The Entrepreneurship MBA in San Diego
When you think about the city of San Diego, the first things that probably come to mind are great beaches, beautiful weather and a laid back attitude. And while that’s all true, it’s not all that San Diego is. San Diego might not be Silicon Valley, but that doesn’t mean its startup businesses are any less impressive.
Between 2000 and 2011, over 25,750 patents were awarded to the city, making it one of the most innovative cities in the U.S. And the first nine months of 2016, 60 companies raised more than $811 million in venture capital funding, up from 76 startups and $806 million the year before.
What about for graduate school candidates? Does San Diego offer any effective entrepreneurship MBA programs? There are three that stand out.
At the Rady School, MBAs are exposed to entrepreneurship throughout their experience. In fact, three core curriculum courses called “Lab to Market” are ideal for entrepreneurs. These courses help MBAs come up with innovative ideas and then learn how to translate those self-same ideas into viable and valuable market opportunities. Throughout the courses, MBAs will learn the answers to such questions as “How do I determine if a business idea is viable?” and “Which products are worth taking to market?” During the three-course Lab to Market series students will “perform market research and validation, feasibility studies, develop a business case and then a business plan and a go-to-market strategy.”
If the Lab to Market curriculum series isn’t enough, the Rady School also offers their MBAs access to five different centers focused on entrepreneurship, venture funding and startups.
- Institute for the Global Entrepreneur: In partnership with the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, the Institute encompasses a series of programs, centers and initiatives to help prepare engineers to become change makers and technical leaders.
- California Institute for Innovation and Development: The CIID provides business assistance to companies and UC San Diego faculty and students interested in commercializing their product, research and technologies.
- Rady Venture Fund: The Fund provides both investment capital and education opportunities for Rady MBAs and entrepreneurs.
- MyStartupXX: MyStartupXX is a Rady accelerator program that offers workshops on team building, leadership, market assessment and more to help UC San Diego students and alumni launch their business ideas.
- StartR Accelerator: StartR is a non-profit accelerator designed for Rady School graduate students and alumni. It provides entrepreneurs with the tools needed to start and grow their businesses.
MBAs at SDSU can specialize their curriculum in entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurship specialization requires students to take an additional 12 credits—three required course and one additional elective. The required courses cover such topics as entrepreneurship, financing the emerging enterprise and business plan development while electives cover such subjects as managing the growing firm, international entrepreneurship and product innovation management.
Outside of the classroom, entrepreneurship MBAs at SDSU can also participate in a variety of venture competitions for additional experience. Three competitions, in particular, focus on entrepreneurs:
- Venture Capital Investment Competition: This is a premier strategy competition that welcomes entrepreneurial MBAs from across the nation. The competition is designed for eight teams of five students each. Each team evaluates available investment options to decide where to place their money.
- The Lavin VentureStart Competition: This competition is designed to identify and nurture outstanding teams of student entrepreneurs. It’s a business model competition that helps students develop a learn startup and innovative ideas.
- Zahn Challenge: This annual challenge provides students with the opportunity to present their innovative ideas and explain how they can scale to address a large market opportunity.
Finally, SDSU students also have the chance to participate in the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center. Both the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine have recognized the center as being one of the best entrepreneurial programs in the U.S. The center offers a variety of hands-on learning opportunities including MBA internship programs, Entrepreneur Day, networking events, business challenges and more.
At USD, entrepreneurship-minded MBAs can tailor their curriculum by choosing the new venture management concentration. The concentration is intended for students interested in learning how to launch and manage and new business successfully. In total, twelve units are required. Course options include entrepreneurial finance, negotiations for entrepreneurial ventures and new product development.
Beyond the MBA curriculum, students can also participate in the experiential learning opportunity: sustainable business model design. The program experience places students into teams and helps them to develop a CSR or sustainability project for an existing company or new entrepreneurial venture.
Finally, students can participate in the USD Entrepreneurship Club. The club is event driven and offers members a variety of opportunities to network, attend off-campus partner events and more.