In Episode 53 of the CSUSB Advising Podcast, Matt Markin chats with Dr. Michael Stull, Professor and Director for the School of Entrepreneurship at Cal State San Bernardino, as well as the Director for the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship. What do you learn in Entrepreneurship courses? Why should you consider majoring in Entrepreneurship? What career options are there? Find out in this episode!
Visit the School of Entrepreneurship website!
Subscribe to the CSUSB Advising Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google and more!
Follow us on social media:
Instagram & Tik Tok - @csusbadvising
Facebook - CSUSB Advising
Twitter - @csusb_advising
YouTube - @csusbadvising
#acadv #academicadvising #collegemajors #csusb #calstate #highereducation
Subscribe to the CSUSB Advising Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google and more!
Follow us on social media:
Instagram & Tik Tok - @csusbadvising
Facebook - CSUSB Advising
Twitter - @csusb_advising
YouTube - @csusbadvising
Welcome back to the CSUSB advising podcast. My name is Matt Markin, and academic advisor here at Cal State San Bernardino. And on today's episode, we're going to learn more about the bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship. And to learn more about this, let's let's welcome to the podcast, Dr. Michael Stull, Professor and Director for the School of Entrepreneurship as well as the Director for the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship. Dr. Stull, welcome.
Hey, Matt. It's great to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Thanks for come. And and can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your path in higher ed and being at CSUSB?
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I got my start at CSUSB as an undergrad student a long time ago, back in the 80s. And got both my bachelor's and my master's degree from Cal State San Bernardino. Went off as an entrepreneur and then ultimately got involved in business consulting and economic development in the late 90s, early 2000s. And at that time, I got reconnected to the campus as an alumni with some of the faculty that I worked with when I was a student. They were in the process of creating the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at Cal State San Bernardino. And they asked me to be a part of the initial board of advisors for the center. And so I got acquainted reacquainted with the campus got re involved. And fast forward a couple of years later, they were looking for somebody to take on a leadership role in the center and try and get it to achieve its goals and kind of scale up and grow and I offhandedly said, I might be interested, and they took me up on the offer and that was in 2002. And I have been at Cal State ever since as the Director of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship. And then when we created the School of Entrepreneurship in fall of 2020, I moved over and became the director of the school as well, so I have a dual role.
And can you tell us a little about like, how would you describe entrepreneurship and the degree at Cal State San Bernardino?
Sure. Yeah. You know, for us, we lean heavily on a definition that actually comes out from a professor that spent many years at Harvard University. And his definition of entrepreneurship was the pursuit of opportunity, without regard to resources control. And why we love that definition is it talks about opportunity, going after opportunity, pursuing opportunity, seeing opportunity in front of you to create something new, whether you have the resources or not. And the other thing that we love about that definition of entrepreneurship is that it doesn't say you have to start a business. In other words, never says it. Results in a for profit business. You can pursue opportunity in any domain, any setting. It can be a social enterprise, it could be a new initiative, a new venture within a larger organization. Certainly what I do here at Cal State San Bernardino fits the definition of entrepreneurship, of building the programs to where they're at today is by pursuing opportunities, whether we have the resources or not. And you know, so we like to think that entrepreneurship is about pursuing opportunities, no matter what career pathway you have, whether you're starting a business working in a corporate field, working in the government sector, working in the in a nonprofit, you can be entrepreneurial. And and a lot of a lot of this is focused on the entrepreneurial mindset and the competencies that you need to be able to bring things to life.
All right. And aside from like, the bachelor's degree, do you also offer any minors or certificates?
