June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
Some engineering graduates want to be entrepreneurs. For this ambitious goal graduates need an additional professional skillset beyond their engineering knowledge by the time they start their entrepreneurial professional career. Within this paper we analyze the current entrepreneurial interest of engineering graduates and explore what they are currently doing to promote their entrepreneurial intensions. Furthermore, this paper investigates what entrepreneurs were already doing as students in order to gather the relevant skills for starting a venture. While previous research focuses more on entrepreneurial intensions within either engineering or business majors (Maresch, 2015), or on just intensions (Souitaris, 2006) by itself, this work bridges the gap between intensions and actual entrepreneurial actions.
The paper is based on qualitative semi-structured interviews of participants in the Engineering Majors Survey (EMS) . All 16 selected interviewees participated at least at two of the three nationally-representative, longitudinal Engineering Majors Surveys, which took place in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The EMS is a survey designed to explore engineering students’ technical, innovation, and entrepreneurial interests and experiences over time. The interviewees had relatively high entrepreneurial intentions compared to the average of all EMS participants. They also represent three equally big segments, which are characterized by people with increasing and decreasing entrepreneurial intensions, but also a group of people whose intensions remained constant during the surveys.
The open-ended interview questions were based on Flanagans’ (1954) critical incident method and enabled more follow-up questions in order to deepen the understanding of certain answers and situations. All interviews were recorded, transcripted and coded according to Corbin and Strauss’ (2008) inductive coding strategy. The analysis of the codes show students and young professionals appreciate the possibility of having an impact and taking responsibility while founding their own company. Furthermore financial independence as a self-employee is another motivating factor for a significant number of interviewees.
Schnell, C., & Nordhus gen Westarp, J. E., & Sheppard, S. (2019, June), Entrepreneurial Intentions and Actions of Engineering Graduates: What Contributes to Increased Intentions and Continued Entrepreneurial Skill Development? Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32755
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