Back in 2009, I taught an elective course on Technology Entrepreneurship for MBA students at SIBM in Pune. This is a compilation of the slides for the semester-long course. I also incorporated startup case studies and real-world projects to keep students engaged.



In the US, MBA programs have pioneered the entrepreneurship elective. There are even highly focused post-graduate programs run by Kauffman Foundation and others. Such programs seek to cover important topics that fall outside (or on the border of) the typical MBA curriculum. This includes corporate venturing, entrepreneurial teams, co-founder agreements, new product development, etc.

Entrepreneurship for MBA: From Elective to Major?

Entrepreneurial Mindset & Culture

Many MBA students come from corporate backgrounds. Hence, it takes them a while to relate to the resource constraints faced by entrepreneurs. Imagine pouring personal savings into a risky proposition while working 70+ hour weeks with no family time! In my classes, I pointed out the difference between entrepreneurial (opportunistic) and managerial (strategic) thinking. Startups operate amidst high uncertainty. Thus, making 5-year plans make little sense. Instead, founders learn to constantly adapt, sense market trends, and seek customer validation.

Founders who seek to commercialize science or intellectual property face additional hurdles. They have to prove that the technology will work profitably, at scale, and without safety risks. Such ventures also need much more capital investment upfront. Finally, I showcased examples of successful entrepreneurs – primarily from the US but some from India as well. Students sought to identify common traits and success factors. They also engaged in group projects where they analyzed a specific case study of a technology startup. It is only by diving deep into the founder’s story that we can appreciate the tumultuous journey of most new ventures.

As for entrepreneurship education, it is clear that MBAs will soon pursue a major in entrepreneurship, not just an elective, minor, or concentration. The outstanding success of numerous technology startups had led to a spike in students pursuing entrepreneurship degrees.