Innovation Nation


First-Year Experience

Innovate. Engage. Support.


College of Business students are part of “Innovation Nation,” the living–learning community of business students. You live in a residence hall with business studnets where you dive into a variety of classes and team projects. During your first year, you and your business teammates run your own microbusiness — real money, real profits, real goods and services. Why? Because you’re learning how to think like an entrepreneur, embrace innovation and take responsibility.

As an Innovation Nation student, you have access to the DAMlab makerspace — a partnership between the College of Business and the College of Engineering. Located in Buxton Hall, the DAMlab gives you hands-on experience with design and prototyping tools, while enabling them to realize their business ideas. First-year students in the Colleges of Business and Engineering are given 24/7 access to the DAMlab.

A group of first-year students on move-in day
Beaver Spotlight

Being in Innovation Nation might be challenging and test your limits, but I can also tell you it'll be so much fun and so rewarding. You'll see it is all worth it. Keep your head down and work hard, but take your time and enjoy the ride. It’s unlike anything you will ever do.

Lily Beck, Management


College is much more than sitting in class, listening to lectures and spending long hours in the library. College is an awakening. It’s the time for you to grow as an individual and broaden your overall perspective of the world. You’re ready to think critically, to appreciate diversity, to develop a mindset of service, and to cultivate a global perspective. Welcome to Innovation Nation.All first-year students complete an engaging three-course series within your living-learning communities. The classes expand your business knowledge foundation and enhance your skills in communication, critical thinking, collaboration and civic engagement.

  • BA 160: B-Engaged (fall term): You discover your personal leadership style, engage in activities to help you acclimate to college and participate in a design-thinking challenge to develop creative solutions to some of your most pressing challenges. By thinking like a designer and taking a human-centered approach to innovation, you dig deeply into problems and open yourself up to creative possibilities, focusing in on what’s most desirable, feasible and viable.
  • BA 161: Awareness to Action (winter term): You learn how companies gain a competitive edge and succeed in the marketplace. You use this knowledge to develop an idea for your own business, create a business strategy and plan the product launch you'll conduct for BA 162.
  • BA 162: Ideas to Reality (spring term): It’s time to put theory into practice. After planning what it takes to succeed, you launch a microbusiness with your classmates. You set a profit goal, outline a marketing plan and sell your products. Design students redesign a space on campus, working with clients to outline a plan, set a budget and implement it.

Our Innovation Nation living-learning experience for all first-year students is where you can connect with faculty and fellow students, developing a sense of belonging from day one. Research shows that students in living-learning communities are more persistent, engaged and connected to their classmates, college and community. All first-year students live in one of two neighboring residence halls, Weatherford or Poling. Innovation Nation classes are taught in the residence halls. Both are steps away from the DAMlab makerspace and Austin Hall.


Don’t blindly follow your passions. Imagine being a mountain biker who went pro. Eventually, it would begin to feel more like a job than a love. Use your passions as a guide, but be open to discovering new places you excel at, places that you wouldn’t have considered if you had blindly followed your passions.

Sierra Bechdoldt


You won’t be doing this alone! Not only do you get your entire residence hall to support you, but each first-year student is also connected with an upperclass mentor to walk you through everything College of Business. Mentors are a great source for what classes to take, fun things to do on campus, and ways to get ahead during your college career.

The College Business comes with a full cheerleading section as well, known as student engagement. The student engagement team is with you every step of the way from convocation to commencement. They work closely with the Career Success Center to manage your professional development throughout college. They also help to keep tabs on your academic progress through the Advising office.

Ask just about anyone when and where they learned about financial literacy, and most people will answer “No one.” We do not want that to be YOUR answer, so starting in your first year, financial literacy is front and center. Learn how to pay for college, budget for the future, understand basic credit scores and a whole lot more. This is built into the classes you are earning credit for each year, so you will come out of the College of Business armed with the information you need for a healthy financial start.