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Developing Skills for the Real World

Entrepreneurship Means More Than Start-Ups

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was predicted that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 hadn’t been invented yet. As the need for innovation continues to accelerate, organizations need people to help them act faster, work smarter and create change from within.

As trained innovators and problem solvers, entrepreneurship majors are uniquely positioned for an ever-changing job market. While starting a business remains a choice, many graduates choose to be intrapreneurs - entrepreneurs and innovators within existing organizations.

An entrepreneurship education teaches students to create and test new business ideas and operate as an owner, as well as networking and persuasion skills they can use across any job function within a company.


Intrapreneurship is ranked the highest in-demand skill of 2020 (Global recruitment firm Michael Page)


of HR leaders admit their workforce lacks top soft skills such as creative problem solving and the ability to deal with ambiguity (McKinsey & Company)


of executive leaders identify innovation as a crucial factor in their growth strategies (McKinsey & Company)

Skills Gained with an Entrepreneurship Degree

Students need core competencies like critical thinking, empathy, problem-solving, and adaptability to excel as corporate intrapreneurs. An entrepreneurship degree equips them to be:

  • Self-confident - They're not afraid to explore unchartered territories, take risks and make difficult decisions. Their confidence helps break the mold and share their ideas.
  • Personally resilient – They recover quickly from a mistake or setback. Customers, teammates, and others aren't negatively affected by the breakdown, and the project continues to move forward.
  • Problem-solvers – They learn to be creative thinkers and opportunity-seekers. They work through problems iteratively: attacking from multiple angles and challenging assumptions.
  • Innovative leaders – They help their company embrace innovation, accelerate transformation and replace old ways of thinking. They're adept at identifying gaps and aligning the organization, so it performs better.

Many entrepreneurship graduates have taken an "intrapreneurial" route in their careers. With their degree and skillset, they're able to fit in – and add value – anywhere.

Grit, Resiliency, and Drive

Given the challenges that companies tackle every day, grit is vital for success. It's a self-belief that drives a person forward through setbacks and failures.

Grace Northamer '22 is a rising junior at St. Thomas who recently received an offer for a summer internship from Boston Consulting Group, a prestigious management consulting firm.

What do you love about being an entrepreneurship major?

"The entrepreneurship program at St. Thomas does a great job of teaching students the intangible skills of grit, resiliency, and drive that can be applied to other disciplines.

Entrepreneurship is the only discipline with 'failing' written into the curriculum. I think that's the coolest thing. Grit isn't often embedded into a degree. But dusting yourself off, learning, and adapting helps you stand out from any other job candidates.

The interview process for BCG was very intense. I worked one-on-one with one of my professors all summer to prepare. We practiced two to four hours a week solving business case studies. I also learned the importance of communication and persuasion. He gave me pointers on body language and how to convey myself as a critical thinker.

Those sessions shaped who I became as a candidate. I went from feeling insecure and anxious about my skills to walking into the interview with my whole self: as a professional business analyst.

I love to think about how I can make something better. The innovative mindset, being comfortable with failure, failing fast, learning and moving on – I love that."

I love the grit and determination of an entrepreneurship degree.

Grace Northamer

Grace Northamer ‘22

  • Summer Associate at Boston Consulting Group

Creative Problem-Solving

Companies want students and graduates who think like entrepreneurs. People who can identify and evaluate new opportunities in the workplace. To shake up the old way of doing things.

Kristian Schow '22 is a Channel Development Specialist at Jamf, an Apple Enterprise software company in Minneapolis. He works with the Channel Sales Operations Team to help them utilize reseller partnerships more effectively.

As an intern, his manager gave him free rein to improve an account mapping process. The current way was monotonous and took a week to sift through the raw data. Kristian figured out a way to optimize the process and cut work time down significantly.

What led you to pursue an entrepreneurship degree?

"I never wanted to start or run my own business and always struggled to come up with ideas in class. My academic advisor introduced me to the concept of being an intrapreneur. She said if I'm willing to run with an idea, there's always an opportunity to do that within organizations.

I'm now able to go into any job interview and say: "I've done finance. I've done marketing. I've done sales. I've done pitch presentations. Here are all the ways I can help your organization."

People don't realize an entrepreneurship degree makes you very marketable. It's taught me how to cut out all the unnecessary stuff. I'm now able to step back and figure out how to get things done faster without expelling 120% of my effort."

The Schulze School taught me how to think like an entrepreneur within a company.

Kristian Schow

Kristian Schow ‘22

  • Channel Development Specialist at Jamf

Critical Thinking

On a fast-paced team, projects and priorities can shift by the day. Staying entrepreneurial help makes a fast-paced job more manageable and improve performance.

