The Entrepreneurial Leadership certificate is offered through the Lerner College of Business and Economics and teaches students how to lead with innovation within a dynamic organization or environment. I spoke with Jonathan Amato, a junior in the certificate program, to learn more about entrepreneurial leadership and how entrepreneurship relates to his major, finance.
What is Entrepreneurial Leadership and what does it entail?
To me, entrepreneurial leadership is having the capacity to motivate and mobilize followers towards a common vision in terms of business. It encompasses all of the traditional leadership characteristics, but to me focuses more on risk taking, opportunity seeking, and grander visions.
Have you always been interested in entrepreneurship, or is it a newfound interest?
I think to some extent I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship. I remember in high school when I was deciding what major I wanted to study in college, I settled on entrepreneurship before finance. I love the idea of creating or being a part of a vision from scratch and building it into whatever you make of it. Ultimately though, I settled on finance because it is a more technical degree.
As a Finance major, what drew you to entrepreneurial leadership specifically?
It wasn’t until last year that I picked up the Entrepreneurial Leadership certificate because I understood the power that comes with being an effective leader in any capacity (small team, big boss, etc.). Leadership is a lifelong journey and goes beyond the workplace or the organization; it is effective in personal relationships and understanding others. Besides the fact that I didn’t want to graduate early and Entrepreneurial Leadership was a way to take more classes, I am genuinely interested in its principles. As a finance major, understanding organizational roles/structures and how to extract the most out of people is extremely important in meeting the bottom line. Now, I pay specific attention to how leaders act during day to day life. I pay attention to their body posture and visual cues, how they carry themselves, how they respond to tough situations, and how well they understand their followers. It made me realize that there are a lot of old school/ineffective leaders in our society today and change is needed.
What are the biggest similarities and differences between your Finance studies (or principles, ideas, theories, and practice) and Entrepreneurial Leadership?
I think the biggest similarities between the two is creating value and optimizing resources to create something better, whether it be leaner, more efficient, more profitable, etc. Both fields positively impact the world on an individual scale, like wealth management or small business, and on a global scale, for example hedge funds, private equity and multinational conglomerates. They are the foundation of the global economy by providing liquidity and assuming the risk/debt to create a better business, which in turn positively impacts the community. Wherein lies the difference is that finance is more the background or technical side of it, and entrepreneurship is more focused on the people/community side of it.
What surprised you most about entrepreneurship?
It’s all I expected it to be, in a sense. Besides, I look forward to my dedicated entrepreneurship classes coming up! I’ve taken LEAD100 - Leadership, Integrity and Change, and ENTR253 - Individual Leadership.
Has your understanding of entrepreneurship expanded your understanding of Finance? In other words, has it changed what you would like to do with Finance in the future, and do you plan on utilizing your entrepreneurial education in your life, studies, or career moving forward?
I think I can apply entrepreneurship to all facets of life by recognizing and seizing opportunities whenever they become present. Noticing the potential in things such as a product, a business model, an idea, and going through with it. Value added investing. At this point, I don’t know if entrepreneurship will be a part of my career, but its principles will be enforced when finding clients and business partners to invest with and recognizing opportunities as I mentioned before. I can see it being used in my personal life when I have the money to invest in secondary, passive sources of income such as a rental property. It also provides me with a greater appreciation for what we have all around us today and often take for granted by understanding all the work and effort and entrepreneurial principles that went into supporting it.
Lastly, would you recommend entrepreneurship to other students, and why?
I would 100% recommend entrepreneurship to other students. For one, I thoroughly enjoy it. It is fun and exciting to plant a seed of an idea and see it blossom into all that you wanted it to be and more. It is a strong life skill that even if you aren’t business oriented, can benefit from. I say, if you have the capacity in your scheduling, it doesn’t hurt to learn a little bit about a tangible skill and mindset that you can carry with you throughout your life endeavors.
Horn Entrepreneurship collaborates with all seven colleges to offer seven entrepreneurship-based certificates that can help expand students knowledge of entrepreneurship, as well as how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to a wide variety of fields.
These certificates offer students the opportunity to enhance their creativity, problem-solving abilities, leadership skills, and much more. Current certificate members offer nothing but praise for the program, and many cite this brief introduction to entrepreneurship as a wonderful starting point for any student who may be interested in business or innovation. To learn more about the certificates offered, check out our introductory article.
These certificate programs only require students to take 9-10 credits in order to reach completion, and many of the current certificate program members have emphasized how manageable and beneficial the certificate program has been for them. They stress how empowering an entrepreneurial education can be, and note that entrepreneurship has evolved their understanding of their other studies as well.
If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of entrepreneurship, becoming more confident in your workplace, or improving your leadership skills, then Entrepreneurial Leadership might be for you! Leadership skills can be extremely important, even for those who aren't looking to fulfill leadership roles. Understanding the fundamentals of leadership can bolster confidence and help make you the best coworker (or boss!) you can be as you progress in your career.
For more information about other entrepreneurial certificates please visit Horn Entrepreneurship's website. Specific requirements for the Entrepreneurship Leadership Certificate are also available through the website for Lerner College.
About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.