UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering University of California San Diego
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New Entrepreneurism Courses Give Students An Insider’s Look at the Business of Innovation

What does it take to balance innovation with the drive to make a company profitable? This was the question 25 engineering students answered as they worked in teams to interview CEOs, CTOs, marketing directors and project managers at their assigned companies. The project was part of Enterprise Dynamics, the second in a new series of courses being offered by the Jacobs School through its von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism & Technology Advancement.

“Our goal is to expose students to the business side of technology companies, so that they can become more effective engineers and move more quickly in their career paths,” says Bill Paulin, a business school professor and local businessman who cofounded USC’s entrepreneurship programs. Paulin and University of Washington Professor Karl Vesper created and are teaching the course series.

On March 20, the students rose to the challenge. One group got an inside look at AMCC, and learned that the company’s innovation strategy is to design incremental product enhancements tailored to customer needs. Another group found that at Quantum Magnetics, research engineers explore a wide variety of technologies. Other student teams reported on Orincon, Packet Video and Nanogen.