University of Utah, David Eccles School of Business

David Eccles School of Business The University of Utah LogoMaster of Business Creation

Innovation Statement:

A first-of-its-kind Master of Business Creation program, this specialized, nine-month graduate degree aids founders committed to launching their startup company through curriculum, mentoring, funding, and scholarships.

Call to Action:

The idea for our Master of Business Creation (MBC) program came from talking to the many entrepreneurs already engaged in programs at the David Eccles School of Business. Many were unclear of where to go after graduating from undergraduate programs. They were often split between getting an MBA or entering a startup accelerator program to advance their companies. They knew they wanted to commit themselves to growing their business, but neither of these options fit their needs perfectly. MBA programs weren’t focused enough on their startups, and accelerators usually required giving up some of the business equity.

With the MBC, we’re providing a program for founders that offers structured education with a focus on growing their business ideas to self-sufficient launch. It brings together the best qualities of a business degree program and an accelerator. From a business degree program, founders get access to leading experts, full scholarships, and a thriving college environment. From an accelerator perspective, founders get an intense focus on their startup and a peer group that is growing their companies at the same time. But unlike an accelerator, students don’t give up any of their equity to participate. 

We pitched this idea to our leadership and student founders, and we received an overwhelming amount of interest and support. We began the approval process for the degree in 2018, opened the application in summer 2019, and enrolled our first group of 20 companies at the beginning of the fall 2019 semester.

Innovation Description:

The Master of Business Creation (MBC) is a nine-month professional degree program for serious entrepreneurs committed to launching their startup company, aided by an innovative, application-focused curriculum and access to mentoring, funding, and scholarships. The program is offered by the Eccles School of Business and Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah, which offer an entrepreneur program ranked among the top 10 in the nation.

The MBC degree has courses, workshops, and labs specifically designed for aspiring entrepreneurs, providing the knowledge and skills needed to create and scale their business. Founders work full-time on their companies, take entrepreneurially focused classes, engage in practicum labs, and receive personalized support. Faculty and mentors in the program are leading scholars and experienced entrepreneurs who can provide detailed insight into all stages of the entrepreneurial process.

The MBC comprises required courses, integrated practicum courses, and program workshops featuring special topics sessions, over two semesters (33 total credits). Founders may choose to add electives to their program of study with advisor and graduate school approval in the case of an overload. All courses are taken in sync with a cohort of founders progressing through the two-semester, full-time program together. Learning objectives for the MBC program include mastering complex analysis and problem-solving; executing fast-cycle-time learning; negotiating solutions in multiple-constituency, multiple-issue environments; navigating ambiguity; working with people; emotional intelligence in the face of setbacks and failures; and leading innovation.

Innovation Impact:

We started the first year for our MBC program in August 2019, and the impact is already evident. The greatest impact is on the founders in the program. Each of the 25 founders, from 20 companies, has a unique story and perspective, and they are immersed in a life-changing experience that has prepared them to lead their companies. We look forward to seeing these startup companies grow and thrive, and to working with many more founders and companies in the years to come.

Beyond the founders, the MBC program is challenging the way that entrepreneurship is taught at the graduate level. Unlike other programs, the MBC program is entirely focused on the founder and their company. Everything they learn and do is immediately applied to their companies. This will have an impact as others around the nation and world see what we are doing with this program and the effects it has on the founders and their goal achievement.

Another important impact is for local economic development. Salt Lake City is known for its thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and booming technology sector, called “Silicon Slopes.” The region is brimming with entrepreneurs looking to get an edge over the competition and grow their companies as efficiently as possible. The MBC program will help them achieve this advantage, enabling the local economy to advance even further.

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