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Menlo College Student Priorities

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Spring 2018


Visit Our Change Story Website:

As a leadership circle we came together to discuss the changes we would like to see on campus. We were all very passionate with the areas we decided to work on. Overall we noticed how many resources Menlo College needs. As students of change we did research, created a prototype, tested our prototype, and came together. Here are our strategic priorities for this year.

Strategy #1: Remodeling Senior Capstone Course “Launching the Venture”

A relatively new course called Design Thinking brings the design thinking process onto Menlo College Campus for first time in Fall 2017. In this class, students work on problems/customer-jobs-to-be-done in the society, while brainstorming processes, and creating multiple iterations of  prototypes. And as a  results of these processes, we get wonderful ideas that, if implemented, would be not only sustainable but also profitable.

However, students have no outlet for these class projects to become actual startups. One of the current senior capstone courses called Launching the Venture that was designed to address this problem is not really effective in what it’s trying to achieve. The current working ideas do not lead to actual ventures. One of the main reasons for that is because the students enrolled in the class are not serious entrepreneurs, as in they have no interest in launching their own ventures; they only enroll in the class because it works better with their schedules. Additionally, another big factor for why the current Launching the Venture is ineffective is because students begin the class without a refined idea to work with. So, a big chunk of the course is spent on finding the project ideas, in a very rush-Design Thinking way. Lastly, due partly to the lack of funding, Menlo College lacks many components/resources that are essential for building a sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship ecosystem on campus, as indicated in our Landscape Canvas Synthesis.

How Might We

provide Menlo College students, who are serious entrepreneurs and have great ideas, the resources–mentorship, connections, and fundings–they need to launch their startups, without breaking Menlo’s bank?

After investigating the problems more closely, we came up with an idea to remodel the existing senior capstone course: Launching the Venture. The non-serious entrepreneurs are the first factors that we need to address. To do that, we must encourage more entrepreneurship students to enroll in the class, while the non-entrepreneurship students who do not wish to have anything to do with startups are encouraged to enrolled in the other senior capstone course: Global Strategy. This doesn’t mean that accounting, finance, psychology, etc. students are not allowed to enrolled in the class, but they must show some type of initiative that proves that they are genuine about launching their own ventures. The initiatives may be the fact that they have been working on their startups for some time, and they are looking for a way to start out. Which leads to the next big change that would be introduced to Launching the Venture.

Students should begin the course with pre-existing ideas that they are passionate in pursuing. Students who have been independently working on their startup ideas and those coming out of Design Thinking with great ideas are the perfect candidates for Launching the Venture. We came up with the idea to remodel the curriculum structure by making Design Thinking a prerequisite to Launching the Venture. Again, this prerequisite should be waived if students or teams of students show that they have feasible business ideas.

The remodeling of the course is not enough. These students will also need more more valuable resources, including mentorship, connections, and funding, in order for them to launch their ventures. We need an accelerator program that is effective in guiding these entrepreneurs into the right path, while at the same time, does not break Menlo College’s bank, as our financial resources are very limited. That challenge could be easily overcome because the school only needs to hire 2-3 people to run the accelerator department, where they invite mentors to work with the students, provide outside connections that students can reach out to, and most importantly, coordinate a final pitching stage, where various angel investors are invited, to attend the student’s final pitch, where they will present the business plans they have been refining for a semester.

Strategy #2: Business, Technology, and Innovation

Menlo College is currently undergoing a revamp of the education curriculum. Students at Menlo College who want to learn about business and technology should have the option to do so. Menlo is in the heart of Silicon Valley, which is the global leader in the tech industry. What can be improved to Menlo curriculum would be additional courses that is designed to teach students about technology. It will give them a better foundation that will better prepare them when or if they apply for a job in Silicon Valley.

Student’s currently have major options in Finance, Marketing, Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Psychology, Sports Management, International Management, Human Resources, and Real Estate. The job outlook for each of these majors requires proficient knowledge in some range with technology and the current curriculum is not preparing students for encountering technology. Menlo College’s only major with technology is Management Information Systems, that has been discontinued and contains limited courses. To find a solution to these issues we want to develop and coordinate new technology-driven courses within the curriculum such as; Business Intelligence & Data Science, Computer Programming (Python, C++, Java), Growth Hacking, Machine Learning/Automation, Mobile App/Web Development, and Design Thinking/Theory. Our objective is to have these set up as a Business & Technology & Innovation concentration or minor that students could potentially implement with their current major. In order to fulfill this we must coordinate with the school’s curriculum committee who then must get it approved by the faculty senate. We are also looking to incorporate pilot programs or 3-4 week modules that students can take on the side. This will not only prepare students for their professional expertise but also allow them to expand their innovative mind.

