For those who think summer constitutes time off for a college professor, check in with Jay Azriel, Ph.D. This assistant professor of entrepreneurship in Seton Hall’s Stillman School of Business has a full summer schedule — and then some. He’s presenting at a LeadAmerica entrepreneurship program in June, designing courses for a certificate in entrepreneurship, and writing three papers for possible publication. And that’s just the start …
Azriel joins LeadAmerica, the nation’s premier youth leadership organization, which strives to transform the next generation of leaders, to give two lectures at a high school entrepreneurship program hosted at Fordham University.
“The first lecture will focus on entrepreneurship and business plans,” Azriel says, “while the second will concentrate on strategy and management.”
Azriel expects 300 participants in each session (all of whom have been chosen to participate) and is prepared to keep his audience engaged and thinking critically. “I’ll discuss what it means to be an entrepreneur and who fills these shoes,” he shares, “but the bulk of my time will cover what’s known as the ‘one-page business plan.’”
Azriel uses the one-page business plan, a concept he learned about through Sierra Nevada College, in his Introduction to Entrepreneurship course at Seton Hall. “It’s daunting to write a full business plan,” he notes. “This one-page template helps students organize their thoughts and ideas.”
A Seton Hall faculty member since Fall 2005, Azriel believes it’s important to integrate his research into the classroom. He has immersed himself in the topic of entrepreneurship since the dotcom revolution in the mid ’90s. He earned a Ph.D. in entrepreneurship and strategic management from the University of Albany and an M.B.A from The American University. He also served as assistant professor of entrepreneurship and strategic management at Illinois State University.
He came to the University to build a major in entrepreneurship with Susan Scherreik, M.B.A., director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. His first step: an undergraduate certificate in entrepreneurship, which he anticipates will be accepted in the Fall Semester. This will serve as a stepping stone to the undergraduate major program. The graduate certificate in entrepreneurship was recently approved.
“In a Stillman School research study, we learned that about one-third of our students come from a family business background,” Azriel explains, “and more and more young people are looking to start their own businesses. We’re also learning [through the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies] we have a large contingency of alumni entrepreneurs, and we’re working closely with them to build a top-notch program.”
“And once that program is built, I hope it will permeate the University. Entrepreneurs are not just business majors,” Azriel continues.
The definition of an entrepreneur can vary widely, and Azriel helps his students understand this broad definition. “It’s important for students to know that an entrepreneur isn’t just someone who starts a business,” he says. “Entrepreneurs are employees at big companies and corporations. They are people who think ‘outside the box’ and approach problem solving in a unique way.
“As a professor, I teach students about the possibilities that are out there,” Azriel continues. “I encourage my students to see possibilities in chaos.”
Note: If you are a Seton Hall alumni entrepreneur, please e-mail your contact information to Susan Scherreik, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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