Stevens Launches Innovative Business Program for Engineering Students

Faculty and administrators are putting the finishing touches on Technical Entrepreneurship an innovative program that will offer entrepreneurial studies at the Howe School to more than 500 engineering majors at Stevens.

The program, open to the Schaefer School of Engineering & Science and School of Systems & Enterprises, marks an ongoing commitment by Stevens Institute of Technology to continue to advance entrepreneurship education throughout the university.

“It is a massive undertaking, but it goes to show that we are committed to build on our legacy and make Stevens a leader in entrepreneurship education,” says Gregory Prastacos, dean of the Howe School.

“During the last couple of decades we have witnessed major economic, technical and globalization-driven shifts that have radically changed the industrial landscape in the US and abroad,” says Christos Christodoulatos, vice provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurship education is starting to be seen nationally as a route to the development of new core competencies with the objective of producing relevant graduates that can compete successfully in the new marketplace. Stevens has recognized these trends with the new curricula to satisfy existing and emerging needs in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”

The program underwent an extensive two-year development and review process with both the Engineering and Howe curriculum committees. Students can register now for the cross-discipline course, available in the spring, that’s designed to advance a business point of view to engineering majors. The goal is to help students turn engineered concepts into marketable products.

Associate professors Peter Koen and Gary Lynn paired up to develop and coordinate the program through the Howe School.“Peter and I are both engineers,” says Lynn, who holds a Ph.D. in Marketing and Innovation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Master of Management in Marketing from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.


Designing 'something that's used' 

“We know it’s great to design something new but it’s even better to design something that’s used. We’re trying to teach engineers how to design with a business sense so that they can not only see their designs being used but also profit from their ideas and their creation.”

Engineering majors can either take the Technical Entrepreneurship course as a stand-alone course or use it as the foundation to build out an entrepreneurship minor. “At a minimum, it’s one course. But if they like it they can continue with the minor. Either way it’s a help to have engineers think about the business side of things including marketing, breakeven and profits.”

The program was piloted last spring with 43 freshmen as a survey course but was changed to a three-credit course based on demand.

As part of the curriculum, students will have an opportunity to create and submit a three-minute video of their idea to Kickstarter.com for funding. If their video is accepted by Kickstarter and receives the funding goal the students automatically earn an “A” in the course.

“We know it’s great to design something new but it’s even better to design something that’s used. We’re trying to teach engineers how to design with a business sense so that they can not only see their designs being used, but also profit from their ideas and their creation.”

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