Academic Lens to Entrepreneurship ~ Guest Blogger Jeni Olney

As the new Advisor for the Program in Entrepreneurship I wanted to offer some thoughts on the benefits our students receive from participating in the academic component to our entrepreneurial ecosystem. As you can see under Programs of Study there is currently a specialized study Program in Entrepreneurship and a Masters in Entrepreneurship along with a plethora of courses offered throughout the University of Michigan pertaining to creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Such study offers students the ability to explore the theory behind the topics as well as navigate and refine tried and true concepts pertaining to entrepreneurship. The hope is to create a safe space for risk-taking in an educational setting.

Another remarkable benefit to studying entrepreneurship is having the creative community at your fingertips. Students are able to identify their fellow entrepreneurs as classmates and pull from each other’s expertise and motivation, as they are often grouped together for class projects. Strengths and skillsets emerge and roles are defined as projects take shape, often challenging what their individual predetermined abilities were.

Thirdly, the world-class faculty teaching our newest entrepreneurs offers a level of critique and feedback at a much earlier stage to support the safe risk-taking mentioned earlier. They want students to learn by doing and reflecting, and offer their own personal entrepreneurial experiences which students often find encouraging.

For me this time of the year is spent meeting with students who are graduating from the specialized study Program. It is infectious to hear how impactful this program of study was for them as they move forward into their careers; each of them having chosen this Program to complement skills across all disciplines of academia. The entrepreneurial ecosystem at UofM is thriving in and out of the classroom, this is #innovateblue.


Jeni Olney
Student Affairs Specialist for Entrepreneurial Programs
University of Michigan

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