Many global and large firms are facing intense competition in all markets and need to innovate at a faster pace to succeed and remain profitable. In this innovation-based economy, established firms need more of entrepreneurial skills and leadership, on all levels, to accomplish necessary development. With improved entrepreneurial behaviour in established firms, we may see more high-risk with high-reward innovations, and organisations enable to renew their capabilities. Our Corporate Entrepreneurship track, therefore, offers students a chance to be this innovative force within an organisation.
Our Corporate Entrepreneurship track offers students a chance to work with entrepreneurial skills which can handle the large scale of complexities in large firms, to enable innovative new products and services to be developed. Corporate entrepreneurs can be found in all parts and levels of an organisation and are defined as the way these persons are seeking difficult challenges to work with and ways how to manage and find innovative solutions to truly difficult dilemmas.
This track focuses on the role and skills of a corporate entrepreneur. That is to be able to act entrepreneurially, and successfully navigate in a corporate setting. Within this setting, there are rules and processes of a large corporation, that on the one hand offers a large number of resources for innovation and development, but at the same time demands much from the individuals in terms of entrepreneurial skills to succeed.
Entrepreneurial Insider Lab
In order to accomplish the intentions of the Corporate Entrepreneurship track we have organised it as something we call an "Entrepreneurial Leadership Lab". The purpose of the lab is to innovate, to learn and to rethink. In a one year partnership, two students will take on a disruptive innovation project - which a company doesn’t have time or possibility to prioritise - and develop it into a value adding part of your business.
The benefits of the lab are many. Companies get access to Chalmers’ most action-oriented faculty with entrepreneurial and corporate experience. It opens up a chance to try out new ideas and improve the business while getting to know top students from Chalmers. And most importantly, students will learn at a rapid pace.
So far, it has proven to be strategically important projects, but the companies find them hard to drive because there are no people in place to answer the questions and you do not allow to focus on this. Meanwhile, we support coaching, learning modules and workshops on alternative ways of working.
We try to make this both a way to drive more radical projects in the organisation and a different education based on experience about driving innovation and renewal. So far, we have worked with companies from the automotive industry, professional photo equipment, media, garment & fashion, and medical devices to name a few.
Running a project for an entire year
During the first year of the programme, students are involved in attracting corporate partners for the Entrepreneurial Leadership Lab. Before the students go on summer holidays they are paired up and assigned a corporate partner to jointly run entrepreneurial, innovation-related projects in the company's environment. On a regular basis, the students are also expected to be in the school environment for joint reflective and learning sessions.
In connection with writing their Master’s Thesis our students in the Corporate Entrepreneurship track work hands-on in a real and innovative project within an established organisation. There they are able to develop and reflect on entrepreneurial behaviour and skills. In those projects, the students work in close collaboration with management from industry in pursuing the project. The projects run by the students both have a technical and a market dimension and that you really do something. In order to accomplish something, there needs to be action and not only analysis.
By running the project for an entire year it offers the students a lot of learning of how to navigate through different hurdles. The learnings are packed into a Master’s thesis in accordance with academic standards.
A large share of the students from this track will have great possibilities for leading roles and positions in large corporations in all areas. We typically find our graduates within business development and project management where a first position is as part of management trainee programme. We also see that many students have been hired by the partner company they have worked with in order to continue developing the project started during the education.