Academia - How engineers can prepare to be job makers, not job takers.
The entrepreneurial spirit is an increasingly valuable asset in today’s economy. The same toolkit used to launch a business from scratch turns out to be quite applicable to larger, more established organizations as well. Mature energy companies and even nonprofit or government bodies have just as much need as startup companies for ambitious employees who have the ability to identify problems, listen to customers/stakeholders, marshal resources, and inspire teams to create efficient solutions.
The George R. Brown School of Engineering, part of Rice University in Houston, Texas, is tasked with preparing the next generation of engineers for careers in academia or industry. In fact many of the students could spend the majority of their professional lives working in the energy industry. However, it is difficult in a traditional classroom setting to imbue engineering students with the spirit of entrepreneurialism. In addition, there is a dearth of rigorous scientific research about entrepreneurship and its effective development. So, if entrepreneurialism is an increasingly important skill for engineering careers, how does a university prepare its students today for their careers of tomorrow?