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Student Reflections

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On our last day of class, we ask students to reflect on their key takeaways or lessons learned in this class, as well as how they will incorporate these lessons in the next steps of their career or entrepreneurial journey.  Here are some of their reflections.

"... the possibility to even consider the combination of ethics, environmental sustainability, integrity within a company, and a successful enterprise. Honestly, this was huge, because in this world today, it is hard to feel like this is possible. I have felt enlightened and refreshed with this possibility..."

"This class exposed me, for the first time, to many of the major issues the world faces today. The guest speakers offered an interesting mix of the difficulties in entrepreneurship and raising money for a business while calling on the importance of major global issues like energy, waste, and climate... I walk away from it with a different awareness for purposeful engineering and entrepreneurship.  Two closing take-aways: (1) a mission statement can drive a whole business and a career and (2) companies that impact the globe have a responsibility for it."

"Before taking this course, I was largely unaware that biotech may be on the cusp of critical solutions in the food and consumer goods space... This intersection – how can innovation help us, and how do we set up protections to ensure it doesn’t lead to greater public health harms – is critical as we move forward."

"This class taught me how to identify purposeful companies and consider the multiple dimensions of impact that these companies have. I also learned that there are many ways to have a positive impact on the planet and society, and the important part is applying the skills that you have to a problem that you are passionate about. Perhaps equally important is keeping the mission of an entrepreneurial venture as the driving focus while recognizing what aspects of the problem are beyond the scope of your solution. The global issues that we've discussed in this class are incredibly complex and one company cannot be expected to fix the entire system, but it may be able to fix one piece of the puzzle."

"Personal motivation for change is one of the most compelling and important factors for success in a new purposeful enterprise. Developing a purposeful enterprise whose goals and methods may not necessarily align with traditional capitalist strategies is difficult. We heard anecdotes and histories from several successful entrepreneurs who, at any given point in the development of their enterprise, were by no means guaranteed success. In each of these cases, the personal motivation and drive of the entrepreneur seemed to be by far the most important factor leading to success."

"I appreciated the continual emphasis on using systems thinking and exploring a problem before offering solutions, particularly with respect to technological ideas, where entrepreneurs may feel tempted to apply their technology to solving a problem without first doing this analysis... I look forward to continue using systems thinking and incorporating interdisciplinary perspectives into my career!"