Beginning this fall freshman business students will have a chance to exercise their creativity and develop their innovative skills starting with their first class in the fall. The freshman innovation sequence is a series of 3 courses designed to take ideas from business concept to commercialization. The program will give our business students a chance to understand at a very early stage what it takes to develop and implement winning solutions in today’s market. As they complete their Saunders education over subsequent years they will be able to relate the material to the many important experiences they had in the freshman sequence.
Dean Ash Rao challenged faculty to come up with this program when he first came to Saunders two years ago Dean Rao’s main direction to the team was to develop an integrated three course sequence that would begin to teach students business fundamentals while engaging them in the development of their own business ideas. As an overarching goal, the Dean wanted an experience that would be realistic, engaging, and most of all…..fun.
In this quarter students will learn all about the key functional areas within a business. Throughout the quarter students will be working in teams to develop their business concepts. At the end of the quarter students will be prepared to “pitch” their ideas to the Saunders College Venture Board. The best ideas will be carried over to the second course.
This course introduces students to the use of software tools for business analysis. During the second quarter students will start to add detail to their ideas business plan. At the end of quarter 2 students will come before the board again to get approval for their business to carry into the final quarter.
The final course will allow students to take their projects all the way to product launch. The teams will now think through their plans for manufacturing, logistics and distribution while carefully outlining the details of their product launch. Along the way they will be learning about the keys to successful product/service commercialization.
The three course sequence will culminate with business presentations to the RIT faculty, students, and invited guests. It is a chance for students to show off the work they have done during their first year at Saunders. We fully expect some of these ideas to continue forward as part of the business incubator or to be highlighted as part Imagine RIT 2009.
The freshman sequence is a clear signal of the Saunders College continued commitment to innovation in the development and delivery of our educational programs. It promises to be a very exciting year!