Document Type

Conference Paper

Version Deposited

Published Version

Publication Date


Conference Name

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference


Development of an entrepreneurial mindset (EM) has been a focus that has gained traction within engineering over the last decade. Thus, undergraduate engineering curricula have been modified to address EM development Curriculum modifications can include assigning hands-on projects with entrepreneurial elements, devoting entire courses to developing students' entrepreneurial skills while working with real world companies, and even creating degree programs with entrepreneurship in engineering as the focus.

Literature on EM has shown that there are a variety of methods for defining EM depending on the stakeholder. However, there has been limited research on how students understand and define EM, which is a vital step in helping students understand the role an EM can have for their future careers. This research study explores students' perception of EM through interviews with engineering undergraduates across multiple class years and majors. We sought to answer the following research questions: (1) How do engineering students’ definitions of EM differ from literature definitions? and (2) How do engineering students believe EM will be useful to their career? Students were interviewed using a semi-structured protocol to get a clearer understanding of how they define EM. The interview protocol included questions focused on what students think EM means, how it has affected them, and how it might continue to affect them in the future. These interviews were then transcribed and thematically analyzed to determine the attributes of an EM that are common in students’ definitions of EM. The analysis of the interviews identified trends that could then be compared to the existing literature definitions of entrepreneurial mindset. The work done through this study provides value to the community by providing an understanding for engineering students’ perceptions of EM and how this may differ from that of other stakeholders. It will also shed light on whether engineering students’ find value in developing an EM as part of their undergraduate studies, including whether they see it as an important asset to their future career.


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