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CSB and SJU adding entrepreneurship minor

The entrepreneurial spirit has long been a cornerstone of the campus experience at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

For more than 20 years now, the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship has served as an entrepreneurship education resource — providing classes, coaching and assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs. That includes the celebrated Entrepreneur Scholars (E-Scholars) program, which will welcome its 21st cohort this school year and offers a select group of students from across a wide range of disciplines the opportunity to design and implement a world-class business venture. 

Building on that foundation, in May the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Boards of Trustees approved the creation of an entrepreneurship minor. The 20-credit minor is open to all students and will be offered at the start of the 2024-25 school year.

“A lot of times when you find entrepreneurship minors, they’re housed in the business school,” said Paul Marsnik, a professor of entrepreneurship and global business and the academic director of the Entrepreneur Scholars program. “It’s not common to find an Entrepreneurship minor at a liberal arts school like this.

“And yet, it’s the perfect fit. A liberal arts school is the absolute best place to get people developing the entrepreneurial mindset. That interdisciplinary exposure students get here allows them to draw ideas from multiple perspectives.”

Structurally, the minor will be set up as follows:

  • Four credits from two of the two-credit classes offered in the ENTR 101 (Topics in Entrepreneurship) sequence, which allows students to select from more than 20 topics.
  • Twelve credits from the following four-credit classes: ENTR 201 (Foundations in Entrepreneurship), ENTR 304 (Applied Entrepreneurship) and ENTR 394 (Entrepreneurship Practicum).
  • Four more credits from an elective from another department that applies to entrepreneurship.

“It very much parallels the sequence followed in the E-Scholars program,” Marsnik said.

“It will certainly contain the business component. Students in the minor will gain an understanding of break-even analysis, pro-forma financial statements and all those things. But what will set this minor apart is that we will focus more on idea generation, opportunity recognition, how you train and use your brain to think laterally and consider a lot more possibilities. There will be more of a creative problem-solving focus to it.”

Michael Tripicchio, a finance major who will be a senior at SJU this fall and is part of the E-Scholars program, believes the minor will be a great fit for students interested in starting their own ventures, or just seeking new avenues to apply what they’ve learned in other courses.

“Through entrepreneurship, you get the chance to try and apply a lot of different things,” said Tripicchio, the general manager of T-Spot, which specializes in custom apparel for clubs and organizations on campus.

“I think this minor will help provide students with real-world experience unlike anything else on campus.”