2006 Student Assignments

OPT263K, PHY243W

Lab 1
Lab 2
Lab 3/4
Group I
Sean White
Lab 3/4


Zhimin Shi
Heedeuk Shin
Nickolaos Savidis
Group II
Dianne Lancia


Lab 2
Peter McCarthy
Jie Zhang
Vikram Jagannathan
  • Report to the University of Rochester Kauffman Foundation Initiative (Funding agency) PDF

Learning technical skills on cutting-edge instrumentation, 2006 year students were simultaneously exposed to case studies of how real quantum information companies are using these instruments to create a market value from the ideas, and what challenges they are faced with. This course had an entrepreneurial component with the so-called summary business plan for quantum communication company. In addition to technical lab reports all students submitted a one summary business plan at the end of semester. It contained all elements of a real business plan for a company involved in the photon-counting instrumentation business, but a much shorter version than a full-fledged business plan. The example of a full-fledged business plan has been provided for a technological company as prepared by students taking the entrepreneurial course at Business School.

  • Undergraduate students’ suggestions regarding entrepreneurial part of the course

By e-mail undergraduate students were asked to answer two questions:
           (1) How did you get entrepreneurial experience from this course?
           (2) What are your suggestions for improvement of the entrepreneurial part of the course?

First student suggestions:

           (1) First, the course obviously gave us an entrepreneurial experience through the summary business plan. We learned about the main components of a business plan and worked together to produce ours. Having the sample business plan from a previous group was extremely helpful because it gave us a good model to work from. You were also able to provide support and feedback on any questions we had. In a science and engineering curriculum you don't usually have the opportunity to work on something like this and learn about this aspect of business and entrepreneurship. It is something that could be very beneficial to many science and engineering majors.
           (2) There aren't really very many ways that you could improve this part of the course. The sample business plan was very helpful, and you were available to help as well. However, it would have been very interesting if we could have worked with business students to prepare a more complete plan. But that would probably be a very time consuming project and it might take away from some of the work in the lab, which is also important.
           All in all, this was one of the most interesting classes I've taken. It's also
very well balanced between the laboratory work and he entrepreneurial aspect. I really hope that many more students get to have the same experience that I had.

Second student suggestions:

           (1) I thought about how I attained entrepreneurial experience and I first started at the base of the term. I began by defining entrepreneurship as being one who organizes, manages, and assumes risks for the business. This class focused on an aspect of organization of management based along the lines of understanding the financials of a business. With the business summary plan I was able to final use my accounting background and apply it to an aspect of optics by creating the four basic spreadsheets needed for the financials. We as a group were able to learn the structure of a business plan. I feel that this will allow me to have a set structure for a business summary if I was ever asked to do so at corporation that I might work at in the future. Having an outline to explain the management of the system is a great starting point.
           (2) The course did not focus on the risk of being a start up company. If it also included the risks associated with an optics company such as possibility of it failing, other companies competing for the market and other risk factors such as over spending it would improve the entrepreneurial aspect of things.

Third student suggestions:

           (1) The largest factor contributing to entrepreneurial experience was the
opportunity to work directly with the types of optical system used in the
laboratory course, and then be able to discern how one would go about marketing such products. In essence, the best experience came from learning the fundamental theory and usage procedures of the systems used, and then using that scientific insight to decide how best to sell a related product. This two-part approach toward learning about the optical systems used in the lab was very beneficial for valuable laboratory experience and also for real-world experience since simply collecting good data or designing a system is only one aspect of a very long and complex process toward success.
Thus, combining science and business into one course was beneficial toward
attaining a better understanding of future career success.
           (2) I believe that we could have benefited a bit more from information
regarding what current related companies are spending on marketing, research, employment, etc., as well as how much they spend, would have been very beneficial to writing the final business report. The designation of funds and allotment of personnel and time were factors that we as a group felt a bit unfounded in deciding. Since I personally had little to no business experience, it was difficult to conceive how to address many of these factors. Example company descriptions or something alike would have been greatly beneficial.

Fourth student suggestions:

           (1) I received entrepreneurial experience in three ways:
• By conducting experiments which have imminent industrial application, I was able to see how scientific theories and concepts can be applied to potential real-world products and applications. I feel as though I was in a research and development environment where I had to consider the practical uses of what we studied.
• In preparing laboratory reports, the possible applications of our experiments could be compared to the research of others though selective use of journal papers which may share similar theoretical concepts.
• By writing a summary business plan, one of our experiments could be presented as a real product with associated target market, development plan, costs, etc.
           (2) The entrepreneurial component of the course was well integrated into the course, so I don't feel major changes need to be made. For the future, it may be helpful to have a meeting with somebody from the business school who can give advice as to why business plans are prepared and the importance of each section. Also, having more business plan examples would be helpful.