6 Ways to Study Entrepreneurship in College

Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs – all are famous for their entrepreneurial skills and acuity. If you want to join the ranks of these founders – or at least learn how to think like them – consider studying entrepreneurship in college. Even one class could make a difference.

“Everyone has the fundamental right to turn an idea into an economic reality, regardless of who you are or where you’re from, with zero barriers in the way,” according to Ewing Marion Kauffman, an entrepreneur and humanitarian at the Kauffman Foundation.

Students can study entrepreneurship by taking a class; finishing a major in entrepreneurship, minor, or certificate; completing a master’s in entrepreneurship; or by getting involved in a club, startup, or organization such as the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a top-10 ranked program for student entrepreneurs at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.

Entrepreneurship classes and degree programs are usually taught by the business school at a university. At the University of Utah, they are taught and managed by the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy. Enroll in opportunities here in person or online, or find a college near you.

To help you navigate the options, we compiled the list below of ways to study entrepreneurship for prospective students, current college students, or for those wanting to come back to school and attain their master’s degree.

1. Take an Entrepreneurship Class

Want to take a class to get a taste or fill a general-education credit or elective requirement? Here are a few classes recommended by students to take to satisfy your curiosity:

Introduction to Entrepreneurship

Start to learn how to create and capture value through forming and joining profit- and mission-seeking organizations. Kathy Hajeb, an associate professor at the University of Utah said, “Students should take this class to develop their entrepreneurial mindset and how to capture the most value out of your business.”

Entrepreneurial Marketing

Marketing is the face of all brands. Learn how to successfully build strategies and branding that can help a startup, small business, and high tech.

Larry Norris, an entrepreneur and marketing graduate at the University of Utah, said this class was very valuable to his career and entrepreneurial endeavors. “Entrepreneurship marketing really helped me to understand how to take applicable actions when pursuing a business goal or project,” he said. “It taught that, with the right mindset and drive, you can accomplish what you thought before was impractical. This class was radiated beyond the classroom – which is why it was a success.”

Entrepreneurial Finance

This class prepares students to know how to finance their startups and get them ready to launch.

Taylor Buckley, a student in the Master of Business Creation program at the University of Utah and founder of My School Dance, said, “In this class, I was able to understand and create beautiful financial models and really understand the financial drivers of my company.”

2. Get a Major, Minor, or Certificate in Entrepreneurship

Write your own rules and create your own flexibility through a structured academic program in entrepreneurship. Whether or not you want to start your own business, a major, minor, or certificate in entrepreneurship can help build an understanding of business practices from a much bigger perspective.

In today’s globalized world, knowing how to adapt to a number of situations is an important skill.

“With a degree, students learn how to think like an entrepreneur and to further develop and apply an entrepreneurial mindset. They practice the ability to learn, do, pivot, and grow, which is essential for success,” said Brad Williams, assistant professor and program director for the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the University of Utah.

The entrepreneurship major at the University of Utah is highly experiential and hands-on. It prepares students to get their own, or a potential business idea up and running.

If you are looking to take a couple of entrepreneur classes, consider getting a minor or certificate. They both provide students with the necessary skills to start, manage, or improve an existing business.

Certificates and minors are a time-effective way to build upon your knowledge and college experience, but yet give you the necessary skills you need. Certificates also offer a range of building opportunities without certain prerequisites.

3. Don’t Miss the Academic Designation Option

Do you want something shorter than a minor or certificate? Designation programs like the new Lassonde+X program at the University of Utah is the right choice for you. Lassonde+X is an introductory academic program for all undergrad students from all backgrounds and majors (the X) to explore and exercise entrepreneurship.

The Lassonde+X designation is provided by the David Eccles School of Business and Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

Like other academic designations, students earn recognition for completing the program on their academic transcript.

4. Study Entrepreneurship Abroad

Study entrepreneurship abroad by seeing the world, all while earning academic credit and immersing yourself in the culture of the country you choose. Study for a week, month, or entire semester.

In these study abroad experiences, various classes are taught such as Entrepreneurship & Society, Entrepreneurial Finance, Entrepreneurial Marketing, and more.

University of Utah student Graham Austin spoke of his entrepreneurship abroad experience in Chile. “Going to Chile was extremely valuable because we could directly apply what we were learning, all while also gaining cultural competencies that we might not have if we stayed in our home country,” he said.

If you want to travel, learn, and study entrepreneurship, consider going on a study abroad. Check with your university to see what different types of programs they offer.

5. Get a Master’s in Entrepreneurship

For graduates, a master’s in entrepreneurship is designed for those who intend or have an innovative business. While building a business, students are able to develop entrepreneurial and managerial skills.

Looking for a short nine-month master’s program to launch your company? The University of Utah has a Masters of Business Creation (MBC) degree. “This degree is not for people who want to just think of entrepreneurship. At the Eccles School, entrepreneurship is a verb, and the best way to learn is by doing it,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, an assistant dean at the David Eccles School of Business and executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

6. Get Involved, Enter a Competition, & Start a Company

If you want to get involved outside of class, look for ways to get involved with entrepreneurship on campus, enter competitions, and get support to start a company. Many colleges have centers that support student startups and host extracurricular contests and activities.

The University of Utah has the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a hub for student entrepreneurs at the University of Utah, and Lassonde Studios, a five-story building dedicated to student entrepreneurs.

Anne Bastien, the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute’s program director, encourages all students to get involved in entrepreneurship while in college to find your passions. The institute has programs ranging from those interested in business, medical, arts, food, and more. She said, “All students, whether interested in becoming entrepreneurs or not, are welcomed and encouraged to participate in all of our many extracurricular entrepreneurship programs, because we believe it is transformative for students find their passions and practice new skills outside of the classroom.”


About the Author:

Victoria Matthews Victoria Matthews is a Business Scholar at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in marketing. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and works at Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute as a marketing assistant. She is an outdoor enthusiast, musician and writer. Learn more about her on LinkedIn here.

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