Dr. Santos

Dr. Santos

Professor inspires an entrepreneurial mindset for a brighter future

Among Dr. Susana Santos’ many research topics, she’s especially passionate about how theSusana Santos entrepreneurial mindset can help low-income populations revamp their lives in uncertain circumstances.

In fact, Santos believes people can look at any situation through the lens of entrepreneurship to see a challenge as a new opportunity. “It is a skill set that will allow each individual to find a way to build his or her own job. The entrepreneurial mindset has important implications for the person. It is about transformation and empowerment; and as we create our own businesses, we can also create jobs for others,” said Santos, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship in the RCB.

An entrepreneurial mindset helps business owners as well as employees develop skills and find innovative ways to solve problems and accomplish tasks with passion and creativity, she said.

This is also an important lesson for Rowan students. “The philosophy of everyone on campus who teaches entrepreneurship is that the entrepreneurial mindset is valid and important for every single major,” she said. To be ready for the job market, they need to be able to explain to prospective employers their abilities to develop better solutions and ideas, Santos said.

Santos uses many tools to build an entrepreneurial mindset. During the pandemic, she has supported her concepts and theories with examples from “How I Built This,” a National Public Radio podcast featuring well-known innovators and entrepreneurs who describe how they built major enterprises.

“Students always connect more easily when they hear from role models,” she said.

She also offered “mindset vitamins” to her summer classes, based on work by Dr. Heidi Neck from Babson College. She posed a daily question or action item to students using a WhatsApp chat that they discussed.

“If you don’t think about it actively, if you don’t challenge yourself through that question, if you don’t reflect on the entrepreneurial mindset, it’s impossible to change your own,” said Santos, who received the Excellence in Online Learning Award in 2020 from Rowan University’s Global Learning and Partnerships. By participating in this activity, students also formed connections during an isolating time. Santos plans to use the tool again this summer.

Susana SantosSantos emphasized how fortunate students and faculty are to have access to speakers and events through the Rowan Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “The center is the core of everything we do,” she said. “Without RCIE’s amazing work, developing this mindset would be impossible. Every day I’m thankful to work with our amazing team and in a school that supports this entrepreneurship ecosystem.”