The panel members will grade the students on the course, and if they like a proposal they see, it’s quite possible they’d fund it, or provide useful networking connections to the student, Kuratko says. Whatever the outcome, students will learn to mitigate risk in the pitch process, through planning and understanding, Kuratko says.
Students focused on innovation inside established companies, who say, “I love my company, I want to do something innovative inside of it,” will take a different experiential course, Kuratko says. A student will pitch an idea – ideally, formulated in consultation with their company’s executives – then learn how to develop it into a proposal. Then the student will take it back to the company. His or her grade will be based on whether the company runs with the proposal. “We want to see commitment from the organization. We want to see a timeline. That puts a spine sweat on the student.”
Aside from the experiential component, education will be delivered through Kelley’s online-course management systems, and include video lectures, posted case studies followed by group discussions, and live online audio/video meetings. Professors from Kelley’s MBA program will do most of the teaching. Students will work together at the university’s campus during a seven-day course introduction, and most students go abroad to “understand entrepreneurship in new environments” by completing consulting projects for small businesses in emerging markets, according to the school.
THIS IS NOT A CAKEWALK
When Kelley began developing the program more than a year ago, Kuratko was adamant that it be tough. “I said, ‘Look, I don’t want this to be a cakewalk. I don’t want students thinking this is a fun-zie degree.’ This is where the entire future is moving. We want students to understand that this is a degree that is your future.”
Selection will be based on a student’s demonstration of commitment and force of character. “I just want to make sure that we have students that have thought about this and are taking this as a serious step,” Kuratko says. “All I’m really looking for is a student’s tenacity and determination, because when you get into the world of entrepreneurship and innovation, boy, that’s important.”
Enrollment will take place in April. Kuratko expects a first cohort of 20 to 25 students, and that most will finish the program in two to 2 1/2 years, but there’s no hard deadline. It will cost $1,200 per credit hour, with 30 required credit hours, for a current cost of $36,000. Tuition fee changes during a student’s period of study could affect the base cost.