Leveraging Education to Create Opportunity

Our focus has been around creating opportunity by leveraging educational resources in our ecosystem. With an entrepreneurial vision that is focused around value creation, we give a strategic context for all the knowledge we share and create within the Cornell community. When we do that, we build something that is sustainable and honors our students, graduates, faculty, staff, and industry partners who fully engage in enriching our environment, helping us build an entrepreneurial value chain engine that yields success as it evolves each semester.

This semester, thanks to the vision and support of the faculty teaching entrepreneurship courses at SHA, the entrepreneurship concentration for SHA students was approved and we began work to reposition and grow our entrepreneurship course offerings to promote enrollment for students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The upcoming Winter Session 2015 marks our entry into online entrepreneurship education with two courses being offered.

A new project titled the Zalaznick Networking Challenge was launched in HADM 3135/HADM 6135: Conversations with Entrepreneurs. The objective of the Zalaznick Networking Challenge is to foster entrepreneurial networking within the Cornell alumni community as a supplement to the coursework currently incorporated into the class. The interviews will be showcased on the newly launched iTunesU podcast series called The Make a Difference (MAD) Impact: Conversations with Entrepreneurs.

Our support for entrepreneurial students goes beyond the classroom through office hours held in The Pillsbury Institute. Thanks to our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EnIRs) and the business consultations with Professor Klausner, we doubled the number of sessions provided since last fall. This increase in support for students seeking entrepreneurial assistance is testament to the strong commitment and the help of our operations team, including Kristen Ciferri, Kathy Terry, and Leslee Kane.

This team is working to finalize the details of our inaugural Hospitality Entrepreneurship Roundtable in February where we will welcome over 25 leaders in entrepreneurship to work with our entrepreneurship faculty to discuss topics such as franchising and self-employment, funding, opportunity recognition, 3-D printing and automation, and start-up legal considerations. I’m also looking forward to working with the Center for Hospitality Research on a Technology Entrepreneurship Roundtable in April. Both of the roundtables will kick-off with a speed networking event that is aimed to engage Cornellians as they build their networks.

In November, Ivey published the case Innovation at the Leading Hotels of the World that I wrote with Saniya Gandhi, Kelly McDarby, and Joanne Jihwan Park. This case highlights the result of the independent study collaboration with The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. (LHW), a consortium of 430 luxury hotels worldwide and The Pillsbury Institute. The case describes how we created a tool that allows LHW to quantify each hotel’s performance, based on its engagement with its services. I am looking forward to using this case class in HADM 4180/6180: Technology for Bootstrapped Entrepreneurship this spring.

Our calendar for Spring 2015 activities is fully set. I hope you will become engaged by participating in one or more of the opportunities listed at We would love to work with you.

To making a difference as we create opportunity,

Mona Anita K. Olsen, PhD | SHA ‘04 |
Visiting Assistant Professor
Assistant Academic Director of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship

Year in Review Video