Eric Martin '19 works at Ryan Companies on a real estate development team specializing in Senior Living. He underwrites new markets, evaluates potential sites, creates initial project proforma, and assists in closing. Together with his team, he prepares and presents pursuit/deal approval packages to Ryan's internal investment committee.

How has an entrepreneurship degree prepared you for the real world?

"Real estate is a broad, diverse field. The first few years have been like drinking from a firehouse. Senior Living is unique because our models are heavily reliant on the operations. Our projects' value tends to range from $40M to $100M. I deal with a lot of moving parts at once - every day is different than the next. Being able to think critically and creatively is a must in my role.

My entrepreneurship education taught me to consider multiple data points and connect the dots within my field. I see tangible results of these skills in the underwriting of our deals and the matrices we present to our investment committees.

Pitch competitions and classes gave me safe learning opportunities to scrape my knees. I made a lot of mistakes as a student - like how I pitched business ideas or underwrote my first financial plan. But they were also learning opportunities because now I know what to do in the real world."

The Schulze School taught me valuable skills that are scalable for my entire career.

Eric Martin

Eric Martin '19

  • Development Associate at Ryan Companies US, Inc

Building Relationships

Student entrepreneurs quickly learn to get comfortable presenting in front of people. Being a confident and clear communicator helps build relationships and your reputation at work. One way to practice this skill is to participate in a pitch competition, such as the Fowler Business Concept Challenge.

Kara Gamelin '15 is a UX Design Researcher at U.S. Bank. In her role, she collects and analyzes customer feedback that informs the product design process. Kara typically works with many groups at the bank and helps to form their early concepts. One project she recently helped with was the U.S. Bank Smart Assistant - a ground-breaking design in voice technology for mobile app users. Kara paired with fellow St. Thomas alumnus, Kim Herrema Ed.D. '17, to help flush out the early concept of the Smart Assistant.

How have you grown in your role as a corporate intrapreneur in U.S. Bank?

"As an entrepreneurship major, I did many user interviews, empathy exercises, and pitched business ideas. Those experiences helped me grow in my role as a UX Design Researcher.

A lot of my work is talking to customers day-in-and-day-out. To be successful at my job, I need to be able to set that trust to really dig into personal questions. Money is a personal topic, and customers need to be able to trust me.

Thanks to my experiences at the Schulze School, I'm able to get comfortable with them quickly and set the comfort level - which isn't easy to do.

I also feel more fearless talking with upper-level leaders. When you're pitching to investors in a boardroom, you have to be prepared to stand your ground and back yourself up."

The Fowler Business Concept Challenge was a great way to help me think on my feet.

Kara Gamelin

Kara Gamelin '15

  • UX Design Researcher at U.S. Bank

Communicating Confidently

Presentations are common in the workplace. Knowing how to plan and deliver yourself well is a critical skill to articulate a point of view, share a proposal, or offer a solution.

Bri Herdering '19 works on the U.S. Bank Innovation Team as a product manager. She works in the intersection of finance and technology, focusing on open banking and emerging trends, as well as strategic partnerships with financial startups.

How has an entrepreneurship degree helped you grow professionally?

"The Schulze School helped me learn how to think outside the box and approach problems from a variety of perspectives. I use these skills regularly when collaborating and ideating with my coworkers. As a student, I had to do multiple presentations in front of classmates, professors, and guest speakers. The building blocks of thinking on my feet and answering difficult questions are ones I use on a daily basis.

During my two years at U.S. Bank, I've presented to groups of 500 people or more. Thanks to the Schulze School, I always feel prepared and confident."

By working in corporate innovation, you're helping drive change across a large business in a tangible way.

Bri Herdering

Bri Herdering ‘19

  • Innovation Product Development Officer at U.S. Bank
Two individuals reviewing data.

Sample Coursework

  • Entrepreneurial Strategy
  • Fundamentals of Innovation
  • Entrepreneurial Marketing and Human Centered Design
  • Entrepreneurial Finance and Venture Funding
  • Creativity and Change
  • Entrepreneurship in Practice
  • Strategic Communication and Change
  • Working Skillfully in Organizations

About the Schulze School

The Schulze School at the University of St. Thomas cultivates the next generation of entrepreneurial problem solvers and innovators. The school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in entrepreneurship and corporate innovation, as well as community resources to support new ventures, family businesses and corporate entrepreneurs.

For the second year in a row, the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship is the #1 ranked school in Minnesota by the Princeton Review. They also rank among the nation's top three Catholic universities and colleges for students studying entrepreneurship.