Strategy #3: The Path (Entrepreneurial Resource Program)

Menlo College added an innovation space from the efforts and pursuits of last years UIF candidates. It is currently used as a classroom/meeting space but we will create a program based on the “Pursue” and “Spinout” components of the Landscape Canvas. We have come together with a Fellow from last year to coordinate and create a model for this program. It will serve students by giving them access to startup resources. This will enable students to commit to an opportunity provided by Menlo. We want more connections like GSVLabs brought to campus while also utilizing our Alumni and Professors mentorship. The program will provide regional sources of capital, mentoring, advisory, and business networks.This will use students intellectual property to attract venture capital, grow entrepreneurial skills and develop a culture of innovation on campus. Our vision is to make Menlo a place where students can come in with ideas and truly develop them in the Silicon Valley ecosystem.

Strategy #4: Strengthening the Community Engagement at Menlo

Menlo College is currently lacking of connections with the community in our area. Creating a new space entirely dedicated to the community involvement would be helpful to increase our impact on the society. The space can contribute in a wide variety of activities dedicate to our community including tutoring for children in the community, and tax assistance through the Menlo Accounting Club. It would be beneficial both for Menlo and for the community. It would create awareness of Menlo College, SERV hours opportunities for the students, networking opportunities and hands on experience for all the students who will be involved. On the other hand, the community would receive an affordable tutoring and tax service and it would motivate children to continue their studies at higher level institutions.


Spring 2017

Watch Me Now: An Oak's Guide to Change

Strategy #1: Creating Space for Creativity

Creating a space for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the Menlo College campus is difficult because of our small size. Menlo College has a little less than 1000 students and already uses up almost all of its space.  That is why we thought of setting up temporary innovation spots outside around campus.

            We would stake out a location on campus and during certain parts of the day, we would set up an outside creative space. We would have a shed nearby that contains chairs, tables, white boards, music speakers, bean bags. We would also have a crate that is full of resources for the students, markers, sticky notes, pens, some days we would bring pizza, fresh fruit, and beverages.

            We feel that a creative space outside, with the trees, fresh air, and something that would offer a new scene rather than be inside, like every classroom, would ignite more creative thinking. 

Strategy #2: Bringing Awareness to On-Campus Resources

Menlo College has a limited of already established, on-campus resources related to entrepreneurship and innovation. However, the resources Menlo currently provides its students with are underutilized. One area students should utilize more is the Oral and Communications center. Next, by adding a specific space for innovation on campus, students will be able to have an area to cultivate their own business ventures. In addition, clubs and other campus organizations can put on events and skill-building workshops in our space for innovation on campus. This will bring students together and excit them to pursue their entrepreneurial visions. Another area of interest could be partnering with the Academic Success Center, where we could organize game night challenges related to acamdeia and have peer tutors as well as other faculy be guest judges.

Strategy #3: Strengthening Curriculum and On-Campus Clubs

Menlo College is currently undergoing a revamp in part of their education curriculum, specifically in regards to the entrepreneurship major. A committee at Menlo is thinking about possibly developing a course at Menlo that would combine aspects of "social innovation" (improving society) and entrepreneurship, with the goal of eventually incorporating it in other classes. One concept that would be covered in this potential "social innovation entrepeneurship" course is using entrepreurship to solve problems with California's affordable housing crisis or climate change. 

Another idea that is being discussed at Menlo is incorporating "themes" into the curriculum to help students find and develop their personal passions with business - if you like technology, you would take "technology entrepreneurship". Another idea is combining some class, so biology would combine with a business course to become "biotechnology" or something. 

Strategy #4: Business Vocabulary and other skills necessary for business

UIF gives us the perfect platform to be able to share what we are about. The fact that Menlo College is located in the heart of Silicon Valley means that we are surrounded by all types of business. Design think is a great tool we have been able to use, and as a group we have identified different areas our campus needs work on. This tool is not only perfect for our campus, but it is also a great skill to take onto the workforce. A way to teach the new vocabulary and skills would be to host annual events and workshops that would enable our students to have a much more in depth and better understanding of what it means to empathize, research, analyze, prototype, and most importantly, will teach students not to be afraid of failure. 

Related Links

Campus Overview

Spring 2018 Fellows:

Sachal Jogi
Esther Funez
Ash Hunt
Ethan Moengchaisong
Brenda Flores-Reyes
JC Maroun
Jonathan Garcia
Lucia Casadei Parlanti

Spring 2017 Fellows:

Jessica Carlson
Russell Perkins
Yasmin Gomez
Max Barnes