Is it smart to go to school for entrepreneurship?

9 aspiring tycoons tell FSB how the classes they took affected their businesses.

Emile Petrone, 22
The Hybrid
Emile Petrone, 22
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Starting a business was the last thing on my mind when, as a UNC political science major, I interned at the U.S. Senate the summer after my sophomore year. Every day I'd hear Senators discuss hot topics such as stem cell research and global warming, but I learned that turning talk into reality was a frustratingly slow process. I then took an intro entrepreneurship course and realized I might be more suited to business ownership than politics. What appealed to me was that running a business means pursuing your own vision instead of working for someone else's.

The next semester I took professor Ted Zoller's commercial-ventures workshop, which requires students to develop a business idea. My idea addressed the need to speed up the transfer of technology from the lab to the marketplace.

Chemistry professors and MBA students told me they had trouble finding experts in their field to support their research, and that made it difficult for them to receive funding for their projects. It hit me that a networking site for academics could be a great resource. I developed Knowble (knowble.net), an online community where experts in all areas can communicate.

The UNC School of Medicine gave me $20,000 in funding. More than 30 universities worldwide now want to test the site. I may return to Washington someday, but if I do, I hope to see technology development moving a bit faster.
- As told to Emily Maltby

The Professional

The Undergrad

The E-Learner

The Hybrid

The Idea Guy

The MBA

The Serial Entrepreneur

The Owner

The Heir
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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.