Yeah, we have one of the you know, as far as higher education, we have one of the most robust academic offerings in entrepreneurship that you'll find at any university. I would put us you know, near the top in terms of the just the breadth and depth of the offerings we have, we have the Bachelors of Arts in administration in the Jack H Brown College with the entrepreneurship concentration. We have the minor in entrepreneurship, which is available to any student on campus. We have also at the undergraduate level, we have an entrepreneurship concentration in the liberal arts degree. We have in collaboration with the College of Arts and Letters, we have a minor in an in the arts and humanities, entrepreneurship in the arts and humanities. We are launching in fall 2023 a collaborative with the College of Natural Sciences and entrepreneurship in the sciences degree. We have a certificate in arts and entrepreneurship. You know, so, we and we have in the College of Education, we have the Career Technical Studies has an entrepreneurship concentration that we do for them. So it's a you know, that's just at the undergraduate level. At the graduate level. We have a master's in business administration MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship. And then we have a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship and innovation one of only four such programs in the state of California, one of about less than 40 in the world, and the only CSU that has a dedicated Master's degree in Entrepreneurship and innovation. And I would also add on top of that, in addition to this, the breadth of the offerings that we have, we offer a course, in the general education curriculum GE, Category E. So it's part of the freshman foundation seminar. It's called Exploring the entrepreneurial mindset, Admin 1001. So any student, you know, on campus, in fact, 90% of students that take that course, are not entrepreneurship students. So really, really broad diverse offerings, and then layer right on top of that, our programs are globally recognized. We've had multitude of rankings through the years, our most recent is we are among the top 50 graduate programs and entrepreneurship globally and number eight in the West. So really excited about all the accolades our programs gotten.
I don't know absolutely. And it connects to a lot of the different academic colleges, the GE majors, so yeah, all over.
Yeah, we really view entrepreneurship as not just about business, although we're located in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, entrepreneurship can be found in any endeavor, any field. And thus, that's why we've sought to collaborate and work with as many of the colleges on campus as possible. And, you know, even to the point where in our curriculum in our required curriculum for our both our undergraduate and our graduate students, we have a course on improvisation and creativity that's taught in collaboration with our theatre arts department on campus. So, you know, we just we view the entire campus as a huge sort of sandbox in which to play and collaborate, and generate new ideas and try and, you know, spread the idea that the entrepreneurial mindset can be applied in any career pathway, any discipline, because it is ultimately about innovation, creating new things, pursuing opportunities. And we think that's how, you know, that's how we ultimately change the way we live, work, and play.
I guess connected to that, you know, students might be interested in, let's say, doing, maybe the business administration major, but with the concentration entrepreneurship. What can you talk about with those classes? what students are learning?
Right. So it's a great question. And, you know, one of the comments we get often from students that take our courses, let's say, you know, that's the other thing. You know, in the Jack H. Brown College, we have a course in what's called the, the upper division core for all that all students take. And it's one of the, what we call a core elective, and they can take the entrepreneurship course, one of our introductory entrepreneurship courses satisfy that requirement. And so thus, we get a lot of students from Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and Information Sciences, and Cybersecurity and Supply Chain Management, Public Administration from our college, taking that class, and even students from outside the college, that take the course and one of the first things they they comment on is how different our classes are from all the other classes they take. And the big reason why is multiple reasons, but they're experiential. So there's a lot of interactive learning, a lot of doing things, not just sitting there. We don't lecture generally, what we do is we have activities, we have experiences, we have a lot of discussion, you know, so we often say to our students that, you know, our mantra for the program is think like an owner, you have to come in and take ownership of your, your learning experience, you have to take ownership of your experience in the classroom, which means you have to come ready and prepared to engage, get out of your comfort zone, you know, do those types of things. I teach a creativity and problem solving course. And so the students will come in and you know, all of a sudden, they're doing stuff not just sitting in their seats, we may show up to class session and I may say drop all your stuff. You're going to take the next 45 minutes walking around the campus, and you're going to talk to as many people about what's bothering them right now. What problems do they have? Let's because we're talking about ideation. How do you come up with ideas for for new ventures and how do you solve problems? So it really is, those courses are designed to be unique. We have a unique pedagogy, we don't have textbooks. There may be some books, we use practitioner books, but we curate each course and the nice thing is those courses evolve each year, as new learning comes in as new materials come in. And so we're never wedded to a textbook. You know, it's all about growing and evolving, which is exactly what entrepreneurship is. So students, when they come into the class, they're going to think like an owner. They're going to be and we teach around 13 specific competencies that we have research has shown is instrumental in being a successful entrepreneur, or being entrepreneurial and applying the entrepreneur mindset and a huge part of what we do is getting students to just start thinking like, entrepreneurs and not like students and not like employees.
