The Rise of the Entrepreneurship Master's: A Discussion with ESTEEM Student John Vernon

Author: Sean McGee

John Vernon, ESTEEM 2015is a recent ND graduate, where he studied neuroscience and psychology. He plans to focus his capstone thesis on studying concussions and speech pathology.

A recent article in Forbes explored the growing trend of new (and in some cases, not so new) Entrepreneurship Master's programs across the country. Everyone from Michigan to Stanford to BYU has one now, and most were founded within the last 20 years. To John Vernon, a current ESTEEM student, this feels like "validation," that people care. The Entrepreneurship Master's presents many advantages: shorter programs with unique focuses of study allow graduates to stand out and the opportunity for real business experience help them thrive. Additionally, these programs feed into the American psyche: "Everyone wants to own a company, to be their own boss," says Vernon, "It's the American Dream." That being said, Entrepreneurship Master's programs are not without their risks, since most programs are relatively new. Yet Vernon noted that the risks are not without their rewards, that the payoffs are worth it. As the Forbes article states, demand for alternate business education has "seismically" increased throughout the last two decades, mainly due to the dot com boom and the gargantuan successes it has produced.

But how does ESTEEM fit into this growing trend? To John Vernon, the program is striving to help him make a positive impact on the world: "ND [helped] me, first as an undergrad with my work on autism, and now in my work on concussions and speech pathology... I'm in it for more than just some letters after my name." The focus for him is on developing a good "Why" - the motivation that drives innovation. "It's the thesis, you know? You get to dedicate yourself to something for a whole year." John's new partnership with the local startup Contect has allowed him to work on developing an app that detects concussions through analyzing athlete's speech patterns after an injury. He plans to take his experiences from ESTEEM and work in the biotechnology or neuroscience industries following graduation.