University-Wide Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MEI)

The mission of the University-Wide Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MEI) is to prepare Cornell students to be agents of change in careers that require the application of entrepreneurial thinking and action to economic and social challenges. Such careers include: 1) capitalizing on opportunities through the creation of new businesses; 2) working within startups or large innovative firms; 3) participating in initiatives to address social and environmental issues; and/or 4) contributing to entrepreneurial ecosystems through consulting, finance, accounting, law, and policy.

Underlying the MEI is the premise that the value of entrepreneurship education is to create an innovative, creative mindset and to add a set of entrepreneurial tools and experiences that will prepare students from across Cornell as citizens and professionals. There is no expectation that students have their own startup ideas nor that they necessarily aspire to become founders; the minor is not exclusively about ideation or the practical aspects of starting a company. Instead, it offers a more general approach to stimulate entrepreneurial thinking and problem solving by including courses that focus on generalized academic frameworks, exploring a range of contexts and challenges.

Eligibility for the Minor

The MEI is available to all undergraduate students graduating in fall 2018 or later across all colleges at Cornell University, including the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. In addition, the University-Wide Business Minorbusiness minor for engineers, and business minor for life sciences majors are administered by the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

Declaration of Intent to Minor

Please visit the Business Minors website to enroll in the minor. To complete the Declaration of Intent, select the current and future courses to fulfill each category in the minor.

The declaration is intended to signal the interest and intent of a student to pursue the minor. Once the application has been submitted, students receive notification and are officially considered part of the program. There is no GPA requirement for admission to the MEI. Prospective students should be aware that declaring intent for the minor does not guarantee enrollment in any of the minor courses. The entrepreneurship courses are very popular, and students are strongly encouraged to plan ahead in order to meet the minor course requirements.

After fully reviewing the Overview of Coursework and Matrix for Guided Exploration, students enrolling in the minor should address further questions on the minor to the MEI office; however, we do not intend to provide in-depth mentoring or individualized consultation. To obtain entrepreneurial mentoring, resources, and support, students are encouraged to utilize Blackstone LaunchPad through Entrepreneurship at Cornell. Students will also be put on a notification list that will be used to announce new offerings and opportunities for entrepreneurship-related programming through Entrepreneurship at Cornell and the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship.

How to Declare and Complete the Minor

  1. Review: Review the Overview of Coursework section below and the Matrix for Guided Exploration (PDF) to better understand the minor.
  2. Plan: Plan a course of study to complete the minor requirements.
  3. Apply and Declare Intent: Complete the online application on the Business Minors website and complete the Declaration of Intent by selecting current and future courses to fulfill each category in the minor.
  4. Certify: Once all coursework has been completed, certify completion of the MEI by May 1 of your senior year (if graduating in the spring) or by December 1 (if graduating in the fall).

Overview of Coursework

Recommended Foundational Subjects

Introductory courses in foundational subjects such as microeconomics, accounting, finance, management, marketing, and operations can be helpful in preparing for the MEI. Some courses in the MEI may require a specific prerequisite course, so participants should plan their selection accordingly. Courses with a prerequisite are marked with a “P.”

Required Courses

  • The minor requires a total of 17 credits, with the structure shown in the table below.
  • All courses taken for the minor must be taken for a letter grade and must receive a C or above.
  • We recommend that students undertake the course requirements in sequence to the extent possible, completing the Perspectives and Teams and People courses first, then the Entrepreneurship in Practice course, and then the Guided Exploration courses.
Category Credits Purpose
1. Perspectives 3 Foundational perspectives on entrepreneurship
2. Teams and People 2 Theories and frameworks for leading and working in teams
3. Entrepreneurship in Practice 3 Experiential courses that require participants to work in a team to explore an opportunity, do customer development, create a business, and deliver a written and oral presentation.
4. Guided Exploration 9 Customize the minor to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation in different industries and organizational settings.

Perspectives Course (3 credits required)


  • AEM 2220 – Foundational Perspectives and Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship

Teams and People (2 credits required)

One of the following courses is required:

  • HADM 4835 – Leading and Managing Teams (3 credits) (P)
  • HADM 4115 – Managing Professional Relationships (2 credits) (P)
  • HADM 4170 – Hospitality Leadership (2 credits) (P)
  • ILRHR 4603 – Work Groups and Teams (2 credits) (P)
  • ILROB 4230 – Leadership in Organizations (4 credits)
  • NBA 5150 – Leadership Theory and Practice (non-Johnson only: 3 credits)
  • NCC 5540 – Managing and Leading in Organizations (non-Johnson only: 3 credits)

** Credits earned in excess of the 2 required in this category may not be applied to the required 9 credits of Guided Exploration.

Entrepreneurship in Practice (3 credits required)

One of the following courses is required:

  • AEM 3249 – Entrepreneurial Marketing and Strategy (3 credits)
  • AEM 3250 – Business Plan Process for New Ventures (4 credits) (P)
  • HADM 4145 – Developing a Hospitality Business Plan (3 credits)
  • MAE 4610 / ORIE 4152 / ENGRG 4610 – Entrepreneurship for Engineers (3 credits)
  • NBA 3000 – Entrepreneurship and Private Equity (non-Johnson only: 3 credits)

** Up to 4 credits earned in excess of the 3 required in this category may be applied to the required 9 credits of Guided Exploration.

Guided Exploration (9 credits required)

Students are required to take 9 credits of entrepreneurship courses that are taught in a particular context for entrepreneurship. This allows students to explore areas of entrepreneurship that are of particular interest to them, rather than taking a rigid set of required upper-level courses.

For example, a student majoring in food science, design, or engineering can take the core courses related to their field and then build upon this core with courses from the MEI (all of which are specifically related to entrepreneurship and innovation) that are most relevant to their field of study.

However, for those students that are less self-directed, we also seek to provide guidance (via the Matrix for Guided Exploration (PDF)) regarding what courses might logically fit together into a coherent curriculum. In this case, students can identify the organizational stage (vertical) and industry sector (horizontal) of interest and choose courses according to the matrix. We emphasize that either approach is acceptable; students are free to design their own “track” in fields that interest them (e.g., startup sports business, fashion ventures, etc.) and these should not be perceived as any less legitimate for not having been explicitly included as rows or columns.

If students wish to count a course not listed on the matrix towards a particular focus in entrepreneurship, they can petition the MEI academic director by submitting a transfer request on the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business minors website. Only courses that relate to entrepreneurship and innovation in a non-trivial sense will be considered.

If students opt to take a second course from the Entrepreneurship in Practice category, up to 4 credits can be counted toward the 9 required Guided Exploration credits.

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