And I guess a question to that that will come up but we get from students is the career question. And I'm sure like with you being at CSUSB, and working with so many students over the years, can you talk about maybe some of the career areas that you've seen some of your graduates go into?
Yeah, it's all over the place. And, you know, legitimately, everybody's concerned about that. Generally speaking, right? If you're an entrepreneurship student, you know, one of the probably the most prevalent career pathway that you're gonna follow, is to create your own venture to be a business owner. That's really ultimately, what most entrepreneurship programs are seeking to prepare students to do you know that within five years after graduation, they'll have launched a new venture. Generally speaking, those of us in the entrepreneurship education field, use the benchmark of about 20%. Of 20% of our graduates start at one or more ventures within five years after graduation, that's a we've, we've done a good job. At Cal State San Bernardino, our last alumni survey from late 2022, 42% of our graduates had started one or more businesses since graduating. So we're about well above kind of the benchmark for our field. But as I always say, even if you have 42%, that means 58% of your students didn't start a business. So what did they do? They went into, you know, corporate position, a management position. They went into business consulting, they went into the public sector. They may have gone into the nonprofit sector. So there are students are doing all these different things, many of them report back to us. You know, I had multiple students in the last survey that said, reached out to me on LinkedIn after they took the survey to give me an update and said, Hey, I'm working for Amazon now. And I'm in charge of all these new initiatives, so I'm an intrapreneur. I'm an entrepreneur within the corporation. Or in the case of Christopher Earle, one of the graduates of one of our entrepreneurship programs. You know, he went into business consulting, and then he was running, he was helping run a consulting organization. And then he pivoted and went to work for the State of California, in the California Office of the small business advocate, and now he's the assistant director. In that office. Marquis, Jackson went into consulting, Junya Griffin went into work for NASA as a technology transfer specialist helping them transition, emerging technologies in the marketplace. You know, they do all these kinds of really interesting work as well as start businesses, you know, so that's the cool thing is we get a nice diversity of those experiences. They've gone into banking, they've gone into finance, they've gone into all these different fields. The one common element is the ones that we talked to you and stay connected with all say, I'm using what I learned in the program, and it's helping me advance in my career, it's making me stand out as one of our students, former captain of the basketball team said, you know, he really wanted to start a business when he graduated. But he said, I've been playing sports, my entire life, and I've never really had a chance to have a real job. I want to get a real job, get some experience before I started my business. And I thought, that's great. About a year later, he, he hit me up on LinkedIn. I saw his he'd gotten promoted. And I sent him a little congratulatory note, hey, you know, congrats on the promotion, he messaged me back and said, This is my third promotion in a year. He said, it's because I'm applying everything I learned in the program. And I'm standing out from everybody else, because I think like an owner, and I'm adding value in ways that other people aren't. So applying that mindset. And seeing how our students go into these diverse fields is really, really cool.
Yeah, and let's say someone's listen to this, and the students thinking, You know what, this sounds very interesting. Maybe I'm interested in maybe wanting to declare this as my major, maybe as a minor. But maybe they're on the fence of declaring that. Do you have any suggestions for that? Student?
