Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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May 29, 2024 | Tom Ballard

U News | Haslam College recieves national recognition

Babson College launches Metropoulos Institute for Entrepreneurship and Technology after transformational gift from alum.

From the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The Haslam College of Business placed No. 5 among all public and private U.S. schools in the Financial Times’ 2024 Custom Executive Education Ranking. Haslam rose to No. 2 among only U.S. public institutions. The college ranked No. 24 among all business schools worldwide.

“Haslam strives to deliver custom executive education experiences that meet our clients’ specific talent development needs, drawing on the expertise of world-class faculty and providing intentional opportunities for participants to put their learning into practice,” said Amy Cathey, the college’s associate dean for graduate and executive education. “Our executive education programming is delivered in multiple formats, allowing participants around the globe to engage in courses. We are gratified that The Financial Times, and especially our clients, have acknowledged the quality of Haslam’s executive education offerings with this ranking.”

From Babson College:

The C. Dean Metropoulos Institute for Entrepreneurship and Technology is expected to open in the fall after a transformational gift from the alum of the college. Building on Babson College’s history of success preparing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders to change the world, the new institute will bolster Babson’s leading entrepreneurial education into the leadership ranks of technology and artificial intelligence (AI).

The Metropoulos Institute for Entrepreneurship and Technology will support and expand curricular and cocurricular programs that amplify the importance of technological innovation in the entrepreneurial process. Thought leadership initiatives will explore the critical need for guardrails when navigating the benefits and risks of emerging technologies and AI and their adoption in industry, medicine, and the environment.

“Babson’s ability to embrace new technologies and rapidly integrate them into our academic and experiential endeavors will be critical to our continued success,” Babson President Stephen Spinelli Jr. said. “It is inspiring to have such an innovative alumnus like C. Dean Metropoulos support our work and advance our leadership in this space.”

From the University of South Florida:

The Department of Defense (DoD) challenged the country’s top cybersecurity minds to compete in a skills competition, and a University of South Florida graduate student came out on top during the spring 2024 event.

The winner was CyberHerd team captain Waseem Albaba who took first place in the DoD’s Cyber Sentinel Skills Challenge taht invites any U.S. citizen 18 and older to apply  for entry. Around 3,000 competitors, including seasoned industry veterans and university students, logged on for the eight-hour capture-the-flag (CTF) contest.

Taking a top prize – with a cash reward between $500 and $5,000 – puts winners in an elite class of cybersecurity pros. More important, for Albaba, it’s proof that educational opportunities paired with a dedication to the craft are a recipe for success.

During the competition, participants are given real-world challenges that require in-demand skillsets. The DoD said the tests measure understanding of technical, analytical and strategic abilities in forensics, web security, reverse engineering, reconnaissance, and malware analysis.

From Drexel University: reports that Drexel University will fund three more start-ups, a continuation of its goal to invest in the innovative ideas coming out of its community. This will mark the second time Drexel’s Innovation Fund provided $150,000 grants to university-affiliated start-ups.

“We aspire to be a friends and family investor, as opposed to a professional investor,” Shintaro Kaido, Vice Provost for Innovation and Executive Director of Drexel Applied Innovation, told “The program’s objective is to get those early stage companies institutional input and capital faster than if they didn’t have the funding from our program.”

The fund received over 30 applications for its second cohort, Kaido said. An investment advisory committee made up of Drexel alumni who work in innovation or venture capital questioned the founders in a months-long due diligence process before deciding how to invest the funds. The Innovation Fund selected the winning companies based on potential societal impact and the passion that the founders showed for their businesses.

Drexel launched the Innovation Fund in January 2023 as a way to invest in start-ups and spinouts in the university’s ecosystem.

From Quincy University:

Thanks to a major gift from two alumni – Mike and Carole (Hughes) Hennessy, Quincy University (QU) has created a new Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to support faculty and students at the Illinois-based institution.

“We have been supporting entrepreneurship and self-employment education for quite some time,” said the Hennessys in a statement. “Some of the most impactful programs have been at smaller liberal arts schools like QU. We have been having very productive discussions with QU and are in the process of helping make strong connections to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It’s very encouraging!”

The center will provide interdisciplinary programming and will offer professional development, seminars, events, and courses for alumni and the local community.

“Entrepreneurial thinking and skills complement and expand the study and practice of business as well as many other disciplines, such as the arts, science and technology, human services, humanities, and education,” said Sarah Vordtriede-Patton, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Entrepreneurial initiative and innovation are critical attributes in a rapidly changing economy and in the world today and into the future.”

From Around the Country:

Poets & Quants reports that one of the hottest conversations at business schools across the country, particularly for MBAs not interested in more traditional MBA landing spots, is Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA). It entails finding, buying, and operating established small- to medium-sized businesses, often family owned and providing needed services in their communities. Taught at Harvard and Stanford for decades, ETA courses and resources are now exploding at B-schools of all tiers.

Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management offers a comprehensive ETA track in its competitive Zell Fellowship program. The program offers coaching, mentoring, and connection to ETA searchers as well as CEOs who have acquired small businesses. The Wharton School received a $10 million gift in 2022 to establish ETA programming at University of Pennsylvania’s Venture Lab. Dartmouth Tuck, Duke Fuqua, Babson, and Case Western’s Weatherhead also offer ETA courses, conferences, or other programming to support aspiring entrepreneurs in the space.

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