The Crunch: Careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields continue to grow in the US economy. But aspiring entrepreneurs need more than just good ideas and funding to launch sustainable companies — they need business and market knowledge. New York University’s new Master of Science in Computing, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation (MS-CEI) — which starts in summer 2018 — is a one-year program that combines business, entrepreneurial, and computer science courses. The MS-CEI program equips graduates with the business and technical education, customer awareness, and hands-on product development knowledge they need to become the successful CEOs and CTOs of tomorrow.
The employment market of the future will be saturated with jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. In 2016 alone, US jobs in tech industries grew 3%, with total tech-sector employment approaching 7 million.
The steady growth of tech-related industries has also created an ideal environment for new startups. Information technology (IT) and customer service software account for 60% of these new STEM jobs — many of which come from the more than 5,000 new service-related businesses launched each year.
The longer a business survives, the better its chance of sustaining long-term success — but surviving those first few years isn’t easy. In addition to the challenges of funding and product marketability, another top reason startups fail is a lack of entrepreneurial and leadership skills. Even an advanced IT degree isn’t enough to prepare an entrepreneur to grow an innovative idea into a successful product that addresses a consumer pain point.
Evan Korth, Clinical Professor of Computer Science at New York University, was well aware of this gap in higher education. “There were no programs with a deep bench of computer science and business school professors that combine entrepreneurship and computer science,” he said.
Evan started discussions about creating a program at NYU that would strengthen the ties between the university and the New York startup community. With input from university leadership and several committees, NYU developed a one-year graduate program to address the educational needs of tech entrepreneurs — the Master of Science in Computing, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation (MS-CEI).
The MS-CEI program — scheduled to start in summer 2018 — combines business, entrepreneurship, and computer science courses with hands-on workshops. The program’s mission is to give entrepreneurs the technical skills, marketing know-how, and leadership abilities to launch — and sustain — the businesses of the future.
Avoiding the Bubble: Startups are Key to the Future of Commerce
Evan draws from his startup community experience in his role as Director of Graduate Studies for the MS-CEI program. “From when the bubble popped in 2000 until the rest of the economy crashed in 2008, the dominant story in the media was that computer science jobs were being outsourced,” he said. “It wasn’t true. There were still jobs, but most of them were in banks on Wall Street.”
After the dot-com bust, Evan helped computer science graduates find non-traditional career opportunities in smaller startup companies, and some of his students founded startups of their own. But it was the Great Recession of 2008 — which cost the US economy 8 million jobs — that sparked a new surge of interest in entrepreneurship.
Evan and others who had witnessed the first dot-com bubble burst started looking for ways to ensure that the renewed New York City startup ecosystem would be strong enough to weather any future economic downturns.
“If you look at what happened here in New York, we had the infrastructure and numerous public companies, but the venture startup capital dried up,” Evan said.
He got involved with — and founded — nonprofits dedicated to early STEM education and follow-up with college students. HackNY, founded in 2010, built awareness of startup opportunities among college students with computer programming skills. Today, the organization brings 30 of the best college hackers to New York City every summer and connects them with internships. CSNYC, founded by Evan in 2013, partners with the City of New York with the goal of bringing computer science programs to all 1,700 New York City public schools by 2025.
When Evan returned to NYU full time, he brought this commitment to connecting computer science students with opportunities to apply their aptitude for technology in the real world. MS-CEI is the next step in ensuring the future of startups — and the future of commerce.
MS-CEI Provides Next-Level Training in Business & Computer Science
Before designing the MS-CEI, NYU offered separate graduate programs in computer science and business arts. But MS-CEI combines courses from both departments to provide the next-level training specially suited to innovative entrepreneurs.
The one-year program combines new and existing courses from the Stern School of Business and the Courant Institute’s computer science programs for a total of 13 classes and 33 credits. “Students will take four summer business classes in the Stern School, and three new entrepreneurial courses in the summer, fall, and spring within the computer science department. The rest of the courses are among our more technically challenging computer science courses,” Evan said.
All three of the new entrepreneurial courses in MS-CEI are experiential. Students will take Design and Innovation during the summer semester, which includes case studies and provides the opportunity to start generating product ideas.
MS-CEI’s fall entrepreneurial course — Lean Launchpad — focuses on the most important aspect of product development: the consumer. Many startups fail because they neglect to identify and address a specific customer pain point with their product or service. “Young technologists come up with a great idea and then assume the world wants it,” Evan said. “The course is about customer discovery, ‘Does the world want the thing that they want to build?’”
The final entrepreneurial course in the spring semester is a capstone class that allows students to continue developing business ideas — on their own or as part of a team. Peer and faculty feedback during the development process helps entrepreneurs create products that will be ready for the market. “We expect some great ideas to come out of these classes,” Evan said.
MS-CEI students also have full access to the resources of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, a team of startup experts offering programs, events and funding (via the NYU Innovation Venture Fund) to support startups founded by NYU student entrepreneurs. Based in the Leslie eLab, the Institute provides students with additional workshops and accelerators, access to mentors and networks, financing, and a connection to New York City’s technology startup community.
Admission to the inaugural MS-CEI program — which closes January 15, 2018 — is reserved for students or professionals who either have an undergraduate computer science degree or equivalent STEM experience —especially in the innovation sector. Students are required to make a full-time commitment to attending the course classes on NYU’s Greenwich Village campus.
Educating & Preparation for the Next Generation of CEOs & CTOs
The growing number of jobs in STEM fields, and the increased entrepreneurial activity in IT and customer service sectors, point to promising career opportunities for college graduates and seasoned professionals alike. NYU’s new MS-CEI program is designed to arm them with the knowledge and skills required to be successful.
MS-CEI’s combination of traditional education and hands-on training gives technologically skilled — yet inexperienced — entrepreneurs the opportunity to fully develop their product ideas and better understand their target consumer.
Business courses equip students with the professional knowledge and leadership skills to launch startups that survive the first few crucial years and grow into successful companies.
NYU’s ultimate goal with MS-CEI is to educate the thought leaders and innovators who will, in turn, shape the future of business. “We envision these students running the innovation lab in larger corporations, starting their own companies, and becoming the future CEOs and CTOs of tech startups,” Evan said.