What happens when seven Boler College students walk into a different kind of bschool.
Academics debate whether entrepreneurship can be taught well, if at all.
Two friends and fellow professors of entrepreneurship — Eric Koester (Georgetown University) and Doan Winkel (Boler College of Business) — prefer a different question. What would happen if you asked a college student to take control of their own learning?
What if you used authorship — the creation of a book manuscript — as scaffolding of sorts for young entrepreneurs? Would they harness their impulse to create something from nothing and quickly put it into practice?
Koester created the bschool (book school) program in 2016 on a simple premise: challenge students to discover and demonstrate their purpose through the creation of a book. The bSchool program blends in-class instruction for Georgetown students, and online (synchronous and asynchronous) delivery for others. The two-semester, nine-month program pushes students to complete a manuscript, and hopefully more.
“Research shows that young people who find and act on their purpose thrive,” Koester says. “I realize not everyone wants to start a company — but nearly everyone wants to create something that lets them learn and demonstrate what they care about. So, we asked what if we used the tools of entrepreneurship and replaced “startup” or “company” with a book?”
Winkel has so-far sponsored seven John Carroll University students through the two-semester experience. “The work of researching, writing and project managing the book gives the students autonomy,” he says. “They decide what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. In the process, they rediscover their love of learning.”
Lauren Ogurek, ’20, wanted to learn how employees and people generally manage emotions and stress as part of a larger wellness plan. She’s working in HR for Kelly Services and eventually wants to start a corporate wellness company. “It’s unlike any other college course,” Ogurek says. “You put nearly a year into the project and without much structure. You worry less about pleasing a teacher and more about managing your time. I learned to become more comfortable with being completely who I am and who I want to be,” she adds.
“This class pushes you outside of your comfort zone. It has been a great learning and growing experience.”