College of Business > News & Events > Q&A with Coleman Chair and Professor Maija Renko on the New MS in Entrepreneurship Program

Q&A with Coleman Chair and Professor Maija Renko on the New MS in Entrepreneurship Program

Maija Renko
Professor and Coleman Chair of Entrepreneurship Maija Renko

A new fully online MS in Entrepreneurship Program is debuting at the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business this fall. What makes this program unique? Read on to learn more from Professor and Coleman Chair of Entrepreneurship Maija Renko, who shares her insights on this exciting new offering at DePaul’s business college and the importance of entrepreneurship in today’s post-pandemic world.

Why is this degree useful for new entrepreneurs?

Our degree provides the tools, knowledge and contacts you need to build your own business, as well as the necessary credentials to enter the workforce as an expert on entrepreneurship. For those looking to change careers into a more entrepreneurial direction, the degree provides the specific knowledge they need to build a business and access relevant resources, such as funding. For employees who want to work in corporations or in startups, our classes provide frameworks and tools that will help them pursue innovation within the companies they work for.

Another practical benefit our students and alumni can enjoy is access to the resources of DePaul’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, which offers a wide range of programming that supports founders in launching and growing businesses. In addition, we have partnerships with other resources outside of DePaul that students can take advantage of to further develop their entrepreneurial skills and ideas.

What's different about the revised MS in Entrepreneurship Program?

There are four main changes we implemented to add more value for students.

First, this program offers the convenience of taking all classes online. One thing we’ve learned from the pandemic is that students can efficiently learn and network in online environments, and that many actually prefer this style of learning that allows them to fit their studies around their busy schedules. Recognizing this, we have decided to offer the MS in Entrepreneurship degree fully online to serve students and their desire for flexibility as best as possible in the "new normal" of the post-pandemic world.

A fully online program means students can take classes wherever it suits them. It also means we are delivering the same high-quality entrepreneurship content using the latest online learning technologies to maximize the unique opportunities that remote learning offers.

Second, students will be studying as part of a cohort. This will allow them to more efficiently network and create close connections, as well as learn from one another’s experiences.

Third, the program features optional residencies – or in-person activities – that will help deepen the connections between students and between students and the entrepreneurship community.

A new entrepreneurship residency class will start the program, and another one will be hosted at the end. Essentially, students who are available and interested in a residency can join us in the heart of Chicago's downtown business district for these two weekends of in-person learning, networking and inspiration. The residencies will include visits to organizations like (Chicago’s entrepreneurship hub and tech incubator) 1871, which DePaul partners with so that our students can access their resources. We have many similar partnerships across the city that we want our students to know about, and the residencies will be great for highlighting these. For the students who cannot make it to the city, we will, of course, provide the residency experience online.

Finally, our program offers mentoring opportunities, which is something I am really excited about. We know that students come to the MS in Entrepreneurship program wanting to learn not only from our faculty, but also directly from entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses. Our new program pairs students one-on-one with mentor entrepreneurs to connect with throughout their time at DePaul. We have an amazing network of mentors that are willing and available to help students succeed, and I think this will add a great new hands-on component to the program.

I also want to note that DePaul’s entrepreneurship programs have earned rankings recognition from the Princeton Review and Poets&Quants, which indicates the high quality of the instruction and experience we provide.

How is the pandemic changing entrepreneurship?

Just like every other area of our lives over the course of the pandemic, entrepreneurship has transitioned more and more to online environments. Regardless of the type of business, all companies today need to have effective online strategies for serving their customers, and this is something that our students will learn about in the program.

It is also interesting to see how the pandemic has really provided a boost for entrepreneurship in the United States. New business registrations during the pandemic have increased significantly compared with registrations pre-pandemic, and while there are many reasons for this, it goes to show how important entrepreneurship is for the economy during times of crisis.

Young people are increasingly turning to entrepreneurship as a way to build the kinds of companies they want to lead, and corporations are looking for entrepreneurial talent to stay innovative and competitive. Now is a great time to learn how to be a part of the entrepreneurship movement!

Learn more about the MS in Entrepreneurship Program