UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When Braden Heisler received a “failure resume” assignment for his ENGR 407: Technology-Based Entrepreneurship class, he took the project seriously, creating an “anti-resume” that listed all his presumed failures — from failed ideas to skills which he believes he lacks.
Like many of his classmates, Heisler, a junior majoring in industrial engineering, highlighted internship application rejections as self-defined failures. He specifically discussed two dismissed applications to the Tesla internship program in summer 2018 and 2019, sparking a conversation between Heisler, his classmates and course instructor Brad Groznik on why these rejections may happen.
Through this process, Groznik realized that many students may not know how to make themselves stand out during the application process. When he asked himself what he might do to attract Tesla’s attention, Groznik’s thoughts jumped to designing and building his own electric car as an application submission. After consulting with Ted Graef, director of engineering entrepreneurship, Groznik decided to challenge his students’ intrapreneurial mindset by asking them to create a new product not already in Tesla’s wheelhouse that would that set them apart — a scooter.
In addition to designing the scooter, the student teams created competitive analyses, value propositions, launch strategies, funding requests — all things that require thinking beyond the design.