Introducing the Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MEI)

This semester, the SC Johnson College of Business is launching their newest program, a Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MEI). All undergraduate students who graduate in Fall 2018 or later are eligible to pursue the minor. As stated on the minor’s homepage, “the mission of the University-Wide Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation is to prepare Cornell students to be agents of change in careers that require the application of entrepreneurial thinking and action to economic and social challenges. Underlying the minor is the premise that the value of entrepreneurship education is to create an innovative, creative mindset and to add a set of entrepreneurial tools and experiences that will prepare students from across Cornell as citizens and professionals.”

The minor is not exclusive to only ideation or practical aspects to starting company. Rather, it offers a broader approach to encourage entrepreneurial thinking and probleming solving. MEI hopes to aid students that want to pursue careers in creating new businesses, working with startups or innovative firms, addressing social and environmental issues, and/or contributing to entrepreneurial ecosystems in consulting, finance, accounting, law, and policy.

The minor requires four academic components: perspectives, teams and people, entrepreneurship in practice, and guided exploration. Below are the following purposes and credit requirements for each category:

Perspectives – 3 credits required

Purpose: Foundational perspectives on entrepreneurship

The only course offered and required for the Perspectives category is AEM 2220 – Foundational Perspectives and Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship.

Teams and People – 2 credits required

Purpose: Theories and frameworks for leading and working in teams

Sample courses for the Teams and People category are HADM 4835 – Leading and Managing Teams, ILRHR 4603 – Work Groups and Teams, and NBA 5150 – Leadership Theory and Practice

Entrepreneurship in Practice – 3 credits required

Purpose: Experiential courses that require participants to work in a team to explore an opportunity, do customer development, create a business, and deliver a written and oral presentation.

Sample courses for the Entrepreneurship in Practice category are AEM 3249 – Entrepreneurial Marketing and Strategy, AEM 3250 – Business Plan Process for New Ventures, and HADM 4145 – Developing a Hospitality Business Plan.                         

Guided Exploration – 9 credits required

Purpose: Customize the minor to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation in different industries and organizational settings.

The courses for this category varies. For example, a student majoring in food science, design, or engineering can take the core courses related to their field and then build upon this core with courses from the MEI that are most relevant to their field of study. For students that want more structure, the minor provides a course suggestions through a Matrix for Guided Exploration (PDF).

Dr. Susan Fleming is a senior lecturer in the School of Hotel Administration, Interim Academic Director of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship (PIHE), and faculty director for the Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. After teaching courses such as Entrepreneurial Management, Entrepreneurial Finance, and Women in Leadership, Dr. Fleming is excited about the prospects of the minor and explained how it all got started.

“The genesis of this was both recognition of demand by students to have more emphasis and opportunity to study and focus on entrepreneurship and recognition that across society, entrepreneurship is a really hot area and focus of growth in the economy,” she started, “We wanted to create an opportunity for students across the entire university to be exposed to learning about entrepreneurship as a way to approach management and their mindset, and that they could apply in a vast variety of careers, not just as a startup.”

Dr. Fleming noted that she, like many of her faculty peers have noticed that students interested in entrepreneurship have come from all backgrounds, from the traditional business domains of the Dyson and Hotel School to fields like fashion design and plant science. As far as what impact she hopes the minor will have, she stated that it’s two-fold, “It’s a broadening of their mindsets and horizons in the area of entrepreneurship and an opportunity for students to signal their entrepreneurial knowledge to the market if they are coming from a major that isn’t traditionally business.”

Dr. Fleming especially appreciates the curriculum guided exploration aspect. She described that this area, “can either provide more specific guidance for students that aren’t sure what they want to get out of this, but have a general idea or it can be very open ended for the student that wants to be self-directed.”

To learn more about MEI, there will be two upcoming information sessions:

  • March 13, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in Statler 291
  • March 26, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Statler 391

Applications for MEI will be accepted starting April 1, and can be done by completing a Declaration of Intent to Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

For more information, please visit the official homepage of the Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Additionally, feel free to contact Nicole McQuiddy-Davis (nm446@cornell.edu) or 607.255.2486. The University-Wide Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation office is located in 545 Statler Hall, and is open Monday – Thursday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.