Student entrepreneurs turn cancellation into fruitful discussion
Walking up the stairs to Banfi’s, I was looking forward to an intimate lunch with one of Cornell’s many notable alumni and a group of my fellow Cornell students. But, unfortunately due to a last minute scheduling conflict, the speaker was not able to attend. At first, we were all disappointed, but as we sat down to enjoy our meal anyway, we realized what an opportunity we had before us. Here we were, a group of eleven entrepreneurially minded Cornell students enjoying a lunch together for an hour.
The majority of students at the event were members of Dyson’s Business Minor for Engineers (DBME), so we talked about this growing community: its strengths, where it can grow, and the work of its members. We came to the conclusion that the newly organized minor was providing engineering students with useful skills applicable to the business world, from consulting, to banking, to personal ventures.
Additionally, we all loved the idea of an on-campus workshop series. There are many topics, from sales to negotiations, from funding to recruiting, and from culture to partnerships that are not covered in Cornell undergraduate. But, these workshops could bring professionals back to campus to teach students about their work. These workshops could provide Cornell students a hands-on opportunity to learn skills directly related to futures in entrepreneurship and business in general.
As we began to discuss our personal interests and involvements, the true depth and breadth of expertise in the room came to the surface. Just to name a few, we had a SpaceX engineer and two students starting their own companies in attendance. One startup is aimed at helping musicians and their fans, and the other provides a better way to plan events with friends.
While this lunch was not what I was expecting, it gave me a new understanding of the potential of the DBME. This growing group of dedicated faculty and staff and the new offerings of the minor allow engineering students to pick up skills not present in their other classes, but that can be very relevant later in life. If you are interested in the minor, please contact Nancy Bell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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