Colleges across the U.S. teach an entrepreneurial mindset, which helps not just business-minded students, but those in every field of study.
“Most of the world thinks of entrepreneurship as something that happens in a garage or an office park, and that it’s all about startups,” said Erik Noyes, who teaches a course on management and entrepreneurship at Babson College in Massachusetts. In fact, entrepreneurial thinking is simply independent thinking, accessible to students in any field, to workers who work for large corporations, and those who start their own ventures, he said.
Developing one’s ability to think independently shouldn’t wait until after graduation. That is why students at Georgetown University in Washington interested in tailoring financial services to students were able to start their own bank, the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union. It boasts $500,000 in deposits from current students. The positions of chief executive right down to the bank tellers are Georgetown students, and the credit union is now the largest entirely student-run financial institution in the United States, with approximately $17 million in assets and 7,000 members.
Startup Shell is an incubator for new businesses, started by and run by students at the University of Maryland to launch student ventures. It offers work space, prototyping resources, free legal consultations and discounts on incorporation, patents and trademarks. Student projects range from 3-D projection mapping and biotech ventures to a chicken-doughnut food truck.
Beyond business school
Oberlin College in Ohio offers an entrepreneurship program for the student-musicians enrolled in its conservatory. Classes include instruction in freelance marketing, ensemble startups, creating press kits, building an online presence and budgeting for tours. The students, said Andrea Kalyn, dean of the conservatory, “know that they’re going to end up in some sort of a freelance or mixed career. They want to do individualized things, and they want help in getting them done.”
After a career as a physicist and corporate executive, Douglas Arion started ScienceWorks, an entrepreneurship program for science and tech undergraduates at Carthage College in Wisconsin. An initial donor-supporter of the program told him that science students could rule the world, “but they don’t know how.” Arion supplements their science education with lessons on writing grant proposals and applying for patents. He tells his students that in the real world, “the grades are A and F. Either they fund your project or they don’t. If you get 88 percent, you don’t get 88 percent of the money.”