Why should you come to the University of Tennessee for your MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I)?
In the E&I concentration, we go out of the classroom to “learn by doing” in applied environments to help individuals think critically about building a business. The top 10 reasons for our program are:
1. Prepare for the gulf between start-up and running a business. Starting a business is tough. Building the business is even tougher. The UT MBA gives you the skills to build that business.
2. Build a strong network with entrepreneurs & business people. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey, but we have great faculty and regional entrepreneurs ready to mentor you and help you build your business support network.
3. Start a business while in school. This isn’t a course with a test — we really want you to start a business while in this program. Are you ready to actually start a business? Are you ready to become part of a start-up business?
4. Innovate within a creative problem-solving framework. Learning to see things others miss is a critical skill all business builders need, and is at the heart of our applied learning experiences.
5. Learn to fail to succeed. There is no gentle way of saying it: you have to learn how to fail and learn from those failures to succeed. This is a safe place to do just that, and learn how to go forward and pivot directions — fail forward fast.
6. Learn outside of the classroom. You will walk in the footsteps of successful business and social cause entrepreneurs and learn how to make real business decisions.
7. Learn to think like a General Manager in approaching problems. You can try problem-solving yourself, but the critical skills you learn in everything from marketing to finance to supply chain will greatly accelerate your business-building journey.
8. Find your business partner. You need a co-founder, and UT is a great place to find that person for your business, or become the co-founder of a business.
9. Focus on phases of an entrepreneur’s life. Our curriculum is designed around the five phases of your entrepreneurial life: seeing things others miss, building a business model, strategy development and execution, growth, and exit.
10. Entrepreneur Fellowships are available. Come to UT and start your business while in school, working 10 hours a week on your business, and receive up to $30,000 to pay for your education.
Courses in the program include:
- BA 518 Innovation in Practice:This course focuses on innovation, the first phase of an entrepreneur’s life. Innovation is defined as creation of sustainable value from useful change within an organization. The course has evolved into the required first-year Capstone course for all full-time MBA students. Social cause, not-for-profit organizations provide the learning environment for this out-of-the-classroom experience where students learn to “see things missed by others”. Student teams are assigned to “client engagements” with a faculty mentor. The students apply a four-step problem-solving framework to real challenges facing the organizations. Detailed final reports are presented at the completion of the seven-week project. Students benefit from weekly dialogues with Executive Directors, Board of Directors and with guest innovators who share insights about their journeys to create organization value.
- MGT 551 New Venture Creation: This course develops skills needed in the second phase of an entrepreneur’s life: business modeling, or how wealth is going to be created. The course examines the skills, concepts, mental attitudes, and knowledge relevant to creating and managing a new venture. Considerable attention is given to screening and evaluating ideas, with emphasis on examining financials.
- MGT 552 Entrepreneurial Strategy Implementation: With the entrepreneurial opportunity identified and the business model established to create value, the third phase of the entrepreneurial journey is to implement strategies. Entrepreneurial organizations provide the out-of-the-classroom experience for this course. Student teams and a faculty advisor engage with the entrepreneur for 13 weeks to solve real issues facing the organization. Students develop desired skills by “walking in the footsteps” of the entrepreneur. Final reports are presented at the conclusion of each engagement. Students benefit from weekly dialogues with guest entrepreneurs who share stories of their journeys.
- MGT 560 Monetizing Technology-Enabled Social Media (offered by invitation only to undergraduates): This is a 13 week, applied learning experience focused on understanding how new ventures grow their business by creation and monetization of a dialogue with customers using technology enabled social media. Such social media monetization strategies as advertising, memberships, freeium, and selling products and services using social media are actively studied. We also look at the critical problem of how an entrepreneur builds awareness for their business with technology enabled social media. During the final five weeks, the class is divided into teams and paired with real entrepreneurs so students “learn by doing” as they apply their newfound knowledge to develop critical skills required to monetize technology-enabled social media.
- MGT 559 New Venture Mentorship: This course is available the first semester after MBA graduation to students requiring additional mentorship for their new venture. The focus can be staffing, corporate/board of director structure, messaging to investors, go-to-market, sourcing, cash flow management, or other topics.
- Key Developmental Experiences: While non-course credit, aspiring MBA entrepreneur students are afforded applied learning experiences. This could include 5 hours per week of “walking in the footsteps” of an entrepreneur, weekly faculty mentorship, or other opportunities or projects that are customized to fit a student’s needs.