Georgetown’s Literary Approach To Teaching Entrepreneurship

Eric Koester. Photo courtesy of Georgetown McDonough School of Business

BOOKS LEAD TO MULTIPLE JOBS AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES

Loony or not, Koester is onto something. Not only are there more than a dozen young published authors, many of those authors have had early career success directly from the books they constructed and published. McDonald has earned an internship in venture capital—an incredibly rare feat for an undergraduate student. Digregorio raised more than $20,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to launch her health brand around a pineapple-shaped food portioning plate. Jhangiani, who wrote a book about the potential of soccer in India, is currently working in India as a soccer scout and helping launch academies. Monica Fritz, who wrote Graduate Your Beercraft, was offered a job with a beer distributor in New York within 15 minutes of meeting one of the managers. The list goes on.

“We hacked the book writing process like I would launch a company,” Koester says, noting not much changed in the core of the course from previous years. “I said, ‘let’s forget about the book. If writing the book was launching a company, what would we do?’ It’s not like your traditional sit in a room and bang on a typewriter. It’s actually how we would architect how to launch a company.”

‘THESE ARE PEOPLE THAT DON’T WANT TO INTERVIEW IN THE TRADITIONAL CONSULTING OR BANKING OR FINANCE ROUTE’

Indeed, the course started like a typical entrepreneurship course—with idea generation. McDonald recalls the first assignment of the course, when they were charged to come up with at least 100 business ideas that they could potentially write a book about. The exercise gave McDonald hope for the course. “In that first week, I started to see the potential,” he says.

Digregorio trusted Koester’s reputation, passion, and energy, but was still hesitant through the ideation process. But when they started writing the actual book, she saw the vision and fell in love with the course. “The book really helped guide my entrepreneurial journey because the book is a brand,” she says.

Still, Koester says, it takes a certain kind of student to thrive in the environment he created.

“These are people that don’t want to interview in the traditional consulting or banking or finance route. They want to work at places that don’t necessary come on campus to interview.”

Students were required to interview at least 25 expert sources. Many of those connections were what led to internships, jobs, and other opportunities, Koester explains.

MOVEMENT FROM THE BOTTOM UP

Koester will be teaching an online version of the course and believes that might be the future of the idea outside of Georgetown. The next wave must be a grassroots, bottom up movement, Koester explains. While teaching the online version of the course this summer and fall, Koester says he hopes the students will each find a faculty member at their respective schools to serve as a coach and guide along the way. One student and faculty member could be the start at other universities, Koester believes.

“If we do this right,” Koester says, “I think every junior at every college in America should be required to do something like this.”

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