University of Scranton launches Entrepreneurship major; entrepreneurial skills sought by established firms as well as start-ups

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University of Scranton alumnus Andrew Torba ’13 (right), was among the first students to pursue a minor in entrepreneurship at the Uuniversity. He and his teammates, Mike Toma (left) from King’s College and Charles Szymanski (center) from Drexel University, won the 10th Annual Great Valley Business Plan Competition and started Kuhcoon LLC. The University will offer a new major in entrepreneurship beginning in the fall 2014 semester.

The University of Scranton’s new major in entrepreneurship, which officially begins in the fall 2014 semester, encourages students to be “mavericks” and problem solvers, capable of both creating new businesses and being creative with an existing company’s resources.

According to Alan Brumagim, Ph.D., entrepreneurship program director and associate professor in the University’s Marketing, Management and Entrepreneurship Department, most entrepreneurship students won’t start their own business right after graduating from college, however, they will gain the innovative and inventive habits sought after by existing firms. This ability to “think differently” makes these students attractive employment candidates. Dr. Brumagim says many companies are looking for “mavericks” to lead them “to more effective ways of doing business.”

“Entrepreneurs see opportunities in problems,” said Dr. Brumagim. “Entrepreneurship is a process of thinking learned by students through their coursework. It’s a way of approaching situations encountered in business – or life.”

“One of the things we teach students through the courses is to ‘think inside the box,’ which means to think creatively about the use of resources that are already at your disposal,” said Dr. Brumagim, who used an example to illustrate this point from the Business Creativity and Innovation course, in which students are asked to solve a problem as a group – without speaking to one another or using electronic devices. While at first the tech-dependent students are at a loss, they soon realize they have chalk and a blackboard at their disposal. Altering perceptions and making students think about different ways to problem-solve is key.

“Through hands-on exercises and experience integrated in courses throughout the program, students learn to fully examine and creatively utilize all the resources of a company,” said Dr. Brumagim. He has already seen examples of large firms expressing strong interest in students who have taken the entrepreneurship minor, which the University has offered since 2011.

Through the entrepreneurship minor, Dr. Brumagim has also seen students successfully start their own businesses. Andrew Torba, a 2013 University of Scranton graduate who majored in philosophy and minored in entrepreneurship, and his business partners won the 10th Annual Great Valley Business Plan Competition (GVBPC). They started Kuhcoon LLC, an interactive social media management and optimization service.

Dr. Brumagim says entrepreneurship students also thrive at smaller firms.

“Most college graduates work for smaller employers, where they must wear many hats,” said Dr. Brumagim. “The broad base of the entrepreneurship major exposes students to multiple business disciplines, which makes them more comfortable in the varied roles they’re required to fill when working at a small or even midsized business.”

In addition to the core curriculum of business courses required for all majors of the Kania School of Management, the entrepreneurship courses include The Entrepreneurship Mindset, Business Creativity and Innovation, Applied Business Foundations for Entrepreneurs, the Entrepreneurial Business Plan and Social Entrepreneurship, as well as a capstone course that requires students to operate an actual business. Entrepreneurship major electives include courses in electronic commerce, project management, family business and acquiring and managing resources, as well as a study-abroad entrepreneurship course, which is offered in early summer.

In addition to the entrepreneurship major, the entrepreneurship minor will continue to be offered to students in all majors at the University.

For additional information, contact Dr. Brumagim at alan.brumagim@scranton.edu or call 570-941-7480.

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