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Clarkson Pioneers New Trend In Business Education With Residential, Experiential Learning Program
Since Venture was launched in 2001, other institutions, including Babson College and the University of Maryland, have developed similar programs.
This fall, Jenny Marquis will return for her sophomore year at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., with new roommates and a new appreciation for cooperation and teamwork.
Marquis is one of some 20 second-year business students who have been chosen to participate in Venture@MooreHouse, an innovative residential learning experience in which students live together and operate a business in a corporate setting.
The situation sounds like the plot for a new reality television program. But Venture@MooreHouse is actually a highly successful program pioneering new trends in undergraduate education that integrate experiential learning opportunities into the more traditional classroom curriculum.
A program like Venture@MooreHouse has enormous benefits for the students, said Marc Compeau, director of entrepreneurship programs at the Clarkson School of Business and the group's advisor. "Concepts like risk management, supply chain, distribution networks, division of labor, and corporate structure that they learn in the classroom and in textbooks become real activities to manage and problems to solve. Successes and mistakes along the way are all part of the learning process. In the end, the students profit from the creative thinking, team work, troubleshooting and risk taking that is intrinsically built into the program."
In Venture@MooreHouse, students are responsible for everything from establishing the company's structure and making personnel decisions to securing start-up costs from a panel of investors made up of Clarkson School of Business faculty and administrators and prominent local business owners. At the same time, they will get a crash course in communal living and household management.
In past years, start-up businesses have included Ooye, a networking Web site designed to give college upperclassmen facing a tight job market a customized introduction to corporate recruiters and prospective employers. Another start-up business was Revolution 24 Inc., an innovative corporation that participated in the field of federal bidding by acquiring federal contracts dealing with service and trade equipment. The Revolution 24 student business operators acted as the middleman in the chain from manufacturer and supplier to contractors and buyers.
Venture@MooreHouse has also become a flagship program of the Clarkson School of Business's highly respected entrepreneurship curriculum. The University was recognized again this year as one of the top 100 entrepreneurial colleges and universities in the United States, according to the May issue of Entrepreneur magazine. More than 825 entrepreneurship programs were researched for the study. Clarkson appears in the list of the top 26 regionally recognized entrepreneur programs in the country.
The University's undergraduate business and entrepreneurship curriculum also received national recognition in 2002 and 2003 when it was chosen as the first runner-up two years in a row for the prestigious National Award in Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Education. The award is sponsored by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) and recognizes innovative and effective undergraduate entrepreneurship education.
There was a time when entrepreneurship education was limited to a few courses, taught in still fewer business schools, said Tim Sugrue, dean of the Clarkson School of Business. "Today, it has grown to include full-fledged doctoral degree programs, university departments, endowed professorships, and even a change in the way universities approach educating their students. At Clarkson we have earned a reputation as a leader in developing innovative experiential learning opportunities. Our students learn business by doing business. Based on the success of our graduates it is a formula that seems to work very well."