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Revamped minor ties together business, engineering, design

Courtesy of TNS.

Courtesy of TNS.

Those looking to take up a hands-on minor in business creation will soon get the opportunity.

Entrepreneurship and innovation is a new interdisciplinary undergraduate minor that aims to help students be more creative and efficient at creating ideas and products in the business world.

The minor was initiated by Fisher College of Business and approved by the Council on Academic Affairs in July.

The minor is a revised version of an old minor with the same name that has existed for 10 years, said Michael Bills, executive-in-residence of entrepreneurship & innovation for Fisher.

It’s been redeveloped to integrate innovation and entrepreneurship-based theories and practices to assist students in understanding how to create new ideas, products and services for businesses, Bills said.

Because the minor previously existed, there are no additional expenses associated with its redevelopment, Bills said.

“In the development of the minor, we spoke to many students,” Bills said. “There was research conducted prior to the minor being redeveloped and we took a lot of students’ input and the outcome you see is pretty much based on students’ input.”

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The new minor requires students to take a course in business, engineering and design so they can get a holistic perspective across disciplines. Toward the end of the minor, students take a practicum course where they work in a small team on a real-world project.

“We are excited about it,” Bills said. “We hope to grow significantly over the next few years to really get students of all types involved in the program.”

The minor is fairly applicable to all students, regardless of majors or disciplines, Bills said.

“If you are a student of arts, (the minor) helps you to advertise your expertise,” he said. “If you are into science, this has huge potential for new startup and for new venture. Taking a discovery and helping it translate from a new discovery to commercialization of new ideas.”

Bills said the focus of the revised minor is different from the old pre-existing minor.

“(The old version) focused exclusively on business development and capitalization. The new minor is more focused on the front-end idealization and consumers’ validations to provide students a holistic idea,” Bills said.

Todd Barnum, a Fisher College lecturer, is teaching one of the business courses the minor will require. The new minor still needs time to prove itself, but he is confident about the future, he said in an email.

“It seems to be very different from the current course of study with more theory and less practical teaching,” he said.

Barnum said the minor is about helping get students ready for life after college.

“We must prepare these students for the real world and I hope the new minor will do that,” he said. “I think it will.”

Claire Slavik, a second-year in speech and hearing science, said she likes the revised minor because it places attention on practical experiences by offering the practicum course.

“I think it’s very helpful because they put you out there and doing hands-on work that you are going to have to do in the real world later on,” she said. “I don’t think it could do anything but benefit you.”

Jimsara Redon, a second-year in health science, said she is interested in the minor because it could enrich a student’s practical experience when he or she goes on to the real world.

“It applies to real life,” Redon said. “If you want to work for a company, this minor gives you an introduction to the background that might help you for your future career path.”

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