Carnegie Mellon University

David Beinhart

David BeinhartMajors: Business Administration, Creative Writing
Adviser: Jim Daniels

An Inquiry Into the Future of Work

"Stanford has Google. Harvard has Facebook. What does Carnegie Mellon have?" This is the question Dave Mawhinney, executive director of the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship at CMU, is working to answer – and the inspiration for my senior honors thesis.

I am not only interested in entrepreneurship and what that great CMU startup will be, but more broadly in how students and alumni view career development and the future of work given continued technical advances and increased automation. By interviewing students across disciplines, I hope to create a vignette of how CMU students view work—from scrappy startups to monolithic corporations—as they grapple with the future.

This project will combine economic analysis, entrepreneurial thinking and humanistic questioning to explore how CMU students perceive working for startups, the careers they are preparing for and what the future of work will look like, given ever-increasing automation and technological intelligence.


I have been fortunate to be a part of a wide range of projects at CMU that have taken me across academic disciplines and international borders, from studying the European Union in Frankfurt, Germany to interning with a startup in Haifa, Israel and shooting a documentary in Camaguey, Cuba.

Through my coursework in Pittsburgh, I have challenged myself to take on disparate ideas. From studying organizational behavior and modeling networks in Oliver Hahl’s Organizational Behavior to presenting on William H. Whyte’s “The Organization Man” and its influence on work culture in the 1960s in Kathy M. Newman’s “Mad Men, TV & Advertising,” studying business administration and creative writing has allowed me to combine the quantitative and qualitative while uncovering how interconnected the two really are. My current coursework takes me from a poetry workshop to a finance lecture and computer programming recitation, all in the same day.

Combining these different approaches to problem solving and creative inquiry led me to join the third cohort of the Swartz Center’s Innovation Scholars. The program provides resources, mentoring and funding for students who are passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship. Through the program, I traveled to San Francisco in January 2017 to meet with startups, accelerators and venture capital firms. The similarities and differences between the entrepreneurial ecosystems I have been able to be part of, from Haifa to Silicon Valley, continue to resonate with me and have been formative to my CMU experience.