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Using the EMP in Leadership and Research Programs at the University of Auckland: A Conversation with EMP Practitioner Darsel Keane

By EMP Staff

EMP Certified Practitioner and Director of the University of Auckland Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in New Zealand Darsel Keane shares how she uses the Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile® (EMP) with students to enhance their entrepreneurial mindset and prepare them for careers in research.

EMP: So nice to talk with you today, Darsel. You use the EMP in two different programs at the Centre. One is the Doctoral Entrepreneurship Leadership Programme, and the other is the Researcher Hatchery. Tell us a little about those programs.

Keane: The Doctoral Entrepreneurship Leadership Programme is a free year-long programme for University of Auckland doctoral candidates from all different disciplines. The University of Auckland has about 42,000 students so we have students from education, business engineering, science, etc. The purpose of the program is to enhance the entrepreneurial mindset and expose the students to what an entrepreneurial research career might look like outside of academia. The Researcher Hatchery is a 12-week program designed to assist students in making an impact with their research by assessing its social or commercial entrepreneurial application. It is perfect for motivated individuals or teams who are enthusiastic about exploring the real-world applications of their research.

EMP: They both sound so interesting! How do you use the EMP to further the objectives of these programs?

Keane: In the Doctoral Entrepreneurship Leadership Programme, the EMP is integrated throughout the program. We start with a “snapshot” look at the beginning where students explore their results. They talk about what surprised them and what they most want to work on and develop during the program, and then they take it again at the end of the program as well, so the different EMP dimensions are woven in throughout the curriculum. In the Research Hatchery program, we mainly work with doctoral students and early career researchers, so we give them an opportunity to have an hour-long, one-on-one session with either me or another EMP Certified Practitioner to go over their results and help them get started on an action plan.

EMP: What do you see as the primary benefits of the EMP?

Keane: Since our role here is in building entrepreneurial mindset capabilities, we think the EMP is a very useful tool to use as a baseline so that students can see where they currently are and then decide where and how they want to develop. For the researchers, it helps them to think about what an entrepreneurial research career looks like, what might that mean to them and what do they need to do to get there. EMP results are also useful to us to see if our programs are actually making a difference.

EMP: What other resources do you use in addition to the EMP?

Keane: Our students do a lot of reflection, writing in their journals and small-group exercises. We have them prototype their research, interview someone of interest to them and then they need to capture their learnings through a website. We also use Legos Serious Play which is a unique tool that prompts a lot of dialogue among students. It also helps them to be creative and distance themselves a bit from their EMP results while still being able to intentionally work on certain skills.

EMP: How have your students responded to the EMP?

Keane: I think they really like getting the feedback and benefit from having the time to analyze where they are and where they want to be. Occasionally, some students get concerned if their scores are closer to the corporate manager group than to the entrepreneurial group, but we always coach them on the importance of context in interpreting their feedback and emphasize that the results are not necessarily a reflection of who they could be. I had a very interesting conversation with one student who wanted to start a business but had some lower scores. We talked about which scales were most important for him to develop and also what kind of people he might want to recruit around him to complement his strengths.

EMP: Yes, the context is extremely important when analyzing a report. As you know, there is no “good” or “bad” report, and there is no “perfect” profile. You’re really looking more for the optimal fit: who you are, how you’re wired, what you’re good at, what you could be good at, your job responsibilities, your goals, etc. All of these things come into play when figuring out how to capitalize on your strengths or work on your development needs and do that very intentionally. Some educators like to share their own EMP feedback report as a sample before giving students back their own results. The advantage of this is that they can speak directly to their own scores, but it also demonstrates how a competent person who is very effective in their job can have a variety of high and low scores. In other words, you don’t have to be off the charts high in every scale to be successful.

Keane: That’s a great idea!

EMP: Other educators have commented on how valuable the language of the EMP is to help students understand what the entrepreneurial mindset is. Have you found that to be true?

Keane: Yes! Since our students are from all different faculties, the language around entrepreneurial mindset is often new to them. When we first have them take the instrument, there is quite a bit of intrigue and curiosity for them as far as where they score and what that means for them, so having the scale definitions and a common language to discuss the concepts is very helpful. For the purposes of what we do, the EMP is extremely useful from a teaching experience.

EMP: Good to hear! Darsel, thank you so much for talking with us today. We really appreciate your work with the students at the University of Auckland. We’re so happy to have you on our team of EMP Certified Practitioners and wish you all the best as you continue to use the instrument!

Darsel Keane Headshot

Darsel Keane is Director of the University of Auckland Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She can be reached at [email protected].

University of Auckland Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship logo

The Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile® (EMP) [] is an excellent way to get an in-depth view of the entrepreneurial mindset and see how your personality traits and skill sets compare to those of corporate managers and entrepreneurs. Available online, the EMP provides scores on 14 different scales including Risk Acceptance, Passion, Need to Achieve, Future Focus, Idea Generation and Persistence among others. The EMP Feedback Report comes with a debrief video and a comprehensive Development Guide for continuous improvement.

Want to learn more about EMP Certification and how you can use it in your organization? Email us at [email protected] or visit the Certification page of the EMP website to see how you can start using the EMP with your clients and students.