Enterprise immerses students in real-world experiences

HOUGHTON — Students at Michigan Technological University have opportunities for practical, real-world experience before they graduate, thanks to an enterprising initiative offered at the university.

Tech’s Enterprise program allows students the opportunity to become part of multidisciplinary teams which work like companies on real-world client projects, according to Michigan Tech’s website.

Many teams design, manufacture, and test their own prototypes, which provides an “end-to-end” project development experience. For example, the International Business Ventures Enterprise designed an infant heart annunciator for use in developing countries –and had the opportunity to test the lifesaving device on infants in Ghana.

Teams performed testing and analyses, made recommendations, manufactured parts, stayed within budgets and schedules, and managed multiple projects while faculty and industry members act as coaches and mentors.

Engineering majors often work together with humanities majors, or biomedical students and material science majors, the site states. Teams also collaborate with clients from industry, communities and government organizations, while working closely with a faculty adviser.

Through Enterprise, students have the opportunity to build on their existing skills and knowledge, as well as add new ones, the website states. The program encourages effective time management; leadership, project-management and team working skills, and also allows students to gain problem-solving and critical thinking skills, adaptability and global awareness in preparing for careers in the real world.

The Enterprise Program also works with local companies and entrepreneurs as well.

“The Enterprise Program is Michigan Tech’s answer to private industry’s need for graduates who have technical competence and understand the practical applications of skills and knowledge,” the site states.

Partnering with or sponsoring a team provides several benefits, including providing a fresh look at a particular industry’s challenges, and offering potential solution from an unbiased team.

It can also provide access to unique facilities and faculty expertise, as well as exposure to the latest tools, techniques and theory from the university and allow for networking with talented students with strong technical and business skills.