ASU entrepreneurship class runs students through the real hassles of operating a business

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Facebook, Dell, Microsoft, Google: Many household names got their start in college dorm rooms.

While most college entrepreneurs start these businesses in addition to their studies, Arizona State University has a course designed to bring entrepreneurship into the classroom.

Entrepreneurship and Value Creation is a class designed to give students hands-on experience while building a business of their own, according Eli Chmouni, one of the instructors of the class.

“The point of the class is to help students go from an idea to an actual operating business,” he says.

Chmouni says the course is actually two classes in one: one section is for students in the W.P. Carey School of Business and is called MGT 360, the other, titled FSE 301, is for students in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.
Both sections of the course are taught by the same time by the same instructor as a way to bring engineering students and business students together.

Chmouni says that while he was a student at ASU, he took FSE 301 and disliked how theoretical the class was, so he decided to make the class more practical.

“When I was offered to teach the class, I decided I wanted to teach it differently,” he says.

While students are enrolled in MGT 360 or FSE 301, they are required come up with a business idea, form a team, do market research, create a prototype of the product, build a website and make a sale by the end of the semester.

Chmouni says many of his students have successfully sold their products before the end of the semester.

“I’ve had a team that’s already sold 12 products,” he says.

Two of the teams in Chmouni’s section of MGT 360 and FSE 301 were finalists in ASU’s Sun Devil Igniter Challenge, an entrepreneurship competition hosted by the W.P. Carey School of Business.

There are five finalists selected, and each finalist is given 5000 dollars to enhance their idea. The teams then compete for a grand prize of 50000 dollars by pitching their idea in an event called the Spark Tank Competition. The Spark Tank Competition is set to take place on February 5, 2015.

Twenty-five-year-old business communication and entrepreneurship senior, Sergei Isparyan, one of Chmouni’s students, says he enjoys the real-world applications of the course, despite its fast pace and demanding workload.
“I completely understand, because in the real world if you don’t meet a deadline, you’re screwed,” he says.

Isparyan says that if students want to succeed in MGT 360 or FSE 301, they need to be passionate about their idea.
“If you don’t have passion, you’ll fail,” he says. “You might as well close up shop now.”

Sergei’s business partner, Yuriy Isparyan, a freshman computer science engineering major, 18, says he also appreciates the team-building aspect of the course.

“I think it’s practical and applicable,” he says. “It makes you use all your skills together.”

Yuriy says that even though he’s not currently enrolled in the class, he will probably take it in the future.
“I’ve liked entrepreneurship before, and I like working in teams,” he says.

Yuriy says that MGT 360 is one of many resources ASU provides for entrepreneurs, such as volunteer mentors, discounted legal assistance and various entrepreneurial clubs.

“I am really impressed by the entrepreneurship opportunities that ASU offers and I’m surprised they don’t advertise it more,” he says.

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