9 Successful Entrepreneurs Moonlighting as Professors
1. Peter Thiel, Stanford University
2. Leslie Charm, Babson College
3. Karl Baehr, Emerson College
4. S. Michael Camp, Ohio State University
5. Steven Rogers, Northwestern University
6. Waverly Deutsch, The University of Chicago
7. Patricia G. Greene, Babson College
8. Michael J. Roberts, Harvard University
9. Stephen Spinelli, Babson College
“Entrepreneurship students learn even more from failures than successes,” says Patricia G. Greene, chair of entrepreneurial studies at Babson College. Therefore, it’s very important that students are able to gain real-world knowledge from entrepreneurs who have actually lived these failures.
We’ve compiled a list of nine of the top business leaders who are paying it forward by teaching the next generation of entrepreneurs. Learn about them here and you may be inspired to enroll.
Thiel is the co-founder of PayPal and an early Facebook investor who, in the past, ironically encouraged America’s youth to dropout of college to test their entrepreneurial mettle.
Classes: His first class, Computer Science 183: Startups, started this spring.
Future teaching plans: None at the moment but his first class filled to a capacity of 250 in just minutes.
Why you should enroll: According to Thiel if he does his job correctly, his will be the last class you will ever have to take.
image credit: Kristi Riley
A forty-year partner in Youngman & Charm, Charm's firm specializes in assisting entrepreneurs that may be experiencing financial or operating problems.
Classes: Entrepreneurial Finance and Managing Growing Business. Charm also lends his experiences to universities around the world who are trying to learn the art of teaching entrepreneurship.
Future teaching plans: “Continue doing it,” Charm says.
Why you should enroll: With 27 years of entrepreneurship teaching experience and 40 years as a successful businessman, Charm’s students are certain to gain a practical knowledge of the skills required to raise resources through out the life cycle of a company.
image credit: Babson
A serial entrepreneur, Baehr brings more than 25 years of experience running his own businesses into the classroom. He created the entrepreneurial studies program at Emerson when he arrived in 2004 and has since grown it to include more than 200 students.
Classes: Immersive entrepreneurship courses where students learn about the process of assessing and crafting opportunity, developing a business strategy and starting a business -- by actually doing it.
Future teaching plans: Working on a five-year program that merges any major course of study at Emerson with a business minor resulting in a Masters degree in entrepreneurial leadership.
Why you should enroll: Baehr believes that his courses are of value to any student no matter what their chosen field.
image credit: @KarlBaehr
A former advisor to dozens of companies and founder of five startups, Camp knows how to launch a business.
Classes: Technology Commercialization, New Venture Creation, Business Strategy, and Managing High Performance Companies.
Future teaching plans: “To continue developing curricula, building academic programs and teaching young entrepreneurs,” says Camp. He has been teaching for eight years.
Why you should enroll: A very small fraction of entrepreneurship can be learned through traditional educational methods. Camp’s courses are specifically designed to give the student “live” experiences to facilitate the sort of learning that has to be present to change the way a student sees his or her impact on the world through private enterprise.
image credit: TechLife Ohio
Successfully segued the purchase of Chicago-based Fenchel Lampshade Company into ownership of two manufacturing firms and a retail operation. Rogers is also the former director of the entrepreneurship department at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern.
Classes: Entrepreneurial Finance, Minority Business Issues.
Future teaching plans: Continuing to educate his entrepreneurship students in the proper way to avoid costly mistakes.
Why you should enroll: Rogers has been named to the faculty honor roll in every quarter he has taught at Kellogg.
image credit: Rolling Out
Deutsch is an active angel investor and advisor to many companies in the Chicago area including Cygany, Adeptia, ProOnGo and Future Simple. Deutsch spent seven years with Forrester Research, helping to grow the company from a 20-person boutique market research firm to a public company, with a market cap of more than $600 million and offices worldwide.
Classes: Building the New Venture at the Booth School of Business for the last 10 years.
Future teaching plans: Continuing the development of her website entrepX.com, an online database to help guide entrepreneurs through the five lifecycle stages of their company’s development.
Why you should enroll: She was awarded the USASBE Innovative Teaching Pedagogy for the YourCo simulation: based on the popular game Dungeons and Dragons it allows students to develop and run a business through all areas of operation.
image credit: University of Chicago
Greene was the founder of the Rutgers Center of Entrepreneurial Management and the coordinator of Rutgers’ entrepreneurship curriculum. She is also this year’s recipient of the John E. Hughes Award for Entrepreneurial Advocacy from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE).
Classes: Growth/rapid growth, new venture creation. Has been teaching for nine years.
Future teaching plans: Continued service in her current academic post as national academic director for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative and advisor to the 10,000 Women program.
Why you should enroll: “An entrepreneur’s success should be measured by a creation of community value not in monetary terms,” Greene says. A business professor with that level of social responsibility equals a class not to be missed.
image credit: Babson
Roberts is the former director of international business development for Cellular Communications Inc., where he successfully acquired the second-ever cellular license in Italy.
Classes: Evaluating the Entrepreneurial Opportunity at Harvard Business School. Roberts has been teaching for the last decade.
Future teaching plans: Continuing to teach.
Why you should enroll: Roberts is known to invite the subjects of his case studies to class to address student questions. “It helps students see that there's no such thing as a typical entrepreneur," he says.
image credit: Harvard University
Spinelli is the co-founder of Jiffy Lube International and former owner of American Oil Change Corp.
Classes: Franchising, new venture creation, strategic alliances at Babson for 14 years.
Future teaching plans: No longer an in-class professor, Spinelli continues to contribute to the academic world as president of Philadelphia University, a position he's held for the past five years.
Why you should enroll: "Entrepreneurship is about finding opportunity in the midst of what others consider chaos," says Spinelli.
image credit: Kristi Riley