Outcomes of Recent Efforts at Rice University to Incorporate Entrepreneurship Concepts into Interdisciplinary Capstone Design

Z. Maria Oden
Bioengineering and Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen
Rice University Houston, Texas 77005-1827
Email: moden@rice.edu

Gary Woods
Electrical and Computational Engineering
Rice University Houston, Texas 77005-1827
Email: gary.woods@rice.edu

Brad Burke
Rice Alliance for Technology Entrepreneurship
Rice University Houston, Texas 77005-1827
Email: bburke@rice.edu

Marcia K. O’Malley
Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Rice University Houston, Texas 77005-1827
Email: omalleym@rice.edu

Thomas Kraft
Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship
Rice University Houston, Texas 77005-1827
Email: Thomas.L.Kraft@rice.edu

Abstract
Many engineering departments use the capstone engineering design experience to introduce students to additional skills that will be required of them in professional practice. Two skills that can help young engineers are the ability to work in interdisciplinary teams and a good understanding of the business implications of their work. Young engineers entering an industry job are likely to be immediately placed into a division or team that is comprised of people from a wide variety of educational backgrounds, including other engineering disciplines and, depending on the industry, individuals with business, marketing, public relations, policy or science backgrounds. While students often leave their undergraduate education with a firm grasp on the fundamentals of engineering, they often have not been trained to consider the business aspects of their work. This paper describes the efforts and early outcomes at Rice University to incorporate entrepreneurship concepts into our interdisciplinary capstone design program.

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