Skip to Content
Report an accessibility problem
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Select Page

New entrepreneurial master’s degree combines engineering, business and design

New entrepreneurial master’s degree combines engineering, business and design

Convergence magazine > New entrepreneurial master’s degree combines engineering, business and design

The new Master of Science in Innovation and Venture Development is a student-focused transdisciplinary program designed to prepare leaders to launch ventures in any industry.

Arizona State University is offering a unique new degree to teach students from any background how to launch a successful venture.

The Master of Science in innovation and venture development is a transdisciplinary partnership among three schools at ASU: The Design School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

With its first cohort beginning Fall 2020, the one-year, on-campus program is experiential. Students will participate in several intensive studio courses and work in teams, according to Cheryl Heller, the director of design integration, a joint position among the business, engineering and design schools.

The degree has a STEM certification, which activates additional financial aid for students who are veterans and also allows international students to stay in the U.S. an extra year to get work experience.

Students enrolled in the program will “choose an issue or a pain point, research it, identify a solvable problem, develop ideas, fail, prototype, develop a business model and learn the essentials of scaling the venture,” said Heller, who also is a professor of practice in innovation design.

Project identification and prototyping are key aspects of solution development that Fulton Schools students are exposed to, both in their classes and through professional development programs offered by the school.

Students enrolled in the program will “choose an issue or a pain point, research it, identify a solvable problem, develop ideas, fail, prototype, develop a business model and learn the essentials of scaling the venture,” said Heller.

Cheryl Heller

Director of design integration, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and W. P. Carey School of Business, ASU

The program is being funded by Tom Prescott, an alumnus of ASU and the former CEO of Align, the company that produces the Invisalign teeth straightening system. Prescott has been involved in entrepreneurship at ASU for several years through the Tom Prescott Student Venture Fund and announced the new degree program at the recent ASU Innovation Open pitch competition.

Students will have milestones they have to meet, and the studio courses are meant to be responsive. The program builds off principles of entrepreneurship and innovation, two crucial aspects of the engineering and solution development process.

The students also will learn the “soft skills” of entrepreneurship — high-performance teamwork, ethics and leadership.

Graduates of the program will be equipped with the skills they need to lead cross-disciplinary teams in solving real-world problems, and combining engineering problem-solving with a business entrepreneurial mindset.

Adapted from New entrepreneurship master’s degree combines design, business, engineering, by Mary Beth Faller. ASU Now, February 7, 2020.