Princeton-Wharton Executive Education for entrepreneurial faculty

Written by
Claire Shin '25
Feb. 2, 2022

Nine Princeton faculty members gained invaluable knowledge during the most recent Princeton-Wharton Entrepreneurship Executive Education Program, held in mid-January. The program is designed to help faculty members better understand important aspects of turning innovations from their scholarship into entrepreneurial ventures. Another objective of the program is to prepare faculty members to take on advisory roles at ventures, including nonprofits, formed from their innovations. During the week-long program, Wharton professor Ethan Mollick takes the class through a progressive series of topics related to entrepreneurship, including idea generation, building and scaling an organization, raising funds, and more.

Dalton Conley, the Henry Putnam University Professor in Sociology, was enthusiastic about how much the program helped him: “The course was so great. It made the process of taking an idea and turning it into a start-up seem like a real, step-by-step process rather than a vague fantasy.” Conley is developing a better online rating system called the costly slider. “For consumers and companies who are sick of junky online ratings that result in dissatisfaction and product returns, the costly slider is a widget that tracks the true quality of goods and services with much less noise. Unlike the ubiquitous five-star approach, we induce the user to spend more time to give a very low or very high score by making the slider slow down as it goes to either extreme,” Conley said. His research shows that the costly slider approach results in truer ratings that can increase consumer satisfaction and reduce costs associated with returns.

In addition to Princeton faculty, a small group of professors from other New Jersey universities are invited to participate in each program.  This time faculty from Seton Hall, New Jersey Institute of Technology, The College of New Jersey and Mercer County Community College were invited to join. Cathy McBarnette-Neilley, a faculty member at Mercer County Community College and founder of Spin Doctor Laundromat, said the most valuable thing she learned was, “that there are communities of inventors that are willing and able to assist you on your journey by providing information, feedback and referrals.”

The Princeton-Wharton program is just one of several programs developed by Princeton to support the translation of research and scholarship by faculty on campus across technology, the life sciences, arts and humanities. “I can't believe how much we learned in four days,” said Conley. “Most importantly, it got me enthused to take the next step and try to develop a minimum viable product.”

For more information about the Princeton-Wharton program or other programs in entrepreneurship for Princeton faculty, please contact Anne-Marie Maman at PEC or Tony Williams at Princeton’s Office of Technology Licensing.

Registration for the June 2022 cohort will open later this spring. Subscribe to the PEC newsletter to stay informed on this and other entrepreneurial programs at Princeton.