UMSI Entrepreneurship Program details

Justin DeLay (MSI '12) is co-founder of TempoDB, a Chicago startup that builds time series databases to store and analyze massive datastreams. (Photo: Matt Raddick)

Entrepreneurship is creating.  It is innovating, dreaming and executing.  It is solving problems and improving lives.  Entrepreneurs create new ventures to deliver innovative ideas that create social value. Entrepreneurs approach old problems in new ways to revitalize existing institutions.

UMSI’s mission as a school is to create and share knowledge to help people use information – with technology – to build a better world.  When there is a need for world-changing information discoveries, we will be there with innovative, elegant and ethical solutions. 

Entrepreneurship and UMSI belong together.  Indeed, for several years, we have been offering courses, presenting a Google-sponsored speaker series, supporting a student organization, and actively engaging with the full entrepreneurship ecosystem across campus and in tech-friendly Ann Arbor.  A number of our graduates are founders or first-round startup employees.  Over 20% of our students last year are pursuing entrepreneurial careers through co-curricular activities, internships and jobs.

Campus engagement in entrepreneurship education and practice has grown rapidly.  In 2011-12, over 2200 students enrolled in one or more of the 29 courses in the Program in Entrepreneurship. There are over 8 clubs and 18 student-focused activities providing opportunities for funding, mentoring, and collaboration. The university offers the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, the Zell Entrepreneurship and Law Program, and other programs housed in schools and colleges across campus. Some of these activities are designed for students in these units, but many of them are shared and together form one of the most engaging set of entrepreneurial activities and programs on any campus.

In 2013, UMSI launched an expanded commitment to entrepreneurship education for its undergraduate and graduate students. This program is a signature element of our new Bachelor of Science in Information degree, and a key attribute of our Master of Science in Information and our Master of Health Informatics (offered jointly with the School of Public Health). 

Entrepreneurial skills

Being an entrepreneur can mean a lot of things, but for us it means harnessing your passion, recognizing opportunities for innovation, and working to develop real solutions to real problems. Our programming centers on developing these 7 core skills:

  • Discovery - teasing out and articulating the meaningful problems of a specific audience
  • Ideation - thinking critically and creatively about solutions  
  • Validation - testing ideas and making decisions based on data 
  • Persuasion - advocating for their ideas and rallying people around their cause 
  • Negotiation - identifying and negotiating resources needed for success 
  • Leadership - actively participating in the curation of a goal-centered team
  • Adaptation - embracing the risk of transforming an abstract idea into reality as an opportunity to grow and learn