Fulbright-RAF Experience

at University of Rochester

By Alma Pentescu (originally published on the Fulbright-Romania Webpage)

Last year a “new chapter of my life” was to be written. As a proud winner of a Fulbright-RAF award, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in the United States of America. As a teaching assistant and marketing Ph.D. at the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu – The Faculty of Economic Sciences, I teach marketing and trade related subjects. However, this opportunity emerged due to the fact that my colleagues and I work on developing entrepreneurship education at our university. Thus, in order to find out more about how an entrepreneurial ecosystem works, how to build one and how to adapt to an ever-changing environment, I went to the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship – University of Rochester, NY.

During my stay in Rochester I did so many interesting things. I took the Upstate New York National Science Foundation I-Corps short course as well as two other courses, spoke with different professors; attended pitching/business plan competitions and various speaker series; been to conferences on entrepreneurship topics; took part at the meetings of Excell Partners, Rochester Angel Network, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council; attended different events (organized by students, alumni or the community), both professional and for leisure. I traveled to New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois and beyond, and have seen several entrepreneurship centers, as well as incredible places. I had a glimpse of the American life by attending different events such as the Clothesline Festival, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s concerts, The Blue & Gold Gala, Thanksgiving and others.

The United States of America are well known for entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship education and research. Being able to learn from such experienced people about how they started their entrepreneurial initiatives, how they’ve grown, what worked for them and what didn’t was a huge opportunity for me and my colleagues (the ones in this program as well as the ones at my university). But it wasn’t just about the things I’ve learnt. The main benefit came from the people I’ve met. Kind and willing to share their knowledge, ideas and experience. Thus, I want to thank all the inspiring people I’ve met thanks to this award and to all the wonderful people who made this opportunity possible. This is not the end of the story, but, hopefully, the beginning of a fruitful collaboration.

Alma Pentescu was one of six Romanian professors in 2017 to receive a Fulbright-RAF research grant to learn about entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester. A Teaching Assistant at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, she is located in the Department of Management, Marketing, and Business Administration. During her time at the U of R, she pursued the project, “Entrepreneurial Education: The Foundation of an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.”