The startup is a very important part of the master’s program, and academic subjects are tailored to help students in the commercialization process, see figure below.
The defining characteristic of our program is that students are provided the infrastructure, resources and guidance to establish new ventures in parallel with following a full academic workload focused on business development. This reinforcing combination of theory and practice is unique as an educational model, and it offers students the possibility to develop their skills in a real-life context.
NSE utilizes an unique education model that combines theory and practice. In addition to a full academic workload in business development, students are provided the infrastructure, resources and guidance to establish their own startup company.
Over the course of the first semester, students evaluate a vast number of business ideas gathered from current students, alumni, faculty members and NSE’s network of partners. After the first semester, students form teams and select the most promising business concepts, which they work on throughout the rest of the program.
«NTNU School of Entrepreneurship is a program that gives students experience they otherwise never would have acquired in academia.»
— Torbjørn Digernes, Former Rector of NTNU
First Semester (Fall):
The core of the first semester is the course “Idea Search and Market Assessment,” where extensive feasibility studies are completed by our students. Ideas are gathered from current and former NSE students, TTOs (Technology Transfer Organisations) and through the NSE partner network in Norway and abroad. The potential and feasibility of the ideas are tested through market research and evaluation. One feasibility study is carried through at CERN, Switzerland, the world’s largest research center, where students discover new applications for CERN’s technology. A total of 40 feasibility studies are conducted during the fall, from which the students select the most promising ideas . At the end of the first semester, students form teams of two to five students, and select the most promising business concepts based on the feasibility studies. In addition to this course, students enroll in courses related strategy and to the students’ bachelor’s specializations.
Second semester (Spring):
The courses in the second semester introduce the concepts related to the early start up phase, such as finance and funding, team building and intellectual property. All teams write a business plan and several teams use this to participate in business plan competitions, such as Venture Cup. The second semester consists of three courses related to the commercialization project, and one course within the field of student’s bachelor’s degree.
The first year at NTNU is followed by a summer semester at Boston University. Students enrol in entrepreneurship classes and receive help and guidance from skilled professors with significant entrepreneurial experience. Boston is one of the world’s most thriving entrepreneurial cities and has fostered thousands of start-ups. Boston is home to numerous startup events and provides countless possibilities for the NSE ventures. The summer semester is a collaboration between NSE and the study program Gründerskolen (UiO). It is not mandatory, and parts of the program are financed by the students themselves. Lånekassen covers most of the expenses, and the remaining part can be financed through external scholarships.
The summer in Boston was the most inspiring and eventful summer I´ve ever experienced. I gained a whole new perspective on entrepreneurship and creating a business through meeting and learning from the best. I would go again any day.
Elin Kathrine Saunes, Co-Founder, Amok equipment
Third semester (Fall):
The startups continue to advance and the teams work on a variety of tasks, ranging from tasks like product development to funding and sales.
The start-ups continue to advance and product development, funding and customer approach are some of the tasks for the entrepreneurs. Half of the academic credits in the third semester go towards a written project assignment, and several students select a research question related to their commercialization project. Students can also choose to write about themes within entrepreneurship, business development and strategy.
Fourth semester (Spring):
Students write a master’s thesis, and the research question is often a continuation of the project assignment in the previous semester.