Tag Archives: Robert Mittlestaedt

Entrepreneurs

W. P. Carey School Launches New Major in Entrepreneurship

If you’ve ever thought about starting your own business — about turning your passion into a moneymaking company – then entrepreneurship may be for you. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University announces a new major in business entrepreneurship that can offer you access to incredible resources and the knowledge to help you succeed.

“The W. P. Carey School has been delivering entrepreneurship coursework for almost 30 years, and ASU has a wide variety of resources for budding entrepreneurs,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “However, until now, we’ve only formally offered a concentration and certificates in entrepreneurship. Starting this fall, we want to give our entrepreneurs a full major, so their degrees and resumes reflect the intense training and preparation they’ve received. This can help when presenting themselves to potential backers, partners or even employers at existing companies looking for true innovators.”

The recent uncertainty in the economy has produced a keen interest in entrepreneurship, as many people try to create their own jobs and business opportunities. As a result, the number of entrepreneurship programs at universities across the country is booming.

“Entrepreneurship students can look forward to potentially connecting with mentors, peers, possible investors and top faculty members who understand how to start and maintain a business,” says Sidnee Peck, director of entrepreneurial initiatives at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “They also get great feedback from industry experts, and they have the ability to try and fail in a safe environment, instead of risking real money in the real world.”

The W. P. Carey School already has a tremendous record of producing great student entrepreneurs. Over just the past few years, the school has had a Forbes magazine “All Star Student Entrepreneur” and two finalists for Entrepreneur magazine’s annual “College Entrepreneur” award. The school has also had many winners of ASU’s Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative, which provides funding, mentorship and office space to teams of students and helps them develop their ideas into viable businesses. In the last academic year alone (2011-12), W. P. Carey School students won more than $130,000 in new-venture competitions.

In 2011, Peck was invited to speak at a White House event about the benefits of teaching entrepreneurship to college students. Her entrepreneurship classes at the W. P. Carey School include some groundbreaking new coursework in Lean LaunchPad, an experience-oriented concept introduced in Silicon Valley. Several of her students have successfully launched businesses.

“Our major in entrepreneurship helps you acquire the educational foundation, experiences and network to negotiate obstacles and be successful,” says Professor Gerry Keim, chair of the W. P. Carey School’s Management Department, where the new major is housed. “This country has always encouraged the risk-taking needed to be an entrepreneur. In our program, students can learn whether something is feasible, whether an idea is a good fit for the marketplace, how to get capital, and other key skills, so they only spend time developing business concepts that create value.”

ASU also boasts many other opportunities to help students get their firms off the ground, including:

·         Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS), a sequence of classes at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering that joins students of various majors to help solve real-world problems.
·         Student Teams for Entrepreneurship Projects (STEP), a program from the W. P. Carey School of Business Spirit of Enterprise Center that matches teams of business students with Valley companies to solve existing problems.
·         CTI Maker Week through the College of Technology and Innovation, where students can pitch ideas, make devices and launch them.
·         InnovationSpace — a joint program between the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the W. P. Carey School of Business – that teaches students how to develop products that create market value, while serving social needs and minimizing impacts on the environment.
·         ASU’s SkySong, which offers the Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative and other funding competitions, among many other services for entrepreneurs.

The new entrepreneurship degree will officially be available starting in fall 2013, but applications are already being accepted. Two other new bachelor’s degrees will also be offered at the W. P. Carey School this fall: Bachelor of Arts in Business with concentrations in human resources or sports & media studies. A new concentration is also being introduced in digital and integrated marketing communication.

Visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu for more information on the school’s stellar undergraduate program, ranked Top 25 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

man with red tie standing in front of Dean's office

CEO Series: Robert E. Mittlestaedt Jr.

Robert E. Mittelstaedt Jr.
Dean, W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University

How is W.P. Carey’s curriculum changing due to the economic crisis?
The curriculum in any business school has to involve some fundamental, timeless subjects that never change. So accounting and some aspects of finance and people management and other things will go on forever, but in every case we have to find a way to adapt to the changes in the external environment, whether it’s societal or specific kinds of business issues. I think that most business schools now are re-thinking seriously their curriculums in light of what has happened in the last couple of years, in particular issues in the areas of risk management, ethics in decision making and globalization … It doesn’t mean that the entire curriculum will change, but we have to find a way to weave those things more into almost everything we teach.

Could business schools have done more to create an ethical climate among corporate executives that could have averted this crisis? Does that argument have any merit?
My experience over many years now tells me that parents have to do more to teach ethical values to their children, and society has to take responsibility for holding people accountable for ethical behavior. Sadly, I have found that in most people, when they cross ethical lines, you find out it’s not the first time and they started doing it early in their life. By the time we get them as undergraduate business students, that’s about the end of the time when you can influence it.

We push hard on ethics from day one, and the students who come into our program hear about ethics on day one from me, and throughout the time that they’re here and they are required to take ethics courses. … This is something that’s a broad societal problem that we have to deal with, and we’re are doing as much as we can in business schools and will continue to put even more emphasis on it, but it’s not something that can be solved just in a business school or just in a university alone.

What are some of the future trends you see for business schools?
I expect to see all business schools more concerned with some of the things that we have been thinking about here at ASU. For instance, whether you believe in global warming or not, it is indisputable that we have to worry about sustainability, simply because of the number of people on the planet. … There are all sorts of things that become different issues where we have society and business interacting, whether we like it or not, in a much more integrated fashion than we have had in the past. … Issues of instant communications, doing business differently than our predecessors did, are very real and have to be part of a curriculum. … All those things find their way into a curriculum, both in terms of changing the way we teach, the kinds of things we teach, the impact they have on individuals.

How would you assess the relationship between W.P. Carey and the Valley business community?
I believe that our relationship with the business community at the W.P. Carey School is quite strong. We have many business leaders that are on our advisory councils, advisory boards to departments, to the whole school; we have many businesses that support us by sending students here to work on their MBAs or even their undergraduate degrees. And we have many business leaders who are not graduates of our school but who believe we have to have a strong business school to help Phoenix grow, and so they support us.

Describe the education industry in Arizona in terms of employment.
Education is a big sector of our society and I don’t believe there are very many people today that would deny that education needs to be there. …  (T)here’s more to learn today and a child today needs to learn more and get to a higher level of knowledge just to be competitive in the work force than they did a generation or two generations or three generations ago. You have to have an education sector that is strong and employs a fair number of people if you’re going to be competitive.The fact that we have gone through a financial crisis and budget cutbacks and furloughs and layoffs means that it’s not different than any other business, and it is in fact a business. It may be state supported, partially in the case of our university, but it is nonetheless a business that is subject to the same kinds of economic whipsaws as other sectors. The difference here is that our students don’t just go away because the economy got worse. In a retail establishment the customers may not show up and you may not have to have as many (establishments) open. We still have 52,000 students showing up on this campus in the fall …

    Vital Stats




  • Dean at W.P. Carey since 2004.
  • Between 1973 and 2004, he served in numerous leadership positions at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Author of “Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal? Avoiding the Mistake Chain That Can Destroy Your Organization.”
  • Earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tulane University.
  • Served five years as a U.S. Naval officer.
  • Received an MBA from the Wharton School.
  • wpcarey.asu.edu