Meet Andrea Barrett, Executive Director of TEAM
Q. What makes TEAM so unique?
A. The Masters of Science in Technical Entrepreneurship and Management program is unique in many ways. TEAM has strong, collaborative partnerships with many on and off campus groups and departments. The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) is an integral part of student course work and project deliverables. TEAM students have the unique option to choose an existing patented technology from OTT and create a business plan for its commercialization. Students can compete for start-up funding from many different sources in the University of Rochester Community, such as the Mark Ain Business Model Competition, the Simon School Student VC Fund, The Technology Development Fund, Rochester Angel Network (RAN), angel investors, and venture capital firms.
The University also has dedicated incubator space for student-created businesses, housed at High Tech Rochester’s Lennox Tech Enterprise Center, a local business incubator.
Another unique aspect of this program is the three semester academic option. Students choosing the extended three-semester option will take a lighter course load during the academic year to allow for a student to pursue local entrepreneurial internships, projects in the Office of Technology Transfer, or further their start-up initiative allowing students to gain valuable work experience over the summer in between the spring and final fall semester.
These initiatives and relationships have created a strong community connection and partnership.
Q. How is TEAM different from a comparable program in technical entrepreneurship and management?
A. TEAM is unique in many ways. TEAM offers students a small, intimate program, where students build strong friendships with one another. TEAM is administered by the Center for Entrepreneurship to enforce the equal partnership of the Hajim School and Simon School. Full time faculty from both schools teach courses and act as advisors to students. Students are also able to utilize the academic, career, and social resources from both schools. Unlink similar programs, the entrepreneurship aspect is heavily integrated into the academics and program. Attending the PreSeed Workshop, writing a full business plan, conducting a technology feasibility study, and doing extensive market research are just a few great opportunities the students get to take part in.
Q. Who would benefit most from TEAM?
A. Our program is great for students who are looking to work collaboratively or who see themselves in a management role in their future. TEAM requires a good deal of group work, networking, and oral presentations. This program is also excellent for those who are interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial venture. The TEAM program provides students with the necessary background and local resources to help them launch their own business.
Q. How can this program help students advance in their careers?
A. TEAM’s curriculum provides students an excellent breadth of knowledge in the core subjects. Those choosing a technical concentration outside of their undergrad major will have the ability to speak three languages, that of their undergraduate major, business, and their technical concentration, making them a unique candidate with a diverse set of skills that most engineers do not possess. With the resources we offer we are able to position students for careers that are at the intersection of business and engineering. Curriculum is very practical in nature. Graduates have excellent teamwork, public speaking, and writing skills.
Q. What advice would you give to students considering TEAM?
A. To think about what academic or extracurricular experiences they enjoyed most during their undergraduate education and see if the TEAM program matches those experiences. Did you enjoy public speaking? Working or leading others? Learning the business side of technology? Similarly, for those who may be in the workplace, it is important to think about where you see yourself and your career in the future. What roles and job titles would you like to strive to achieve? Would you like to work in project management or lead a product design team? Do you see yourself working at the intersection of business and engineering? If an individual has never taken a business course before I’d recommend sitting in on a class or two to see the teaching style of a business professor, the classroom dynamic, and even some assignments. A good deal of the program’s curriculum is entrepreneurially business-focused coursework.
Q. Who teaches the courses?
A. We are very lucky to have such an excellent faculty participating in this program. Our engineering faculty are leaders in research and teaching and can provide the technical expertise needed for graduate level engineering courses. Our business faculty are a diverse set of individuals who have experience in academia and industry. Two faculty members who teach the core curriculum are entrepreneurs themselves and one is the president of our local business incubator, High Tech Rochester.
Q. As the director, what are your priorities for the TEAM program?
A. I strive to ensure students are receiving a top education while having positive experiences both in and out of the classroom. I hope students are learning to effectively collaborate and work with one another while building lasting relationships, and are preparing to be competitive in the market place and pursue a career that interests and inspires them. Lastly, to live up to the University’s motto of Meliora, ever better!