USASBE Member Spotlight: Meet Bastian Thomsen

Dr. Bastian Thomsen

Meet Bastian Thomsen, Assistant Professor of International Business and Entrepreneurship at Boise State University. In an effort to help better connect the USASBE Nation the USASBE Medium Team recently sat down with Bastian to learn more about who he is as a teacher, scholar, and individual. Here’s what we found out.

Question: How did you get into entrepreneurship education? What was your path?

I worked for one of the major U.S. banks and quickly realized that while I was earning decent money, I was limited in upward growth in multiple ways. For example, banking center closures were rampant and it was plausible my center could be closed. I began to think to myself, this is just as risky if not more so than being an entrepreneur. I had limited income potential, let alone an opportunity be creative or do something I was purposeful about. Simultaneously, my volunteer and consulting work with nonprofits highlighted that depending solely on grants or donations was inefficient, and even caused organizations to experience mission drift as they chased dollars. This combination led to my passion for entrepreneurship, and more specifically, social entrepreneurship.

Question: What is your favorite class to teach and why?

I am enthusiastic about teaching an applied service-learning social entrepreneurship course. It is an upper-division course that challenges students to consult nonprofit organizations who desire to become social enterprises, while also having students actually start her or his own social enterprise. In my experience, this is not only beneficial for the students, but also for the partner organizations who typically appreciate an outside perspective with no entrenched biases.

Question: What does your research focus on and how does it inform your teaching?

My research focuses on two main streams. The first considers the potential impact to better understand and incorporate the ‘social’ aspects of social entrepreneurship in theory, application, and education. I frequently leverage an applied anthropological lens in an international context to better understand the socio-cultural dynamics that impact a social enterprise. My second stream examines the role that (social) entrepreneurship may play in addressing environmental issues such as climate change or conservation management. My research has greatly improved my teaching, as it helps me stay current in the literature, but also helps tie in current affairs in new and novel ways.

Question: What do you love most about USASBE?

I am incredibly grateful for the community aspect of the organization. Everyone, literally everyone I have met through USASBE (such as at the annual conference), has gone out of their way to help me in one way or another. The annual doctoral consortium provided a unique insight into what it takes to be published, and I’ve built a network with other entrepreneurship educators who have a genuine passion for what they do. USASBE inspires me to become more engaged and proactive in my teaching and research.

Question: If you could offer one piece of advice to someone attending a USASBE conference for the first time what would it be?

Attend all the workshops that you can. It’s a great way to immediately get involved with new colleagues, and the conversation naturally continues into social events. Everyone I’ve met is extremely friendly, so don’t be shy and simply introduce yourself. You will be amazed at the network you will build after just a couple of days. Also, take advantage of the expertise that is around you; speak with well-established authors and if journal editors are present, it is worth speaking with them to understand what is unique about their journal.

Question: Can you share a fun fact about yourself? Something that makes you unique?

I have a weird knack for random facts. It really isn’t useful except for an occasional trivia night or to easily get my class off topic! Seriously though, did you know lethologica means “the inability to remember a word or name”? Or that in Hood River, Oregon it is illegal to juggle without a permit?

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