To achieve this, Tandon used his Bush Fellowship to enroll at the University of Minnesota. The only catch? The university didn’t have a doctoral program in entrepreneurship at the time. Undaunted, Tandon
went to the Board of Regents and created his own.
“To work on my doctoral dissertation, I studied 300 start-up ventures — half successful, half failures,” he explains. “That dissertation really was the very first doctoral dissertation in the field of entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota and might have been one of the first in the country.”
The Fellowship not only helped him finish the dissertation, it also established him as one of the foremost experts in the field of entrepreneurship. Since completing the program 30 years ago, Tandon developed and implemented the entrepreneurship program at the University of St. Thomas, built three different companies, and is now back at the University of St. Thomas as an executive fellow.
In addition, Tandon launched Rocket Network, a community of leaders of fast growing enterprises, entrepreneurs and students. These individuals share a singular focus: to build stronger companies by helping current and future entrepreneurs navigate uncharted waters.
“The Rocket Network aspires to combine conceptual frameworks with practical experience to help entrepreneurs,” Tandon explains. “All of this is offered to entrepreneurs at no charge. It is my way of giving back to society.”