The I&E certificate was a central tenet to my undergraduate education experience at Duke University. Through the program and its mix of experiential and classroom-based learning, I was able to gain many key insights into the workings, techniques, and mindset of innovation and entrepreneurship.
For example, in my engineering innovation class, I learned many methods of ideation, mixing technical design with creativity, and executed the complete engineering design process including writing an in depth technical design document, a skill which I continue to build upon when I worked my first and second summer experiences.
In my keystone class, diving into the case studies of startups and their challenges, innovations, and strategies helped me gain a new perspective on how entrepreneurs lead and develop their ventures, and will perhaps inspire me one day to launch a venture of my own.
In the capstone class, the opportunity to work hands-on with a client who was passionate about their product and readily gave feedback helped me learn a lot about client-focused thinking and how that might apply in various contexts.
When I entered the certificate program, I was fully committed to technical innovation, and nothing else. However, picking up a finance minor along the way as well as taking classes across multiple disciplines made me realize the value of a holistic picture of innovation and entrepreneurship and the various considerations that go into each initiative launched, whether that be one within an organization or and independently launched venture. I’m excited to use the skills in my coming roles and maybe as a founder myself one day!