Yale University

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Overview

Yale University has long been a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation in science, arts, policy, and business. As stated by Yale President Peter Salovey, one of Yale’s critical ambitions “to provide an unsurpassed campus learning environment that cultivates innovators, leaders, pioneers, creators, and entrepreneurs in all fields and for all sectors of society.”

In response to growing interest of students in entrepreneurship in the past decade, many Yale programs provide the tools necessary to facilitate research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. For example, Yale's engineering department continues to acquire cutting edge technology needed to make the campus a powerhouse in engineering innovation. Yale opened the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID) in 2012 and has continued to invest in its programming and sustainability. Yale School of Management is home to the Program on Entrepreneurship, consisting of faculty, courses, and resources dedicated to students involved in early stage ventures. Providing space and resources to students to create whatever they can imagine is only one part of the equation for empowering innovation.

Entrepreneurship at Yale

The entrepreneurship community at Yale and in broader New Haven is thriving and surprisingly full of resources and capital. The primary challenge for a student at Yale is navigating through an abundance of resources. Recently, Entrepreneurship at Yale has begun to tackle this challenge by developing a user-friendly resource database at https://entrepreneurship.yale.edu/.

In 2017, Yale opened the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (CITY), to serve as a central resource for Yale students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. Operating with the mission “to inspire students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to seek innovative ways to solve real-world problems,” Tsai CITY offers programs for undergraduate and graduate students to foster learning and connections that promote innovation. 

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Entrepreneurship in Academic Classes

Courses that support and facilitate innovation can be found in nearly all of Yale’s academic departments. 

Classes at the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID) take a fresh perspective on what classroom learning can be. At the introductory level, factual knowledge is supplemented with hands-on experimentation and short-term project work in small groups. At the advanced level, students work on long-term projects in teams while professors act more like coaches than sages. Some courses lean more towards engineering, with a focus on working hardware and prototype testing. Others are more innovation-based, with a focus on sound conceptualization and plans for commercialization. Both require a design process infused with creativity and interdisciplinary collaboration to be successful.

A selection of courses below highlights the diversity of academic offerings in which students engage in entrepreneurship, innovation, and/or design:

MENG 489/EENG 481: Mechanical & Electrical Engineering Capstone Design CoursesStudy of the design process, including concept generation, project management, teamwork, detail design, and communication skills. Student teams implement a real-world design project with hardware objectives that can be achieved in a term, and a problem definition that allows room for creative solutions.

ENAS 323: Creativity and New Product DevelopmentAn overview of the stages of product development in a competitive marketplace, with simulation of the process in class. A hands-on approach to creativity and the development process.

ENAS 118: Introduction to Engineering, Innovation, and DesignAn introduction to engineering, innovation, and design process, aimed at freshman. Principles of material selection, stoichiometry, modeling, data acquisition, sensors, rapid prototyping, and elementary microcontroller programming. Types of engineering and the roles engineers play in a wide range of organizations. Lectures are interspersed with practical exercises. Students work in small teams on an engineering/innovation project at the end of the term.

MGT 464: Startup Founders Practicum: The purpose of this course is to provide full-time SOM students with a mechanism to work on their startup ventures for credit, applying principles derived from their other coursework, particularly the integrated core curriculum. Students in this course articulate milestones for their ventures and work with faculty, staff, and mentors to meet those milestones. Generally, the course employs “lean” methodology. Admitted students are given working space in the Honest Tea Entrepreneurial Studies Suite of Yale SOM’s Evans Hall.

Landscape Canvas

The following spreadsheet outlines specific resources that Yale has for furthering entrepenuership and innovation on campus broken down into the following categories:

  • Make it a priority;
  • So, you want to learn more;
  • You want to apply your knowledge to a specific project;
  • You have effectively engaged in I&E;
  • You have fine-tuned your understanding of I&E and reframed your approach to your education and career.

Each of the categories is necessary at different stages of a students path to entrepenuership. Yale has many resources, and this document's goal is to characterize Yale's landscape and identify our strengths and weaknesses. 

To view Yale's landscape canvas, please follow this link

Related Links

Yale University Student Priorities

Chinmay Jaju (2016)

Sarah Graf (2019)

Nitya Kanuri (2019)

Ayushi Shrivastava (2019)

Kira Sze (2019)