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Thursday, June 23 • 13:45 - 14:45
PK07.11e - The best of both worlds – entrepreneurship as an experiential learning setting

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Students who are graduating from higher education institutions are expected to be job-ready from day one, exhibit critical thinking, and be able apply their knowledge in real-world situations. It has been recognized that one of the greatest struggles students face when transitioning from school to work is the inability to effectively communicate their skills. This is particularly important with respect to specific job applications when a prospective employer needs to assess whether an applicant has the relevant skills for the position they wish to fill. Experiential learning has been shown to positively affect how students perceive their learning experiences. Internships provide such experience. We use our entrepreneurship program for current and recent graduate students in order to provide undergraduate students an experiential learning opportunity. Students are placed with technology-based start up companies, in a variety of positions, which are not necessarily closely related to the students’ field of study. Working with small teams offers interns ample opportunities to provide meaningful contributions to the company while gaining noteworthy accomplishments. Throughout the internship, students participate in several self-reflection exercises that help them better identify their own skills, and better articulate them. Building on the students’ own accomplishments within the internship program, students develop a sense of ownership and pride in their achievements, and can use them as proof for skills they communicate they have. Past participants have expressed improved communication skills, higher confidence levels, and a more realistic understanding of work place expectations. As one student noted: “with all the tasks I've accomplished I am confident to use my skills to go forward“.


Alon Eisenstein

Alon Eisenstein is an educator at the Impact Centre, University of Toronto, and is in charge of the coordination and delivery of the centre’s internship course. Alon holds a Ph.D. in chemistry, and has been involved in both curricular and extra-curricular based programs for the... Read More →

Additional Authors

Cynthia Goh

Cynthia Goh, Professor of Chemistry, works in nanoscience, biomaterials, and in the translation of scientific discovery to societal benefits. She has developed training programs for scientist-entrepreneurs, including Entrepreneurship101, with thousands registered annually, and Techno... Read More →

Emanuel Istrate

Emanuel Istrate is the Academic Coordinator at the Impact Centre, University of Toronto. With his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, Emanuel has contributed to entrepreneurship and industry collaboration programs at the Impact Centre. He has also used his expertise in optical and electronic... Read More →

Thursday June 23, 2016 13:45 - 14:45 EDT
UCC 67