Course Draws 122 Students from Eight Countries Over Two Sessions

First session participants gather at University Crossing
The first session of this summer's Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation course included 73 students from eight different countries.

By Ed Brennen

When the Manning School of Business began the Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation program in 2014, it drew 30 students from two countries. Two years later, the program has blossomed to include 122 students from eight countries.

Led by MSB lecturer Ashwin Mehta and Nitin Kulkarni from KLE Technological University in Hubli, India, the intensive, three-credit course brings together students from diverse academic disciplines and cultures to collaborate in small groups on entrepreneurial projects, with winter sessions in India and summer sessions here in Lowell. 

This summer, the course was expanded to include two separate two-week offerings. The first session, which ran June 13-24, had 73 students from India, China, Japan, Thailand, Guyana, Myanmar, Haiti and the U.S. (including 18 Manning MBA students). The second session, which ran June 27-July 8, was attended exclusively by the 49 Myanmar students who are part of an MBA program offered by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, which has campuses in the Myanmar cities of Mandalay and Yangon. 

“It’s been amazing how far we’ve come in three years,” Mehta said. “We have MBA students, as well as bachelors in business, science and engineering. It’s truly a multicultural, multidisciplinary program where the focus is not just to learn about entrepreneurship, but to learn about each other and different cultures.”

During a reception for this summer’s first-session students at University Crossing, Mehta thanked several university faculty members for their support of the program, including Kathy Carter (Vice Provost for Graduate and International Affairs and Strategy), Scott Latham (Vice Provost for Innovation and Workforce Development), Steve Tello (Associate Vice Chancellor for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development) and Eunsang Yoon (Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Department Chair).

“I think Prof. Mehta has created something that is quite special here,” Carter told the students. “When I think of all the courses that we run, this is probably my favorite. The multicultural dimension, the multidisciplinary aspect, the opportunities and the content, it’s fabulous.”

Mehta also thanked Chancellor Jacquie Moloney, who the previous summer had issued the “challenge” of doubling the program size.

“I think we met her expectations,” Mehta said with a smile. “She has been quite supportive of this program.”

In addition to visiting DifferenceMaker Central and the Innovation Hub, students also took tours of iRobot in Bedford and MKS Instruments in Methuen. MKS’s president and CEO, Jerry Colella ’78, is chair of the Manning School’s advisory board. The company has hosted students from the program in each of the first three years.

MKS Vice President and General Manager Wayne Cole ’90, an engineering alum, was on hand at the University Crossing event to congratulate the program participants.

“I enjoy the enthusiasm of the students on the tour. They ask a lot of great questions,” Cole said. “It’s fun to be able to show off our products for an afternoon and engage with people who are enthusiastic about improving themselves.”

Assistant Prof. Michael Ciuchta, one of several Manning faculty members who led lectures for the course, hoped that students would come away from the experience with the realization that the world is a small place.

“I hope you imagine better world, care about changing the world and touch the world,” he said.