Undergraduates Learn Entrepreneurship Through Authorship

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How does a student land his or her dream job in today’s world? How can an aspiring entrepreneur launch a new product or service? An innovative new class at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business developed a radical way for entrepreneurship students to stand out: write a book.

“People say you can’t ‘teach’ entrepreneurship,” said Eric Koester, adjunct professor and entrepreneur-in-residence, “so I decided to create a course to experience entrepreneurship first-hand by creating a book that would demonstrate the student’s purpose. And the crazy thing was, it actually worked.”

During the fall 2016 semester, 32 Georgetown undergraduate students completed a course, Signal Class, which took them on a journey to discover their passion and purpose and to build up their knowledge by creating a manuscript for a book. [Watch a video of the students reflecting on the course.] Relying on proven startup methodologies including ideation, customer discovery, hypothesis testing, marketing, and operations, the students created a book much like someone would create a startup company. Students also connected with a network of mentors, editors, and professionals to develop the insights, stories, and lessons that made up their books.

Koester’s original aim was to use the book primarily as a teaching device, but he was so impressed by the results of the initial manuscripts submitted that he decided to rethink their next steps.

“These initial manuscripts I received during finals in December were so good, I knew that we had to find a way for more people to read them than just me,” he said.

As a result, he shared them with Lioncrest Publishing in Texas. Together, they created New Degree Press, a new publishing imprint to publish 15 of the best works, including creating cover designs, interior layout, and advising on the books’ direction. Those 15 students continued to work with Koester and Lioncrest Publishing throughout the spring semester and have become published authors. More than that, their books also have unlocked new job opportunities, consulting businesses, product launches, and much more. 

New Degree Press has published these 15 books, which are now available on Amazon as either a paperback or eBook. Nearly every one has reached best-seller status for the eBook edition.

“Georgetown University has empowered an innovative approach to teaching entrepreneurship,” said Koester. “It’s incredible to see these students have a book in their hands as a tangible work product that already is helping them to land their dream job, launch a new product or service, or simply create new opportunities.”

More information about purchasing the books can be found on the course website