Meet Your Professor: Rick Rasmussen

Meet Your Professor: Rick Rasmussen
Recruiting students from across the U.S., Campus is the new alternative to online community college. Our online associate degree in business program consists of 100% live, online classes taught by professors who also teach at top-ranked colleges and universities. Read on to learn more about our talented teaching team.

Silicon Valley native Rick Rasmussen teaches at the University of California, Berkeley and has previously designed a variety of entrepreneurship courses for their programming. He’s also an adjunct professor for the McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, where he has taught classes like Advanced Entrepreneurship / New Venture Creation. What’s more, he conducted several classes around the world, including Kazakhstan, South Korea, and Ukraine, among others — all over the span of his 20 years of teaching experience.

Beyond his rich background in teaching, Rasmussen advises accelerators and government-led economic initiatives in several countries. He even serves as Managing Director for an international strategic advisory firm, Concordia Ventures.

Connections at Campus

“This is not the story I would normally tell, but one reason I teach at Campus is because my friend, Todd Fitch, who was part of my MBA study group back in the day, told me about it and how he’d been teaching there,” Rasmussen shared. “He said great things about it, and whenever any one of my friends calls me and says, ‘Let's go try something together.’ I say, ‘I'm in, Let's go.’“

Beyond his personal connection to Campus Professor Todd Fitch, Rasmussen also took a great interest in teaching at Campus to share his expertise with more students across the country.

“I teach innovation, entrepreneurship, and venture capital at some of the leading universities in the world, and I get the privilege of working with undergraduates, graduate students, Ph.D.s, executive education, and other populations,” Rasmussen told Campus. “But frankly, when I heard about Campus’s mission about offering students opportunities that they hadn’t had before, I was super excited. You know, entrepreneurship is a subject that really spans everything, and I want to bring that capability to the Campus population. I'm super excited about it.”

On Teaching Entrepreneurship

What’s interesting about Rasmussen’s journey to teaching entrepreneurship did not initially start when he earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley. Instead, he discovered it when he started his career shortly after.

”My formal education is actually electrical engineering, computer science, and my specialties were microprocessor architecture and semiconductor physics. But, you know, those were fairly arcane subjects,“ Rasmussen shared. “When I started my professional career, I never really used those. I went into product management and marketing and sales and some other areas. That started my journey in entrepreneurship.”

What makes Rasmussen’s exploration of entrepreneurship unique is his understanding of its application in the world of business, and seeing its recent growth in academics as well.

“Entrepreneurship wasn't a discipline, it was self-taught. So I've learned these skills over time and applied them in various companies and areas all the way throughout my life. And so when I started to run an accelerator here in Silicon Valley with professionals that didn't have any background in entrepreneurship, I developed a series of courses on my own. I've been teaching that for really almost two decades now.”

Naturally, when asked what drew him to teaching, Rasmussen shared his thoughts on what he enjoys most about it.

“Teaching is cool. Teaching is fun! At this point in my life, I really enjoy giving back,” Rasmussen said. “I get to see students when I’m explaining a new concept that they might be vaguely familiar with but have never heard things explained in such a way that the light bulbs go off. It's those light bulb moments that are that really, frankly, what I live for. I see students get it and then all the way through the rest of the term, they take those little light bulb moments and string them together into an understanding of a whole fairly complex set of concepts.”

International Educator

Outside of the classroom, Rasmussen has an incredible background in researching, building, and advising others on entrepreneurial economies. When asked what his current research projects are, Rasmussen explained that he’s developing a series of coursework.

“You think of Silicon Valley as being the home of entrepreneurship, but every place else around the world kind of wants to be the next Silicon Valley. And many of them are,” Rasmussen shared. “So actually, how do you enable your local community, city, or region to become more entrepreneurial? There's a methodology and a way to go about that that can be implemented by politicians, policymakers, academics, entrepreneurial leaders, and others. So I am now developing a whole set of coursework around just that.“

Rasmussen’s experience in advising and sharing his knowledge is not bound by geography either. He’s assisted over 20 governments and economics agencies worldwide, advising them on how to build entrepreneurial economies!

“So I do quite a bit of work with the Soviet republics. Up until recently, about two-thirds of my work was with Ukraine…I still run the two largest accelerators in Ukraine. I teach in Moldova. I've taught in Mongolia, Azerbaijan,” Rasmussen listed. “I'm on the National Innovation Board of Azerbaijan and Armenia and other places like that. And these are areas where they've been really subject to the legacy of old-school Soviet education and they want to learn Western methodologies and want to become part of the global economy. And so I'm doing a lot of work in that area.”

Rasmussen also has experience running multiple accelerators, serving on several international advisory boards, and being a keynote speaker.

Professor Fun Fact: Rasmussen, despite being an introvert, was a DJ for a college radio station for five years. “Speaking in front of public audiences, even in a classroom, would freak me out, but it was something that I had to learn — a life skill that I had to have,” said Rasmussen. “I was listening to my favorite college radio station one day and they said, ‘Hey if you come down and you take this course, you too can be on the air,’ and I was in! Sure enough, I took the course, did well, got a degree in radio broadcasting [at Foothill College, a community college in California], and then I spent five years online every single week as a radio DJ in front of an audience unseen of around 5,000 people.”

The Smart Way to Launch Your College Career

The accredited, Campus online associate degree in business program helps students knock out the first two years of college and supports them as they prepare for life after graduation.

Want to attend classes led by mission-driven educators like Rick Rasmussen? Request more information about potentially joining the next trailblazing cohort of the Campus program today.

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