Yeah. I mean, well, one is just like, come talk, you know, come spend some time with us. You know, kind of talk to us. People have said they, they think I'm pretty passionate about you know, entrepreneurship, and I love it. I mean, I want I love Cal State San Bernardino. I was a student here. You know, Cal State, San Bernardino really gave me a solid foundation to kind of go off and be a professional. The only thing it didn't have, when I was here was it didn't have an entrepreneurship program. That's what I wanted to do. And it didn't have it. So, I had to learn entrepreneurship the hard way, which is not the way you want to do it. So you know, and that's an I'm one of, you know, an entire team of students or faculty in the School of entrepreneurship. You know, we've been teaching entrepreneurship since 2000, here at Cal State San Bernardino, and we grew the program over time. We really facilitated the program through the Center for Entrepreneurship. But when we got to a certain size and scale, and we've kind of wanted to get to the next level, we said, we got to create our own school of entrepreneurship. And we did that took us four years to do it, but we got it started in fall 2020. So sometimes people think we're new, the school is new, but entrepreneurship has been, you know, 20 plus years, 23 years now here at Cal State San Bernardino. So we've got a really talented group of faculty. They're all passionate about entrepreneurship. They're all entrepreneurs, they've all had entrepreneurial experience. And, you know, there I'll highlight, you know, one of our faculty is Zeke Bonillas, was a student here, undergraduate, graduate student at Cal State, San Bernardino, started his own business when he was in high school. And, you know, went out into the work world, worked in banking, business consulting, got involved in economic development as the Director of Economic Development for a Native American tribe. And then came back and started teaching for us went back and got his doctorate. And now as a full time faculty member here. He was an ASI President when he was here. So now he's here giving back you know, the cycle kind of goes full, full circle, which is really, really cool. So come talk to us, you know, check out our talk to our faculty. Talk to me. Even students that have said, I'm not sure if I want to do this. I've said, come visit class, come spend an hour with us, you can come in and drop into a class we'll arrange it you can come into my classroom come into Professor Abbott's class Professor law class, Professor Bonilla says class, whatever. Or talk to Stacy, you know, if I'm not here, Stacy Ellis, here in the office, we all are very passionate about the program, you can check out our website at entre entre.csusb.edu. Chock full of information. Follow us on you know, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, that kind of stuff will give you the lowdown. And, you know, most of the time when students come in, I have to tell you, most of the time when they come in, they walk out, you know, committed to entrepreneurship, because I think, you know, one of the things that I always want to be a part of is something that's growing and evolving, and people are excited to be a part of it. And I think that's consistent throughout the school of entrepreneurship. And the Center for Entrepreneurship is that we're super excited about what we're doing. And we see it as a really important, really important thing that we're working on.
Yeah, and I will say your website does stand out compared to a lot of other ones, especially the faculty page, because with the usually this like the standard headshot, right? Yeah. All the faculty are doing some sort of pose.
Yeah, yeah, we try and make fun, you know, creative and entrepreneurial. And we've got a great YouTube channel, you know, where we post a lot of materials. There's a great video, it's called our five reasons video. We did it actually, during the pandemic, which was a challenge, and the campus only let me come on campus to do it. And so you because they were trying to limit the exposures. And so we did the five reasons video, we're reshooting it now with all of our faculty. But that five reasons video is a nice entry point, because it really tells you, you know, gives you the key reasons why you should consider, you know, being an entrepreneurship student doing a minor doing the concentration doing a graduate program and entrepreneurship. And so that's a that's a fun video, and it's on, it's embedded on our website as well.
Now, do you find that there might be any misconceptions students might have about entrepreneurship?
Yes, they think that it is only about starting a business. We've talked about that earlier, you know, it's really at the core of what we are trying to do is to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in our students, give them the knowledge foundation, and expose them and help them develop the competencies that would be necessary to take something from the idea stage, to the reality stage, whether that's your own business, or that's creating an innovative nonprofit in the community that's going to solve a social problem, or that's going into a corporation and seen an opportunity and going, I think we should pursue this or, you know, being the one that steps forward and says, I'm gonna champion an initiative when nobody else will. It's being able to do those things. And again, I use myself as an example. I said, like, look, I don't own Cal State, San Bernardino. I don't own the Center for Entrepreneurship. I don't own the school of entrepreneurship. But I think like an owner. I'm results oriented. I'm constantly learning and I'm applying everything I did when I was an entrepreneur and the community, I'm not acting any differently. I'm doing all the same things here. It's just that I don't technically own the entities that I'm, I'm running. You can and we started with literally nothing. I mean, the Center for Entrepreneurship when I got here and in May of 2002. It was me and a desk. A lot of good ideas. They had already fought the political battles to create the Center for Entrepreneurship. They had tried some things for two years. They hadn't worked. It was on me to try and you know, kind of rejuvenate it and grow it and If we weren't entrepreneurial myself and the rest of the team that I built here, we'd still be sitting at that same desk with no programs, right. So we've created a nationally recognized now sorry, globally recognized Center for Entrepreneurship, globally recognized school of entrepreneurship. Our team in the Center for Entrepreneurship, you know, is me. Now we have over 60 people that work in the Center for Entrepreneurship, both on and off campus, we have about 16 to 20 folks that work in the School of entrepreneurship. Again, all that stuff happened because we applied the entrepreneur mindset, we were pursuing opportunities, we were willing to, to try and be innovative, take risks, all the things that we associate with entrepreneurship, so you can do it in any domain. So I think that's the big misconception is that you have to start a business. Now you can use entrepreneurship in any setting.
