Entrepreneurial Student Society
In 2017 a new legal framework required universities in Romania to create an institutional structure called “Entrepreneurial Student Society”, giving them a lot of autonomy in making this structure functional and efficient. It is an example of institutional change at a systemic scale in higher education sector.
Higher education institutions are living in a global context in which partnering with others is the only solution for development. In many cases, this might generate new institutional obligations, and therefore, new challenges to be overcome. Academic leadership has managed the institutional mission in specific ways balancing activities in the area of research plus education, plus commitment to society. This is no longer just a declarative interest, higher education institutions having to find efficient ways to generate impact on a long term. They are not just educational providers, but institutions where students become trained for a professional and personal development, being capable to find a proper job during and after graduation in relationship with the achieved competences. At the same time, higher education institutions are not only research generators, but innovative and real changers in the society.
Romanian higher education institutions have realized that in the contemporary context, preparing students for the labour market becomes more and more difficult. There has been a profound shift of perception and access to higher education in Romania, from the case where only ambitious and motivated people, supported by their families could go to university, to the case where, due to the huge increasing number of higher education institutions, almost all people who wanted to get a higher education, were capable to access one and get a degree. Therefore, some graduated became more qualified for what the labour market required. In this context, the access to the labour market has become more restricted, graduates facing difficulties in finding a proper job.
Therefore, entrepreneurship has become clearly that might be an option for graduates. Sessions on entrepreneurship, as extracurricular activities have multiplied in all universities, and teaching entrepreneurship has become also part of curricular changes at economical and business studies. Student associations started to develop their own projects for developing entrepreneurial competences for their colleagues. An important change came into force in 2017 when the minister for national education (former rector, at that time) signed an order for building an institutional structure in every university called “Entrepreneurial Student Society”.
Main objectives of the case study are the following:
• to explain the context for the development of the “Entrepreneurial Student Society”;
• to describe the role of the “Entrepreneurial Student Society”;
• to identify the impact of the “Entrepreneurial Student Society”.