Entrepreneurship

MBA@UNC’s Entrepreneurship MBA concentration prepares aspiring business leaders with the skills and confidence they need to make their business a lasting success. From discovering new ventures to managing technology to directing corporate strategies, entrepreneurs need expertise in a broad spectrum of specialty topics in order to thrive in today’s competitive business environment.

A Curriculum That Fosters Innovation

MBA@UNC provides students with the resources, support and community necessary for their ideas to grow. The highly flexible nature of the online Entrepreneurship concentration allows aspiring entrepreneurs to choose from a wide range of elective courses and tailor their academic experience to align with their professional goals.

Students learn how to apply core principles to their own business plans, including new venture discovery, corporate strategy for entrepreneurs, innovation and social entrepreneurship in developing economies, managing business innovation and technology management. The skills students acquire in these MBA entrepreneurship electives enable them to identify potentially lucrative and financially viable enterprise opportunities, refine and develop their strategies to secure venture capital funding and other sources of revenue, and expand their initial business vision over time.

In addition to its innovative approach to instruction and collaboration, MBA@UNC provides aspiring business owners with unparalleled access to experienced entrepreneurs who can help guide, mentor and advise them on various aspects of their career development. Students can take advantage of resources, opportunities and connections offered by the renowned UNC Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, as well as network with other aspiring and accomplished business owners. This commitment to cultivating leadership qualities in our students begins during their time in the program and continues throughout their careers as they form lasting connections to the UNC Alumni Association. 

Suggested Electives

MBA@UNC enables entrepreneurs to tailor their educational experience by selecting any combination of available elective courses. Recommended elective courses for the Entrepreneurship concentration are:

  • Entrepreneurship I
  • Courses in entrepreneurship have gained popularity in business schools everywhere, but it is not clear just what should be taught and how. In contrast to accounting, for example, entrepreneurship lacks a defined technical base or discipline. Moreover, individuals and organizations ranging from street vendors to transnational corporations all espouse entrepreneurial activity, which suggests that the topic should permeate all of business education. What can the focus of a special course in entrepreneurship possibly be?

    The mission adopted for the course is to prepare MBA students to start and nurture their own businesses. The mission is based on the premise that student interests lie mainly in starting and building ventures in which they have a significant equity stake. Business schools admit students with great talent and high long-term expectations of responsibility, autonomy, and financial reward. Historically, some MBA students have had an innate desire to run their own businesses, but even those who didn’t often turned to entrepreneurship after they confronted the realities of a pyramidal corporate world. Of the many that started in large corporations, only a few could rise to the top. The rest were subject to implicit or explicit up-or-out policies or shunted to positions that could not satisfy their natural ambition and drive.

    Today, many MBAs are skeptical of long-term careers in large corporations. They belong to a culture that celebrates entrepreneurial individuals. They are also older and more cognizant of the realities of corporate ladders, and they may have directly witnessed the effects of downsizing. Therefore, although only a handful of MBA students start businesses right out of school, a large proportion expects to do so some years later. The course seeks to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will support and enhance their entrepreneurial activity.

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  • New Ventures Discovery
  • The goal of this course is to introduce the important tools and skills necessary to create and grow a successful new venture. The course is designed to simulate the real life activities of entrepreneurs in the start-up stage of a new venture. Students will develop an understanding of the elements required to start a new business and hear from successful entrepreneurs about their journey and then evaluate real business plans for entrepreneurs who are just starting their journey.

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  • Corporate Strategy
  • This course covers the fundamentals of corporate-level strategy as opposed to business-level strategy. “Business-level” (business) strategy deals with achieving and sustaining a competitive advantage in a discrete and identifiable business. “Corporate-level” (corporate) strategy deals with the way a company creates value through the selection of a portfolio of businesses and the configuration and coordination of these businesses.

    The primary way in which corporate strategy ultimately creates value is through increasing the ability of businesses in the portfolio to create and sustain a competitive advantage. For example, sharing manufacturing activities may reduce costs. Alternatively, sharing a strong brand may increase differentiation while reducing overall marketing costs. Hence there is a very close relationship between business and corporate strategy. The major topics we will cover are diversification (related and unrelated), vertical integration, restructuring, synergy, alliance strategy, and global strategy. We will be introducing a variety of tools to help us analyze these topics.

    The primary objective of the course is to introduce you to the primary decisions, tools, and concepts of corporate strategy. By the end of the course you should be able to understand how multi-business firms can create and destroy value; be able to engage in a thoughtful discussion of corporate strategy with senior executives; be able to identify opportunities to improve corporate strategy; understand and be able to analyze the major benefits and risks of various diversification strategies; understand the economic and organizational realities behind the term “synergy” and be able to identify and analyze synergy opportunities; understand the role alliances play in corporate strategy and be able to analyze the major tradeoffs between alliances and acquisitions; understand the role a particular business plays in a corporate strategy; and understand the nature and strategic implications of both regional/global rationalization and local responsiveness in global strategy.

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  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies
  • In this course, we explore how innovation and entrepreneurship (e.g. opportunity identification, evaluation, and exploitation) create individual and social wealth in developing country settings—while often simultaneously addressing major social problems. This course is about identifying opportunities and constraints that typify this context so that you can enter or return to a developing country to establish a venture—or lead and fund people who do so. It is also about using the power of business to fight poverty and other social problems. While many themes will surface, my objective is to help you learn more about business model variations and unique partnerships and how both play a critical role in venture success. Secondarily, we will discuss funding mechanisms.In an effort to innovate how we teach and present this course, we have filmed two cases and several guest speakers on location in Ethiopia. However, the topics in this course and the lessons from it absolutely relate to locations worldwide. We will work together to understand the similarities and differences between Ethiopia and other developing countries in Asia, Latin America, South America, Africa and elsewhere.

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  • Managing Innovation
  • This course is intended to introduce you to management models and make you think deeply about how to manage innovations in the 21st century organizations, especially in an economically challenging environment. The objective is to examine how the most innovative organizations around the globe excel at exploring, executing, and exploiting innovations with an eye towards superior performance. The major topics in the course include: cultivating a culture for innovation, instilling appropriate structures to foster innovation, leveraging creative human capital, and designing “open” innovation processes.

    We will look at innovation from both an intra- as well as extra-organizational perspective. The aim is to help you as managers lead your organizations and people within to continuously develop and commercialize innovations. The course is pertinent for general managers, consultants, marketing managers as well as operations managers.

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  • Business Innovation and Technology Management
  • Perhaps the most difficult task for organizations is to discover market opportunities that are “undiscoverable” for other firms in the industry. For example, the launch of iPod and iMac by Apple is a leap in innovation that may not be achievable by firms that narrowly define the competitive space to that of simple “personal computing”. As evidenced in many industries, technology, innovation, and competitive advantage are a powerful trio. Yet, it is sometimes difficult to bring discipline to the process of innovation, R&D spending, and technology investment. Clearly, business leaders must be prepared to assess coming waves of technology, their impact on business process, and their impact on relationships with suppliers, customers, and competitors.

    This course provides a strategic perspective of technology/innovation management and its impact on the competitive positioning of the firm. We will examine tools and techniques that help leaders understand emerging trends and the opportunities/threats they may present to prevailing business models. We will also examine how organizations design and implement creative responses to the marketplace. You will use these techniques and become an active participant in the innovation process. No matter how creative or (non-creative) you may consider yourself, the techniques of this course will help you become a more effective manager of business innovation.

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