Undergraduate Experiences

Developing the Next Generation of Technology Leaders

Technical experts are trained to solve technical problems, while innovation leaders collaborate across disciplines to translate technical ideas into customer solutions that generate economic and social value. TLI offers opportunities for undergraduate science and engineering students at the University of Minnesota to jumpstart their careers and distinguish themselves as technology and innovation leaders. TLI’s project-based undergraduate experiences help STEM students supplement their technical expertise with the mindset, toolset, skillset and network required to become successful innovation leaders.

MOT 4001: Leadership, Professionalism and Business Basics for Engineers

MOT 4001 is designed to provide scientists and engineers with a working knowledge of the broader business context of technology. The course content and the experiential learning approach reflect the real-world requirements and challenges technical professionals need to master in order to thrive in collaborative, project team environments. Similar to the MOT graduate program, this two-credit course will broaden students' personal leadership abilities, enabling technical professionals to increase their business impact and career success.

Visit MyU portal for course availability and to register.


Startup Success Story

Trong Dong is a graduate of TLI's M.S. in Medical Device Innovation (MDI) program. While in the program, Trong took the STARTUP course as an elective to explore the commercial potential of an idea he and his wife had for an improved recruiting application. They used the Lean Startup methodology learned in class to develop and refine their idea for their app, Rakuna, which went on to become a finalist in the MN Cup student division and an alumnus of the Founder's Space accelerator in San Francisco. It is now a profitable business venture for them.


TLI co-leads Minnesota Innovation Corps (MIN-Corps), the University of Minnesota's National Science Foundation's-sponsored Innovation Corps (I-Corps™), in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship and the Office for Technology Commercialization. MIN-Corps is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and focuses on expanding the skill set of STEM students and faculty to help them explore the commercial potential and pathways for their discoveries and intellectual property (IP).

STARTUP: Customer Development & Testing Application

If you have an innovation idea and want to explore its commercial potential, the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship and the Technological Leadership Institute co-teach a two-credit STARTUP course (MGMT 4100/6100) as part of MIN-Corps. This 14-week hands-on learning experience gets students out of the classroom to investigate the market and potential business model for their ideas while getting coaching from experienced industry mentors and faculty advisors.

Visit the MIN-Corps website for testimonials from past participants and information on how to apply.

Value Proposition Design Workshop

This non-credit, eight-week workshop is offered every semester for students or faculty members who want to explore the commercial potential of their ideas or IP but are not interested in academic credit or a semester-long course.  The workshops include four hands-on sessions focused on product-market fit, customer discovery, pathways to commercialization, and market assessment. For university-based teams, NSF-funded grants (up to $3,000) are available for customer research. Successful completion by academic teams can lead to nomination to the I-Corps National Teams program, which includes a $50,000 grant. These workshops are also valuable for innovators planning to apply for SBIR/STTR grants.  Sessions include individual mentoring and advice from industry executives and entrepreneurs.

Visit the MIN-Corps website for information on how to apply.

Contact Us

To learn more about Technological Leadership Institute’s undergraduate experiences please contact the director of TLI undergraduate experiences, Kirk Froggatt.