And let's say a student in the School of entrepreneurship, is there anything in any resources that are offered to them?
Oh, yes. Okay. So that's the other thing. I often say that, if you just come to the university, no matter what you're studying, and all you do is go to class, you're not getting the full experience of your degree. You're really only getting a small slice of it. And now, some academic programs don't offer much outside the classroom. In entrepreneurship, we offer a full complement of experiential learning activities for students to participate in. And generally those are available to any student on campus. There may be a few activities that we focus solely on entreprenuerial students, but I'll give you a few examples. And I will also say that a lot of these things when we created them, and have created them over years, we were thinking from we were thinking, originally when I got here, I was thinking, Well, when I was a student at Cal State San Bernardino, and this was a different time, Cal State was a very different university in, you know, the mid a mid to late 80s. A lot fewer students a lot fewer buildings, a lot fewer faculty a lot fewer resources. It's an incredible I mean, it was a great university, then it's an incredible university now. But there's a lot of things that we didn't have. And when I got here, I thought, you know, what would I have wanted to do as a student to supplement just going to class? So, we came up with a bunch of programs. And then obviously, we've we've talked with students and work with students over the years to create programs that meet their needs as well. So I'll give you a few examples. We have our Garner Holt student Fast Pitch competition that we hold each fall. If you have an innovative idea, and you can put it together and it gets selected, you get to pitch do a 90 second elevator pitch to a panel of investors. And if you get picked for the finals, you go to our Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards, which is the attendees have called it the Oscars of business. It's a black tie, red carpet entertainment. It's like literally like the Oscars. But for business in the Inland Empire. Our students in the fast pitch finals present at that event to nearly 1000 people. So they're getting a chance to present their ideas are competing for prize money, and they're getting this great experience, you know, of getting up and building confidence. So we have the Fast Pitch competition, we do an event in the spring called Lunch with the Entrepreneurs where we bring 25-30 entrepreneurs to campus and students can come have lunch and meet every one of those entrepreneurs to kind of learn their stories to get some inspiration to make some networking connections, maybe even have things that have happened before. We've had students that have gotten internships with those entrepreneurs, we've had students that have gotten jobs with those companies. And in one case, a student brought a prototype of the product they were working on, and showed it to all the entrepreneurs that he visited at the lunch and one of them. It was a mobile phone accessory and one on one to the entrepreneurs, their husband and wife. That's their business. They make mobile phone accessories and they loved what he was doing. And they said let's do a joint venture. So they did a joint venture on his product. So those are the kinds of things that can happen at the you know those types of events. That's just really scratching the surface of the types of experiential learning activities we do. We have a dedicated Scholarship Fund for entrepreneurship students, we have two actually two scholarship funds for entrepreneurship students. We have a very active student entrepreneurship club, and we actually have for our entrepreneurship students associated with the club, but any of our students can use it, we have a dedicated space here in the Jack Brown Hall that's part of the Center for Entrepreneurship in the School of entrepreneurship that is a for lack of a better word, it's a hangout spot. The students can hang out there, work together, they can work on their projects, they can socialize, they can you know, Ida they can do all kinds of things. It's an every day I walked by that room and their students and they they're generally they're kind of between like 10am and 2pm every day and I walked by there every day, some days, there's students spilling out in the hallways, there's so many of them in there and most of the days, there's pizza in there, they they're bringing in food or Steve Abbott who's my entrepreneur in residence for the School of entrepreneurship. It's his office is in there as well. Sometimes he's buying pizza for them and so on. It's, you know, it's fun to see that that type of interaction and that, you know, the students making connections and hanging out together. And so because again, it's more than just showing up and going to a class, you know, in the same way that entrepreneurship is more than just starting a business, it's a really, you know, a broader type of thing. You know, people say, what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? Well, you have to have a great idea that represents an opportunity, you have to be willing to committed work hard, take risks, but it's also you have to build a great team, you have to be great at communicating a compelling vision, you have to build a great network of people that can support you. It's a really comprehensive thing. And we view the experience here at Cal State for our students is the same way we've got to create like a, for lack of a better word, an ecosystem, where students can learn, grow and flourish and get experiences learn, but also learn by doing and, you know, meet local entrepreneurs, make connections, get outside their comfort zone, and really start to develop themselves as not only people but as professionals.
