Since commencing in 2016, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation minor at Michigan State University (MSU) has seen explosive growth. In fact, during the 2017-18 school year, more than 600 undergraduate students from 13 colleges and representing 129 different majors participated in the minor. Of those, 144 students were from the Eli Broad College of Business.
Although still in its early stage, the program is garnering more attention from academic peers as well. In November, MSU was named among the top 25 schools for undergraduate entrepreneurship studies by the Princeton Review, finishing 21st out of more than 300 schools considered for the ranking.
The program’s goal isn’t necessarily to create a band of entrepreneurs ready to start a new business. It is using the tool of entrepreneurship to give students the ability to be adaptable in a future where career paths could change, and unexpected opportunities could arise and established ways of doing things will rapidly become outdated.
“You’d be surprised how many of the students – more than I would have expected – describe a desire to want to change the world, fix a social problem, feed the hungry, educate the illiterate, fix their neighborhood, help out people behind them,” said Neil Kane, director of MSU’s Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program. “It’s expressed so many different ways, but I see a lot of that come through.”
Students are taught to embrace “entrepreneurial mindset domains” that Kane said includes “opportunity recognition, comfort with risk, being flexible and adaptable, being innovative, learning to communicate and work in teams – these are the traits that I believe very strongly are necessary for any graduate to have, regardless of whether they start their own business.”
In other words, the program based at Eli Broad College of Business teaches adaptable entrepreneurial skills for use beyond just doing business.