June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
22.944.1 - 22.944.11
Interdisciplinary STEM- Business Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship ProgramIn 1998, an interdisciplinary science-engineering graduate program in micro to nanoscalematerials, processes, and devices was created to allow students interested in its field of study totake courses across multiple departments that would benefit their career preparation.Operationally, the graduate program was defined to emulate an industrial work groupatmosphere, both in its daily operations and in its management education. The M.S. technicalcontent curriculum was reduced by one course, and seven hours of required management-relatedcourses were added. The Ph.D. technical content curriculum was unchanged, but three hours ofa management-related course beyond the M.S. curriculum was added. In addition, all studentswere required to take a three-hour course specifically in research commercialization that wasdeveloped with financial support of the NCIIA. While this curriculum provided valuabletraining in these areas to its students, it did not result in an academic credential that demonstratedits value to the hiring market.In the spring of 2004 the College of Business and the College of Engineering began developing a12 credit-hour Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship for non-business majors. Although theprogram was initially conceived of as an area of emphasis for Engineering Ph.D. students,faculty and students from throughout the university recognized its potential, and the Certificatewas opened to any non-business graduate student.Approved in 2007, the Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship includes an introductory class(Foundations of Business for Entrepreneurs) that introduces non-business students to basicbusiness concepts as they apply to entrepreneurs. Following successful completion of this class,students take a two-course sequence (New Venture Development and Business Plan Project)with graduate business students. These classes address opportunity recognition and new venturedevelopment and funding.A key component of the Graduate Certificate is the interdisciplinary teams formed for the NewVenture Development class. These teams work together to develop a business plan for a start-upthat typically commercializes a university technology. The engineering/science/agriculturestudents provide the technical expertise needed to assess available technologies and developthem for the marketplace, while the business students develop marketing plans, competitiveanalyses, and financial viability assessments. The teams refine their plans over several monthsand then submit them to national and international business plan contests; almost all of the teamsadvance to the oral presentation rounds at these competitions. Over the past four years, theseteams have had significant success, winning over $1 million in cash, investments, and in-kindprizes, raising several million dollars in funding, and starting two of the companies proposed inthe plans developed for the class.In this paper, the authors will discuss how the interdisciplinary teams are formed and managed,the factors leading to the teams’ successes in the business plan competitions, and how the teamshave moved from student business plans competitors to start-up owners. The current status andfuture opportunities for the student-led companies that have launched from the GraduateCertificate in Entrepreneurship program will also be addressed.
Vickers, K., & Reeves, C. (2011, June), Interdisciplinary STEM-Business Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship Program Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18307
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