This past summer, STVP and Thammasat University in Thailand launched the REE Fellows Program to bring students together from around the world and immerse them in Silicon Valley and the entrepreneurial experience. (REE is the Roundtable on Entrepreneurship Education, a series of educators conferences we conduct.) We invited REE faculty to nominate their best and brightest, and we selected 42 students from all over the world. On August 1, the students were placed on interdisciplinary, international teams and assigned two faculty mentors per team. For the next three months, the teams worked together remotely on a project in which they evaluated business opportunities related to electric vehicles.
The REE Fellows and their mentors then traveled to Stanford on Friday, October 19, to meet in person for the first time and spend a week together. While here, they toured and met with representatives from local companies, such as Google, Tesla, and IDEO; participated in intensive workshops and the REE USA conference; and prepared their final presentations, which were delivered to a panel of venture capitalists and industry experts.
It was an extraordinary experience for everyone involved, including the faculty. To a person, the students said it was a life-changing experience, and some returned home with entirely new career plans. Among the interesting, unexpected outcomes was learning to overcome the inherent challenges of a geographically dispersed project team, ranging from language and cultural issues to the selection and use of productivity tools.
Consider nominating your top students for this program next year. For more information, go to: http://ree.stanford.edu/usa/fellows.html or email Christina Harvett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you were a REE Fellow, please chime in and tell us in your own words what the experience meant to you. Perhaps you'll inspire others to apply.