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Instilling an Entrepreneurial Engineering Mindset through a Freshman Design Course

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


Nassif E. Rayess University of Detroit Mercy

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Nassif Rayess is an associate professor at University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), He teaches design, innovation and entrepreneurship. He received his Ph.D. from Wayne State University and joined UDM in 2001.

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The course “Fundamentals of Engineering Design” was developed at ______________ in response to the need for introducing the entrepreneurial mindset to engineering students at a very early stage. The course is the second in a two-course freshman design sequence required of all undergraduate students in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and robotic/mechatronic systems engineering. The course was developed and piloted in Winter 2014 (January-April). The course is centered on a recently developed commercial technology where the students are tasked with analyzing the system and associated intellectual property. They are then tasked with proposing ventures in other markets using said technology and to do so in business terms. The course is intended to train the engineering student to communicate with customers/end-users as well as management. Communicating with the former is done almost exclusively in terms of functions and value proposition. Communicating with management involves an ability to present ideas in economic terms as that plays a major role in decision making and engineers who are able to contribute to decision making have a distinct advantage in the professional world. The course is also intended to force the engineering student to think in terms of systems and not focus solely on particular technology details. The topics covered in the course are: opportunity recognition and value proposition; understanding intellectual property; ideation and concept generation; customer discovery; pro-forma financials; manufacturing considerations in product design; technology roadmapping; understanding return on investment; and, venture creation within and outside of corporations. This paper describes the course, projects and results as well as assessment and evaluation.

Rayess, N. E. (2016, June), Instilling an Entrepreneurial Engineering Mindset through a Freshman Design Course Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25738

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