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Chalk Talk

By Associated Press / January 18, 2005



Business schools train venture capitalists, aspiring entrepreneurs

In an effort to elevate their teaching beyond the usual case studies and guest speakers, a handful of schools are raising significant amounts of money to turn over to students who invest in real startups. The hope is to better train both aspiring venture capitalists and aspiring entrepreneurs, who will need to know what it takes to catch an investor's eye.

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"I went around to different VC firms in the [Salt Lake] valley and said I'd sweep their floors for them if they wanted. Then I saw this opportunity," says Mark Campbell, a University of Utah student involved with the University Venture Fund there. "It just kills what the classroom has to offer."

Utah is one of at least three business schools, along with the University of Michigan and Cornell University, where students essentially run venture-capital funds, along with the University of Michigan and Cornell University. It's nothing new for students to play with real money. But the schools say having students really get their hands dirty in the VC world - hearing pitches, identifying prospects, and helping companies get off the ground - is a challenge of a different order.

Adjusting test for the deaf

FREDERICK, MD. - Students at the Maryland School for the Deaf were asked on a standardized test to match words containing similar sounds, and state education officials promised to adjust the scores after acknowledging the problem.

The state Department of Education also will ensure that questions in this year's version of the Maryland School Assessment are appropriate for hearing-impaired students, says spokesman Bill Reinhard.

The changes follow complaints by James E. Tucker, superintendent of the Maryland School for the Deaf, that the reading section of the test asked third- and fourth-grade students to match pairs of words with similar sounds, such as the vowel sound in "castle."

"As a deaf person, I'm not familiar with sounds," Tucker told The Frederick News-Post. "I have a problem answering these questions myself, and I'm an education man."

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