March 5, 2018

Connection and Self-Reflection


The Innovation & Entrepreneurship certificate has been a core part of my Duke experience. During my freshman year, I ended up ruling more majors out than in and searched for a major, minor, or certificate that genuinely sparked my interests and challenged me in the classroom. I chose the I&E certificate because the spirit of innovation truly fascinates me. Innovations have marked crucial evolutionary moments in history, like the creation of Henry Ford’s assembly line, Vannevar Bush’s work founding one the first computers in the form of the Memex, and Mark Zuckerberg’s ideation of virtual communities evident through Facebook. As I studied innovation through the I&E Certificate I became interested in the history of business and decided to major in the History of Economic and Business Cultures. History documents the successes and failures of innovations and entrepreneurs, and so, majoring in the History of Economic and Business Cultures has complimented my work in the I&E Certificate and vice versa. My courses and experiences for the I&E Certificate have showed me that conceptualizing innovation is inherent in understanding history.

Learning how innovations transformed the world in the course, The History of Innovation, demonstrated the direct connection between history and innovation.

Evaluating technologies going to market in the gateway course, Introduction to Technology Commercialization, illuminated the importance of applying industry histories, the Lean Startup Model, customer sentiments, and problem solving while evaluating a company at large.

Interning with Ussie – a social media app startup – I experienced the day-to-day innovative and entrepreneurial culture intrinsic to a startup.

Collaborating with teams in the I&E keystone and capstone, I developed teamwork skills and was able to understand the value of the inner workings of a team or company while studying cases like Dropbox and Rent the Runway and Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale podcast series.

* Working part-time my freshman, sophomore, and junior years at Duke writing social media posts for CEO’s and business executives for a startup called Qnary. The world has virtually transitioned into a digital age and understanding how to communicate in it is crucial.

Through my courses and experiences, I have learned that history and innovation go hand-in-hand. People are constantly innovating and changing the world, impacting industry histories.

The I&E certificate enhanced my development as a student and overall understanding of the many connections all avenues of the business world. It encouraged me to work part time throughout college, intern with a startup, explore my interest in the intersection of technology and finance, become Vice President of a business organization, and more importantly, to never give up. Throughout my years at Duke, I have failed and I have excelled, but I&E showed me that you can never move forward or become a better version of yourself without messing up, recognizing mistakes, and moving on.