Feature Stories

MS in Enterprise Development - New Graduate Degree for Fall 2008

MS in Enterprise Development - New Graduate Degree for Fall 2008

If you are the kind of person who either wants to start your own business or bring about change within an existing business, NJIT has a new program you might consider.

In the fall of 2008, the School of Management at NJIT will offer a master’s degree in Enterprise Development. The program is ideally suited for well educated and experienced employees who have a desire to rethink their careers. It’s for those who have a passion for either initiating a new business or implementing new ideas and products within an already established business.

In the below interview, Associate Professor Annaleena Parhankangas, who teaches enterprise development at the School of Management, discusses the new degree.

Parhankangas is a professor whose teaching and research personifies the progressive nature of this new master’s program. She has an international and cosmopolitan background. Born in Finland, she has worked there and in Sweden. Here in America, she has taught at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as well as at the Wharton School of Business. Her research focuses on how the business models of various countries lead to innovation. She’s especially interested in how newly launched technology-based companies affect the overall direction and pace of technological development.


How will the master’s in enterprise development differ from the undergraduate program?
There will be fewer requirements and more emphasis on having the master’s students work with companies on real-life projects. NJIT, for instance, runs a business incubator that helps small innovative companies get started. Our students will partner with those firms and get credit for helping them design and develop new products, processes or business models. The students, for instance, may also help these firms with their market expansion projects, both here and abroad. The students will also have the chance to work with large corporations in similar business-development projects. The focus will be on having our students do projects that will change the companies they work for – make them more progressive.

Can you define enterprise development?
Enterprise development can be anything from the creation of new enterprises to the redevelopment of existing enterprises. The key is that it relies on ideas about innovative product development that serves human needs. This can include building a new firm to producing and distributing, say, creative websites. It can also include the creation of a new product line for a major corporation.

Enterprise development, in your view, often means “doing well by doing good.” Can you explain that phrase?
It’s a phrase that I’ve heard many CEOs utter. More and more people these days want to work for companies that make the world a better place. This is yet another reason for companies to adopt more socially responsible business models. Nokia, for example, is developing a cell phone that can be used by millions of illiterate people in developing countries. But obviously the phone must operate by images and audio, not words. And in such a project hard problems must be solved: How do you market the phone to far off villages? And how do you price the phone so that poor people can afford it? The making of such a phone is socially beneficial work that helps poor people. And those people are now on their way to becoming middle class. And when they do become middle class, they will never forget Nokia.

So you are looking for students who want to create something new?
We want students who will act as change agents -- or creative innovators --  in organizations they work for. This may involve working in or establishing a new firm, or improving an existing organization. This program is for those students interested in enterprise development, with an emphasis on teaching socially responsible yet innovative ways to do business. Students who graduate from this program will be the leaders in seeking out a world of new products that will meet and redefine the human needs of the 21st century.

What backgrounds should students interested in the program have?
Enterprise development at the graduate level is a science-based degree for those who already have either a degree or extensive experience in the general principals of business management. It is for educated or experienced employees who have a strong desire to rethink their careers; it is for those who have a passion for either initiating a new business or implementing a new idea within an existing organization.

What classes will be offered?
We will offer courses in new venture management, new venture finance, corporate venturing and project-based enterprise development. In addition, we will offer courses that help students develop and improve various functions of an organization, such as product development, manufacturing, marketing and human resources.

What kind of jobs will graduates get?
For these graduates the central question shifts from what kind of job they will get to what kind of jobs their ideas and actions will create for others. Enterprise development is a process that brings people, opportunities and resources together in innovative ways to create value for customers, shareholders and society as a whole.

Enterprise development encompasses two types of careers – the entrepreneur and what is known as the intrapreneur. The first starts and runs a new business, while the second works to develop existing corporations. Entrepreneurs generally begin as small business owners or self-employed professionals. They can be franchise owners, consultants, agents or brokers, builders or developers, manufacturers, wholesalers or venture capitalists. Intrapreneurs can occupy virtually any position in an existing organization, but they all have this trait on common: They demonstrate a change-oriented approach to problem solving and business, much more so than those who want stable and secure careers.

(by Robert Florida, University Web Services)