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Student Experiences With The Financial Basis Of Entrepreneurship

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.560.1 - 5.560.6

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Paper Authors

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Douglas M. Mattox

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David D. Mattox

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

Session 3654

Student Experiences with the Financial Basis of Entrepreneurship Douglas M. Mattox, David D. Mattox

Ceramic Engineering Dept., University of Missouri-Rolla, Rolla, MO/ Swank Motion Pictures, Inc., St. Louis, MO


The fourth offering of a Junior level course aimed at stimulating engineering student’s entrepreneurial interests in the interplay between engineering decisions and business economics has been completed. In the course, students increasingly experience (1) market identification; (2) plant design; (3) staffing, and (4) the generation of basic financial statements. A novel grading scheme incentivizes the learning of engineering economics for use as an embedded tool in the preparation of financial statements. Projects are usually worked in teams of four and become differentiated as the teams compete for the best market ideas, volume targets, marketing strategies and manpower decisions. After their plans are integrated into multi-layer financial spreadsheets, the teams perform IRR-sensitivity analyses of the underlying assumptions to determine the best ways of operating the business or to alter unsound assumptions. For the most IRR-sensitive parameters, students must define the engineering implications of the dependency . The aim is to create a mindset that sees engineering practice in the context of its economic justification. Final team presentations are made to local financial officers, such as bankers, CPA’s, etc., to both motivate high performance and to have the students gain their first experience interacting with bottom-line, oriented decision makers. Course background materials have credibility because they have been evolved with the help of varied representatives of industrial management.


When engineering students enter their final year of study, they often receive heavy exposure to the economic aspects of engineering. Prior to this, and for nearly a decade, they have been concentrating on mastering the theories of the sciences they intend to practice, giving very little thought to issues of economic justification, which is at the heart of engineering. We sought to broaden the perspectives of our ceramic engineering students so that they might graduate with greater interest in and knowledge of the controlling economic factors in the practice of engineering. The course we developed could be easily adapted to other engineering disciplines. The overarching aim of the course is to instill in the new graduate an active concern for the engineering implications of business-economic factors. The course is presented in a series of topical, parallel modules, which merge after two-thirds of the course (Table 1). The novel aspects of the topics and approaches will be discussed under their headings.

Mattox, D. M., & Mattox, D. D. (2000, June), Student Experiences With The Financial Basis Of Entrepreneurship Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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