Entrepreneurial University: Benefits of Entrepreneurship Education for Engineering Students
Entrepreneurial University: Benefits of Entrepreneurship Education for Engineering Students
  • Seo Ri-bin (Assistant Professor, IME)
  • 승인 2019.01.05 00:20
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▲Figure 1. The Radiant Model of Entrepreneurial University
▲Figure 1. The Radiant Model of Entrepreneurial University

Entrepreneurship education has become popular for many reasons. Learning about developing business plans and creating a company allows students to better understand and integrate finance, economics, accounting, marketing, and other business disciplines, offering them an integrative and enriching educational experience. Entrepreneurship education encourages the founding of new businesses by students and alumni and equips them with critical decision-making skills that enhance the success of graduates in the job market. Furthermore, the entrepreneurial thinking and behavior increase the transfer of technology to the market, from the university, through the development of technology-based business plans and student involvement with technology licensing. The education creates links between the academic and business communities. Education for entrepreneurship is thus considered a useful, applied approach to the study of business administration and economics.

Along with this vein, there is an increasing trend observed in universities around the world that aim to become entrepreneurial universities. The entrepreneurial universities incorporate the role of active contributors to the development of new businesses in their local communities, in addition to their traditional role of scientific knowledge creators and educators through their closer and more intense interaction with private industries and government institutions, universities become an increasingly important component of the national innovation system. Therefore, entrepreneurship education should be seen from a university-wide perspective and the increasing interest for this topic in a broader set of fields, combined with the enthusiasm of alumni from all fields to introduce a real-world dimension to their home schools encourages the implementation of entrepreneurial practices throughout the whole campus. The gap between real-life situations and the classroom theories and concepts can be bridged with the help of entrepreneurship education for students with different specialization fields. Bringing students from non-business fields closer to the business school is the approach of some institutions that aim to educate students in an entrepreneurship classroom characterized by diversity.

There is an approach to entrepreneurial education: a radiant model of an entrepreneurial university. Such a model involves all stakeholders, being a more complex body of politics, academics, and finances. In order to move forward such a complex organism, the program leaders must coordinate and adjust the self-interests of individual stakeholders, thus creating a radiant program is a process that takes time. Even if the effort of each academic unit is only local, they must perceive that they can lay claim to the larger university-wide program. 

The model proposed in figure 1 focuses on a triple approach of the entrepreneurial university: an internal approach, an external approach and an operational one. The model highlights the importance of each of these three dimensions, acknowledging the need for having the appropriate infrastructure and creating a space for students to meet, interact and foster creativity and innovation. The external approach recognizes the role of the community in building an entrepreneurial ecosystem and the symbiotic relationship that the university should have with the business environment and the local community. The third approach, namely the operational one, is itself divided into three components that summarize the activities of a university: research, formal and informal teaching and learning. 

The model presents also the steps that need to be followed in order to implement the entrepreneurial practices across the campus for achieving the radiant model of an entrepreneurial university. It all starts with the commitment of the leadership. The following step is creating a structure that will coordinate and monitor the implementation of the measures needed to transform the university into an entrepreneurial one. Raising awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship, both for the economy and for the future of the university is an ongoing process and it should target students, alumni, faculty, administrative staff, and the whole community and business environment. Engaging the employees in this process is a difficult task, but it is essential that everyone understands the short and long-term necessity of commitment. The mechanism of execution refers to offering all the stakeholders the necessary means to implement the plan to move forward to a university-wide approach of entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurial education in universities equips students with abilities that increase their potential including the abilities to solve problems, to develop social interaction, abilities to find information and to handle it for decision making, planning, communication and presentation skills. The education and training of entrepreneurship provide individuals with the ability to recognize commercial opportunities, self- esteem, knowledge, and skills to act on them. It includes instruction in opportunity recognition, commercializing a concept, managing resources, and initiating a business venture. Traditional business disciplines such as marketing, management, finance and information systems are also taught. Thus, the necessity of entrepreneurship education is undeniable. 

Individuals must continuously improve their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills as a response to today’s rapid pace of change. Training organizations, such as universities, find it difficult if not almost impossible to correlate their capacity to adapt the entrepreneurial education and curricular offering with the pace of change in labor market needs. In the dynamic world, it becomes more important that knowledge taught in schools are relevant for the workplace and are maintained and improved during the working life. Individuals can’t afford anymore to stop their formal education once entering the labor market. Building a solid foundation of skills during school years and providing lifelong learning is probably the viable solution to reduce the skill gap.