language and thought-processes of business, it serves as a prerequisite for later-stage joint-enrollment courses. Existing entrepreneurial programs were also modified to give students a parallel “lab” experience to complement these courses.

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Faley, T., & Adriaens, P. (2008, June), Developing A Joint Engineering/Business School Entrepreneurial Curriculum Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3947

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