Entrepreneurship classes aren’t just for business majors

Colleges are returning to normal operations and many have begun offering face-to-face classes again. But are they ready to teach students how to navigate life after the pandemic? Or how do you find a job in an economy fundamentally changed by COVID-19?

When professors of engineering and entrepreneurshipand authors of a new book about teaching entrepreneurship to college studentswe explored how entrepreneurship skills can improve students’ confidence, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.

Such a curriculum is a staple in business schools, especially for students who want to start a business. But it has the potential to benefit all students — including majors engineering, Agriculture and even the arts.

Graduates who develop an entrepreneurial mindset learn to habitually and intuitively spot new opportunities and create value within an organization. This value can relate to the development of new products or to continuous improvements, such as B. Implementing a more ergonomic workplace to combat health and safety issues. With these entrepreneurial skills, graduates are better prepared to enter today’s workplace and solve the problems complex challenges raised by the pandemic.

Think like an entrepreneur

The entrepreneurial mindset is defined as the propensity to discover, evaluate and seize opportunities. For example, an employee with an entrepreneurial mindset may suggest ideas to improve a company’s overall cost savings, or focus on improvements related to quality, productivity, or safety.

Students can use these skills in four ways: to start a new business, to add value to their employer, to appeal major societal challenges and improve their personal lives. Big societal challenges might include ending hunger or reversing climate change, while a personal application of the entrepreneurial mindset might involve a career change.

Rise of Entrepreneurship Education

Entrepreneurship education has long helped graduates succeed in business and technology. The University of Michigan was one of the first to offer a course in entrepreneurship already in 1927. However, the real growth of entrepreneurship education began in the 1970s, although it was in the 1970s in the middle of an economic downturn.

In 1975 there were only approx 100 college majors, minors or certificates in Entrepreneurship in the United States. Today more than 3,000 colleges and universities around the world offer entrepreneurship courses and programs.

In these courses, students learn to validate a business model, interview potential customers, and present an idea to investors and decision makers. The goal is to learn how to identify the interface between meeting customer needs and optimizing one’s business skills.

Such training works.

Research shows that developing behaviors linked to entrepreneurship is valuable if not vital, e.g long-term business success. Entrepreneurship training helps students communicate, collaborate, and problem-solve better. In short, it enables students to better understand and implement activities that add value within and between organizations.

And yet, despite these advantages, most universities simply offer entrepreneurship education as an option for students particularly interested in business.

An entrepreneurial mindset can help engineering students stay competitive in a fast-moving field.
andresr/E+ Collection via Getty Images

Entrepreneurship for all majors

However, an entrepreneurial approach to the curriculum could benefit all courses and courses.

Let’s take engineering courses for example.

Typically, a company’s marketing department examines consumer trends to identify products and needs. Then the marketing department expects engineers to obey their orders without questioning the problem at hand.

But entrepreneurial engineers could be involved in the process from the start. We examined that in our previous book, which focused on how to integrate engineering and entrepreneurship education. Being able to identify problems and spot new opportunities empowers engineers to identify and solve problems that arise when designing specific products.

Within the liberal arts and humanities, design and media majors can also develop their entrepreneurial mindset to be better prepared to enter the course gig economy as an independent contractor.

For example, photographers, book illustrators, and graphic designers can be trained not just how to make great art from theory and books, but how to make it sell great art.

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of entrepreneurial education in health sciences. Nurses and hospital staff provided insight into the design and practical feedback Increase in mask and ventilation production. They then worked to develop efficient COVID-19 testing and vaccination procedures. The result? Many lives saved.

We believe it is time to integrate the entrepreneurial mindset across the university – and truly prepare students to thrive in the post-pandemic world.

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