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'It was a Failure, But a Good Failure': A Qualitative Study Exploring Engineering Students' Critical Entrepreneurship Experiences and Their Impacts

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Mark V. Huerta Arizona State University

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Mark Huerta is a second year PhD student in the Engineering Education Systems & Design (EESD) program at Arizona State University. Mark is also the Chairman and Director of Projects of a non-profit called 33 Buckets, which empowers rural communities in developing countries to develop solutions for their drinking water problems. Before enrolling in the EESD program, Mark obtained a BS and MS in Biomedical Engineering at ASU.

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Integrating entrepreneurship into engineering education has gained momentum in recent years. Engineering students at many institutions now have access to a variety of mediums to get involved in entrepreneurship including classes, pitch competitions, and accelerator programs. Participating in these classes or programs can lead to engineering students getting very involved in entrepreneurship and having important, memorable experiences. This study sought to investigate these ‘critical’ entrepreneurship experiences among engineering students including the impacts they have. The study applied the critical incident technique in a narrative format to elicit and thoroughly investigate three senior engineering student’s entrepreneurship experiences who each were involved in advancing multiple entrepreneurial projects during their undergraduate education. The study reports these critical experiences and their impacts in a narrative format with rich detail. The findings suggest that entrepreneurship funding programs and classes are primarily involved in catalyzing powerful student experiences that have profound effects including changes in attitudes, behavior, and altered career goals. This study overall provides rich evidence on the value programs and classes have in facilitating the development of an entrepreneurial mindset.

Huerta, M. V. (2018, June), 'It was a Failure, But a Good Failure': A Qualitative Study Exploring Engineering Students' Critical Entrepreneurship Experiences and Their Impacts Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29646

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