Open 2013: Campus Venture Competitions and Student Engagement


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Open 2013: Campus Venture Competitions and Student Engagement

  1. 1. Campus Venture Competitions andStudent Engagement W. Trexler Proffitt Jr., Muhlenberg College Stephanie Kessler, Franklin & Marshall College Presented at NCIIA Open 2013 Washington, DC March 22, 2013
  2. 2. Venture Competitions Common at universities, business and engineering schools, undergrad and grad programs Uncommon in liberal arts colleges (LACs) Recent energy, particularly those with business programs (great instance of mimetic isomorphism) Sample Programs  Babson Muller/Charm Prize 1985 (first LAC)  Muhlenberg Innovation Challenge 2010  F&M Innovation Challenge 2011  Amherst Big Ideas Challenge 2012
  3. 3. Motivation for LACs Blending liberal arts and business  Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession (Colby et al., Carnegie, 2011)  Business Majors, but with a Twist (Light, WSJ, 2011) Business students need more liberal arts Teaching content in classrooms is not enough  Wealth or Waste? Rethinking the Value of a Business Major (Korn, WSJ, 2012) Liberal arts students need more business
  4. 4. Liberal Arts and Business Business often viewed as isolated from other fields Moving beyond technical content and into talent development What are the talents we want to develop?  Collaboration  Problem-solving  Leadership  Creativity  Resourcefulness
  5. 5. Potential MetricsMeasure Meaning# of Unique Entries Participation# of Majors Represented Diversity# of Mentor Contact Hours Engagement with alumniFaculty/Student Attendance at Popularity/AwarenessPresentationsPrize Money ($$$!) Institutional CommitmentFaculty Incentives to Students Academic IntegrationNew Ventures Created/Jobs Economic Development
  6. 6. Overall LAC Benefits Engagement with alumni Breaking down silos on LAC campuses Gateway to wider community, other competitions Bona fide resume enhancer Student confidence through application  Learning by doing  Rapid pace of learning  Collaborative success New venture creation (perhaps this is actually last?)
  7. 7. Case Studies for 2013 Muhlenberg F&M (3rd year) (4th year)Official Start/End Dates 2/1-4/25/13 2/1-4/12/13Typical Top Prize $1000 $1250Fall Information Sessions 3 3# of Categories 3 2Approximate Initial Entries 20 25Alumni/Parent Mentoring 90% 100%Faculty Involved (100% business) 3 2Funding from College $4000 $0Alumni Contribution 0% 100%Total prizes to be awarded 6 6Staffing Model Faculty (PT) Staff (PT)
  8. 8. Innovation Challenges Spring Semester, with publicity in Fall Modest prize money of $5,000-8,000 per year Multiple categories attempted  Open  Sustainability  Social Impact  Tech  Improve Campus Mentoring and judging by alums, staff, faculty, local entrepreneurs and business development folks
  9. 9. Positives Multiple categories produces reasonable diversity  4 categories led to 89 submissions by 150 students in 20 majors in F&M ’11 Students tend to produce interesting ideas and refine them well over time Fundraising, career services, PR, alumni affairs staff enthusiastic (perhaps related to above?) Alumni/parents enjoy engagement Awards event is an acclaimed positive
  10. 10. Negatives Unclear what should happen before or after for participants--pipeline uncertain (0 startups so far) Campus awareness low—constant publicity and peer outreach required Few faculty involved, no integration w/coursework Alumni/parents have not donated in large #s Academic administrators appear indifferent Staffing model uncertain
  11. 11. Ongoing Challenges Diversify participation and awareness on campus Support multiple categories of entry Convert alumni engagement into long-term support Attract support from administration and faculty Develop pipeline of activity pre/post competition Get some ventures going!