Ranked 1st in Ireland and 19th in the World for Entrepreneurship (Eduniversal 2019), the MSc in Entrepreneurship programme equips students with the specialist knowledge and practical ability needed to start or support new and existing businesses.
One of these graduates is alumna Jeni Houser from Cincinnati, Ohio in the USA, who now works as an entrepreneurship and small business consultant. Jeni talks about why she choose the MSc in Entrepreneurship, moving to Ireland, how the master impacted her career, starting a business, and she also offers some tips and advice for prospective students who are looking to follow a similar career path.
My name is Jeni Houser, I own the Ei District, a boutique consulting company focused on small businesses consulting and developing entrepreneurship outreach. I am an advocate for diversity, entrepreneurship, and small business creation as the building blocks for economic opportunity. What is keeping me busy right now is working with higher education institutions to develop entrepreneurship educational programmes and outreach programmes for community members.
I am an entrepreneur to the core, I’ve owned my own businesses, I’ve bought and sold businesses and worked in industry. However, my passion is working with small businesses and increasing entrepreneurship awareness through outreach. I want to empower people to create their own lane of opportunity through entrepreneurship and more importantly having an entrepreneurial mindset.
Choosing Trinity and the MSc in Entrepreneurship
The MSc Entrepreneurship programme is interwoven with Dublin and globally! The reason I picked Trinity is that it sits right at the heart of Dublin with proximity to the cluster of start-ups, incubators, accelerators, and networks so I could be in the middle of this!
Dublin like many other economies faced difficult times 10-15 years ago, and they were specific about using entrepreneurship to revive the economy. I love Ireland’s commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation as a catalyst for economic growth. It is like we had the same passion in common from the get-go and their success story is parallel to mine, so this was another reason I had to pick Dublin.
With Trinity Business School's programme ranked number one in Ireland, highly ranked globally, and a top college in Europe for producing entrepreneurs, I knew it would give me the name and network recognition I desired once leaving with my MSc degree to enter the market as an expert in my field.
Career Development with a MSc in Entrepreneurship
The programme has invested in professors of industry with entrepreneurial experience. Each professor brought a different level of skills, knowledge, and teaching style. The programme provides a deep level of theory and content in every module.
The programme offers a balance of group projects, individual assessment, and workshops from local networks. I now have a network, connections, expertise, and a firm understanding of starting and scaling a business. This allows me to leverage these resources and to invest in developing my human capital so I’ve been able to continually find ways to differentiate myself.
My MSc in Entrepreneurship Class, Trinity Business School
Graduating from the programme has given me an increase in confidence, expertise, and knowledge in entrepreneurship. With my MSc degree in entrepreneurship, this has made me a specialist here at home. I am able to use my education plus experiences, knowledge, and connections helping me be a contributing member of the entrepreneurship community and have a part in shaping the economy.
Applying the MSc in Entrepreneurship in my work
What really stands out about the programme is how it is designed. The programme connects students to real world experiences. I can relate my experiences to the content and each class has a connection to the next. Additionally, the programme has also prepared me to start a new business, scale one of my current businesses, and has prepared me for my next step upon graduation as I start teaching and designing entrepreneurship outreach programmes.
My company is growing quickly. A typical day for me is working on my existing skill sets, gaining experiences in many different areas, and taking on a ton of responsibility. Since these types of programmes require funding I am pitching to investors and stakeholders. I learning quickly about academia timelines and grant requests.
Right now I am working with universities to start and grow their university start-ups. The University of Kentucky Institute for Free Enterprise contacted me to grow their entrepreneurship and education innovation programmes. The Danny Dollar Academy is planting the seeds of entrepreneurship to 3, 4, and 5th grade students, it is driving change and impact, and watching it grow is very rewarding. The young entrepreneurs create a business as part of the programme and present it to the book author during a university tour.
The other university start-up is The Econ Games, a data analytics, research, and economics programme. The grand finale is the students present a solution for businesses or a policy memo. These two start-ups have allowed me the opportunity to work with the Federal Reserve Bank. These start-ups are using entrepreneurial thinking, skillsets, and processes to develop solutions for industries and policy makers.
The Econ Games
During the programme I worked with serial entrepreneurs, investors, and industry leaders allowing for project based and experiential learning. I went out of my way to work on real life start-ups and problems to ensure my skillsets and knowledge correlated with every module, speaker, and workshop. I had opportunities to work on scaling small businesses, ideation, prototypes, and projects within businesses and industries and more.
With a diverse cohort I have made connections that will carry after we graduate. I strategically worked in my groups, and attempted to connect with a different classmate daily. I definitely had the global experience I was yearning for in my MSc programme.
The MSc programme allows you to gain experience and to equip you with the skills you need to get a business off the ground and up and running. From ideation to go to market, each class, module, speaker, department, and experience is a piece of the puzzle to start or grow your own business.
Entrepreneurs are problem solvers and can solve problems in any career field. So rather than thinking about being an employee think of it from a business perspective, as problem solvers. You will gain a series of experiences in every module during the programme.
Front Square, Trinity College Dublin
You don’t need to start a business to be an entrepreneur. You can leverage entrepreneurial thinking and skillset in whatever your role is. The job market landscape is always changing especially now, but what the market wants whether you own a business or work at a firm is a problem solver.
More importantly I was able to build on your entrepreneurial mind set. Also, this programme builds transferrable high income skills and career skills to better start a career path in entrepreneurship.
Your career path includes many jobs and experiences, but it doesn’t need to follow a straight line. There’s no blueprint or timetable for climbing the career ladder, the great news is the Trinity Business School has a 92% rate of employment post-graduation. There are many opportunities that exist to explore the job market. Having access to the Careers Advising Department helped me articulate and refine my ideas, identify career fields and industries that match my entrepreneurial interests.
First, I applied early and once accepted I spent my spring break (March) in Dublin to prepare for housing, a campus visit and to meet my admissions manager. The visit validated my choice, so I started to plan. Do your homework and get uncomfortable to learn about a new culture. Just explore, you can walk from end of the city to the other in about 45 minutes (Jeni speed).
Moving abroad was exciting and seamless. I connected with the TCD Accommodation office and The Global Room, both were very helpful in assisting with their resources. I decided to rent my home sight unseen to ensure housing for an early arrival in July a huge risk and it was worth the excitement. This was important so I could engrain myself in culture and get my footing to start my semester off strong.
I took advantage of resources Trinity offers. Trinity Business School semester starts with orientation, and I recommend taking advantage of this opportunity. This is a highly useful as the college offers tips for a successful year. The theme this past year was “It’s up to YOU to make college interesting.”
I connected with the Graduate Student Union, Career Services, Tangent - Trinity’s Ideas Workspace which is home to our incubator and accelerator, and connected with my faculty support, which included professors and the MSc in Entrepreneurship Programme Director Dr. Giulio Buciuni.
BUT it does not stop here, you must also tell the world what you are doing, this is part of building your brand and for the world to see your value, rather them create the value for you. Talk about your “experiences” in the entrepreneurship programme. You need to communicate your competitive advantage and value proposition!
You will learn more about yourself in a Master’s programme. This is 100% true. Working independently, groups, and developing my academia skills has allowed me to take a step back, reflect, grow, and celebrate. All that you need is an entrepreneurial mindset and your opportunities are endless at Trinity College Dublin.