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Innovative Master’s of Science Degree in the Works at John Carroll University

John Carroll University empowers students looking to lead inspired lives and change their world for the better. In 2010, JCU launched an entrepreneurship minor. The core of this minor is to enable students to create and pursue their goals and dreams through developing an entrepreneurial mindset. The minor guides students to practice creativity, innovative thinking, and entrepreneurial skills, which they can use to create value for future employers, or to start their own business.

Since the inaugural minor class graduated less than a decade ago, the program has quickly become the most popular minor on campus. Hundreds of undergraduate students have declared or are intending to declare a minor in entrepreneurship this year.

Entrepreneurially-minded graduates had no option to pursue further specialized education at John Carroll University. Dr. Doan Winkel, The John Kahl Sr., Chair in Entrepreneurship, and Dr. Jackie Schmidt, Academic Director of Entrepreneurship, began the process of creating a new one-year Master’s of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MSIE) degree program to fill this gap.

A Program Built on Truly Experiential Learning

The MSIE program will be initially limited to 12 students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree at any institution, and eventually will grow to a cohort of 20 students each year.

Beginning with an innovative three-day bootcamp, the MSIE program will expose students to the skills necessary to identify a big-value idea and to turn that idea into a sustainable reality. Each participant progress through learning experiences that will present them opportunities to network, pitch ideas, learn to fail, collaborate with teammates, locate and interview customers, experiment, build viable prototypes, and pitch their product or prototype at a live demo event. Projects can be an idea for a business, a nonprofit or social venture, or an intrapreneurial project — an idea that applies to a job they currently have or are hoping to gain after graduation.

To bring in experts who can assist students with social ventures, the Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship and the Boler College of Business are launching a new Social Innovators-in-Residence program in the fall of 2019. A total of six social entrepreneurs have agreed to join the program.

Credit :

“The emphasis will be on students experiencing the entire entrepreneurial process, while being mentored by actual entrepreneurs and investors from the JCU Entrepreneurs Association and our new Social Innovators-in-Residence program,” says Winkel.

Student projects resulting from the three-day bootcamp will serve as the primary learning tool for the entirety of the one-year program. Students will iterate on their bootcamp idea while developing it further. The curriculum features courses on failing, innovative thinking, design thinking, case studies, international and ethical issues, and financial planning, among others. Students will navigate the challenges entrepreneurs, innovators, and business owners face and will be matched with entrepreneur mentors who have successfully and unsuccessfully dealt with them.

“Traditional MBA programs focus on giving students a breadth of knowledge instead of going in-depth on specific skills and tools needed to succeed in entrepreneurship,” states Winkel. “This program will allow students to experience innovation and failure in a safe environment while pursuing the development of an idea they created and are passionate about,” he continues.

One of several long-term goals of the program is to develop an accelerator that can provide additional assistance to the young entrepreneurs the MSIE program develops.

Dr. Winkel and Dr. Schmidt developed the format for this new graduate degree through extensive research, curiosity, and conversations with entrepreneurship educators and social innovators around the world, and through the generous support of Boler College of Business Dean Al Miciak and Associate Dean Walter Simmons.

External subject-matter experts and faculty who have overseen the creation and development of JCU’s entrepreneurship program include luminaries in the entrepreneurship education field such as Dr. Jeffrey Stamp, Dr. Rebecca White, Dr. Alex Bruton, Dr. Dianne Welsh, Dr. Jeff Cornwall, and Dr. Heidi Neck.

To learn more about the JCU Master’s of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or any other aspects of John Carroll University’s entrepreneurship program, contact Dr. Doan Winkel at

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