The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the discussion about entrepreneurship education through undergraduate dissertations (UDs). In order to achieve this objective, this paper addresses the problems detected in the degree subject “UD” – which entails the creation of a business plan – and the proposal of improvements in the teaching-learning process of this subject.
Qualitative and quantitative analysis are used. First, the paper reports the problems that occurred during two academic years (2012–2013 and 2013–2014), as well as the solutions to these problems, in the two academic years that followed (2014–2015 and 2015–2016). Second, the improvements achieved are analyzed using descriptive statistics and the Wilcoxon–Mann–Whitney test, based on data drawn from the records and a survey conducted in 2012–2013 (174 responses), and in 2015–2016 (184 responses).
The results outline the positive effects on students’ learning outcomes and academic excellence, a three-stage assessment process, the strengthening of the coordination and supervision systems and the enhancing of entrepreneurial spirit among graduates, with a UD connected to a business incubator.
The authors describe the design and implementation of a UD that provides a major step in the students’ entrepreneurial education, emerging, not only, as an opportunity to train and connect skills and knowledge learned about the starting a new venture, but also as a practical experience of entrepreneurship; a first step that introduces the student to entrepreneurship.
There are very few examples of concrete subject designs that have undergone in-depth, longitudinal research, focusing on entrepreneurship. Prior research has focused on entrepreneurship primarily as a subject, forgetting the great utility of the UD as active training tool. Thus, this paper breaks new ground by highlighting the role of the UD in entrepreneurial education. In this regard, the UD allows the student to be guided and to actually engage in the real-world practice of entrepreneurship. Specifically, it encourages them to apply their academic knowledge of the field in the context of creating a new business. Moreover, by creating a business plan, students are applying the knowledge and skills learned in the subject of entrepreneurship with other spheres of knowledge and skills.
Rodríguez-López, Á. and Souto, J. (2019), "Empowering entrepreneurial education using undergraduate dissertations in business management and entrepreneurship: A five-year study (2012–2016)", Education + Training, Vol. 61 No. 2, pp. 255-271. https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-07-2018-0160Download as .RIS
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