Preparing for a Career as an Entrepreneur
- Entrepreneurs are creators. They take what they are passionate about and turn it into a business.
Find your passion, determine if there is a viable market for it, and then pursue it. Along the way, don’t hesitate to communicate your passion to others.
- Entrepreneurs crave the independence that comes from being their own boss.
- Entrepreneurs love to build things. They take their projects and scale them into profitable and productive enterprises.
While Hampden-Sydney encourages students to pursue and excel in the academic area which most interests them, an aspiring entrepreneur would do well to consider enrolling in the following courses.
- Theory of Entrepreneurship (Fall)
- Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Social Change (Spring)
- Financial Accounting
- Managerial Accounting
- Classes related to the field that you want to start your company in.
Co- and Extra-Curricular Activities
- Center for Entrepreneurship and Political Economy (CEPE) - Their Entrepreneurship Program provides students the experience, connections, and skills to help them bring their businesses to market. The program identifies students with implementable ideas, provides a successful entrepreneurial mentor, and supplements course work with seminars in the practical aspects of running a business. Students completing the program will gain valuable experience in project implementation as well as the chance to pitch their venture ideas to investors. There are two entrepreneurship sections within the CEPE. The Entrepreneurship section (led by Dr. Justin Isaacs) focuses on experiential learning through an Entrepreneurship Fellows program and by sponsoring an entrepreneurship contest, among other efforts to connect students with alumni mentors. The Social Entrepreneurship section (led by Dr. Gregory Dempster) also emphasizes experiential learning through its Social Entrepreneurship Fellows program and other efforts to connect students with alumni who share their interests.
- Hammer House - Students run a program where they help regional middle-schoolers learn mathematics and other life skills by building a large-scale replica house. They design the regional expansion strategy, lead the builds, obtain corporate sponsorships, and gain invaluable experience in managing the operations of an actual business enterprise.
- Create your own business on campus - Students often meet needs on campus by creating their own business, from power-washing campus buildings to delivering burgers.
- Ferguson Center for Public Speaking - Communication skills are essential to persuading others of the value of your business idea. Hone your pitch here.
- Career Education Workshops - The Career Education and Vocational Reflection Office sponsors workshops and presentations by alumni and friends of the College who have had success founding businesses.
Preparation for Employment
- Decide: do you want to start your own company or learn from an established entrepreneur?
- Develop relationships with mentors through the Hampden-Sydney alumni network and personal contacts.
- Get to know venture capitalists and find someone to fund your venture.
- Hone in on your idea and visualize it as a business.
- Follow thinkers and innovators on Twitter and other social media outlets.
- Read materials on innovative and start-up companies.
- Get hands-on experience and travel.
Entrepreneurship as an academic field is only just emerging, so there are no set path for graduate study.
- Keep in mind that graduate study may not be necessary-go build your business!
- An MBA will give you a thorough education in the fundamentals of running a business. A nontraditional graduate business education such as a one-year MBA from a school like Acton, or a degree more specifically related to your business, may be more appropriate.