And my last question, you kind of answered a little bit already, but I've seen it has a question and they want more information. You talked about the website, the YouTube channel, contacting any of the faculty, anything else you want to add?
Yeah, no, I mean, if you're and if you're on campus, and you know, you stopped by Jack Brown Hall, we're on the second floor, room 284. That's where I'm located. Alexis Jackson, our administrative coordinator for the School of entrepreneurship, Stacy Alice, the Assistant Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, and part of our core team, and the School of entrepreneurship is located in 284. Room 284. And, you know, pop in, say, say hi, you know, it, make an appointment with me, you know, like I said, reach out to any of our faculty, you know, and we're always happy to share, you know, what our passion is, which is entrepreneurship, and, you know, and, you know, give, give students a realistic preview of what the program's like. And, you know, in most cases, it's attractive to students. In some cases, they go, maybe it's not for me, you know, and that's okay, too. We ultimately want as students to find the path that really fires them up, you know, turns them on. And that's, that's, I think, the most important thing, if you're passionate about something that's half the battle. And, you know, I've been at Cal, so this is my mom getting close to go starting, I think, in my 22nd year here at Cal State San Bernardino. And I love what we do here. That's what drives me to do the crazy hours and kind of juggle 50,000 balls. Because what we're doing is fun, but most importantly, it's working with the students and seeing the students learn, grow and then go off and be successful. And then when I run into students in the community, or I was at an event yesterday out at our Palm Desert campus with four of our students, Zeke Bonilla, sorry, Professor bunnies had entered into the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, pitch competition. So the pitch to an audience yesterday, it was their first time ever doing that. Fantastic to see them do that. And by way, you know, of students that are at the Palm Desert campus, we offer the entrepreneurship program at the Palm Desert campus, you can take every one of our courses in entrepreneurship at the PDC. And true to our unique fashion. We teach all of our courses in what's called the Innovation Hub, which is across the street from the Palm Desert campus. It's collaboration between the city of Palm Desert, the PDC, and Coachella Valley Economic Partnership. So we have a really cool classroom there. So it's fun to see the students grow. And it's fun to run into students in the community. And you know, I just had lunch with one of our alumni a couple of weeks ago. And you know, he and I just had another one reach out to me on LinkedIn last night, you know, so it's fun to see them reach levels of success and hear how the program was a part of that.
And a lot of great information. It's It's wonderful to hear how passionate that you and the rest of the faculty are within your school and everything that's offered to students. So thank you so much for being on the podcast today.
Yeah, my my pleasure. And just one more thing to add. I'm so excited to I was talking about experiential learning. We have two of our student teams, startup teams participating in May of 2023. At a CSU system wide business pitch competition, it's going to be up in San Jose, and 18 of the Cal State. UC campuses are competing against each other. And we have two teams going up there. They both represent innovative ventures that were developed in collaboration as a part of with undergraduate and graduate students as a part of one of our courses. And we use technologies in partnership in this case with both Loma Linda University Medical and all and the United States Navy. They both have access and have exclusive licenses of the technology and are pitching to create new ventures As a part of that, so we're super excited that they're stepping out going into the, these big pitch competitions and taking what they've learned and applying it in real time.
Yeah, so best to your both those teams are going to participate in that and fingers crossed that they win.
Yeah, hopefully we'll bring back you know, that we always say, you know, you want to strive to, you're competing to win. But really, the underlying goal of doing these types of national competitions which generally every year we take students to these national competitions, is to get them to have an experience that not many students get to have an experience, expand their boundaries and learn by doing and build confidence. And if you bring home a prize, that's a bonus.
Yeah, just like you said, learn by doing and what you've also been saying during this, this recording, it's not about just going to the classes setting there. Take advantage of these opportunities. Yeah, absolutely.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai