Developed by Brian Hanley, Master's of Engineering degree candidate at Lehigh University

Why Entrepreneurship?


My father starts his day long before the sun rises. He lets his coffee brew while the bath water runs. He dresses and then drinks his coffee black, hurrying to consume a full newspaper column before the birds begin chirping. Although he has no boss to check in with and no deadlines to meet, punctuality defines the structure of his professional life.


As a nineteen-year-old, my father trash-picked a set of old wicker furniture and turned his findings into a profit. Virtually from thin air, he started what would evolve into a bustling antique business. Growing up immersed in that business, it seemed inevitable that I would learn the trade. I learned early that the key to a successful antique dealer is twofold. First, profit depends on the dealer’s ability to scrutinize furniture with a keen eye in order to most accurately predict its auction value. Second, a consistent income requires that the dealer accumulate product diversity. Wooden chairs, for example, are more lucrative in the dead of winter than outside benches, which tend to fare better in the summer months. Considering the market’s seemingly seasonal appetite, to be successful, the dealer must diversify his or her inventory.


As a child, it beleaguered me that my father’s business had no place for innovative products. Because antiques, by most definitions, were created at least one century ago, an antique dealer is responsible, not for product development, but for bringing preexisting products to market. I felt compelled nonetheless to make manifest my creative spirit.


When I turned eight, I took initiative, launching a “trash week” service that would save my neighbors invaluable time and energy. My business model was simple. Every Wednesday, I dragged my neighbors’ trashcans from their side yards to their curb for pickup. Every Thursday, I returned to slide the empty cans back to the side yards and collected my dues: $5.00 a house. By the time I was nine, thirteen households employed my service, bringing my weekly earnings to $65.00 and making me undoubtedly the richest nine-year-old on the block.


An education from Lehigh University was, aside from life itself, my father’s proudest and most important gift to me. It ensured that my professional future would rest on a more stable foundation than my entrepreneurial spirit alone. My father’s formal education ended when he graduated from high school. It never ceases to amuse him: talking about the careers he could have led, the companies he could have founded, had he gone to college. In covering my Lehigh tuition, my father afforded me the opportunity that evaded him too early in life—the costly education that his own father could not provide.


Lehigh’s Professional Master’s of Engineering Degree in Technical Entrepreneurship offers the sort of educational opportunity that my father values most. The program trains business savvy students in the art and practice of launching new companies. The program does not mold students into conformity. On the contrary, it builds upon their individual strengths. It promotes intellectual curiosity while fostering a creative culture. It kindles the sparks that ignite the human genius.


Like my father’s, my dream is to establish my own company. A Master’s Degree in Technical Entrepreneurship is the springboard that will launch that dream forward. My mind races with ideas for new products, business models, and branding strategies. A Master’s Degree in Technical Entrepreneurship is the gateway to actualizing those ideas. What I seek above all else is the chance to give tangible expression to the entrepreneurial spirit that has haunted me since birth.

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