New course aims to prepare students for entrepreneurial, innovative capstone projects

Matthew Conto, one of the winners of the 2016 Capstone Competition

During their senior year, many NYU Tandon students work on capstone projects — representative culminations of their studies and their academic and professional interests. For students who want to transform their project or idea into a startup or pitch to big-name companies, a new engineering-based entrepreneurship course will offer students a chance to discover and hone their entrepreneurial spirit.

The Pre-Capstone Innovation Experience, offered this upcoming fall semester, will foster multidisciplinary entrepreneurial work to both prepare students for their senior capstones, as well as generate more interdisciplinary thinking and collaborative design. Designed by Professor Jin Montclare of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Lecturer Chris Leslie from Technology, Culture and Society, the course is geared towards students in their junior year as they begin experimenting with senior capstone ideas. The Pre-Capstone will initially be structured around recitation, such as Lean Launchpad-style customer discovery, lectures on entrepreneurship or types of business models, and labs directed by professors from electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and biomolecular engineering. Later in the semester, students will break into teams, refine their project ideas, and develop their interdisciplinary prototypes with advice and guidance from the professors.

“Our hope is that students will be exposed to various engineering disciplines so that they may feel comfortable in carrying out multidisciplinary projects; be able to work in multidisciplinary teams and groups; and be better prepared for their capstone projects by identifying a suitable problem to solve by thinking about the customer and product market fit,” Montclare said. Leslie detailed the course’s ultimate goal as a combination of education and entrepreneurship, and he and Montclare hope students who take the course will approach their senior capstone with “an entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary mindset.”

Sponsored by a VentureWell grant, the Pre-Capstone course will also hopefully generate more connections between engineering students and experts and professionals in engineering and technology fields. Whether through Lean Launchpad business model canvas critiques by industry professionals or guest lecturers sharing their expertise, Leslie hopes the course could build “a closer relationship between entrepreneurial alumni, community members in the field, and engineering students” as they prepare for the job market.

While this multidisciplinary, entrepreneurial approach to design and business will make students more competitive when seeking jobs, Leslie also noted that engineering students typically desire “to change the world in some meaningful way.” He believes the course will provide students with the tools and skill sets to chart their path towards “making a positive impact.”

Students interested in learning more about the Pre-Capstone Innovation Experience course can attend an upcoming information session on March 22 (at 11:30 am or4:30 pm). Register for an information session

Applications are required to register for the course. Application deadline: March 31, 2017. Apply here


Camila Ryder
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Master of Arts in English Literature, Class of 2018