The Lassonde Institute

University of Utah launches Master of Business Creation for entrepreneurs

By Cara MacDonald, KSL.com | Posted - May 29th, 2019 @ 8:05pm



SALT LAKE CITY — The David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah has created a Master of Business Creation, a master’s program designed for serious, full-time entrepreneurs.

The program is for full-time entrepreneurs who want to create, launch and scale a new business, according to a University of Utah press release. It combines the best of both worlds with a graduate business degree program combined with a startup accelerator that teaches entrepreneurs through know-how, mentoring and support in a rigorous launching environment.

Company Launch space at the University of Utah; Courtesy of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

“The Master of Business Creation is the first of its kind,” Troy D’Ambrosio, director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, told KSL.com. “It is designed for the entrepreneur in the middle of the startup process. The reason we didn’t call this a ‘master of entrepreneurship’ is because this is about business creation. A high percentage of the activity and course credits are focused on working on your own business, which is better than learning from case studies. We’re pushing the boundaries, and it’s very different from any degree out there that we have seen.”

The program is only nine months long, according to the press release. Students get access to extensive resources ranging from substantial scholarships, mentors, prototyping tools, office space, more than $500,000 in grants, and more. Upon graduation, founders have an understanding of how to create and scale their new business.

“We wanted to create a program that allowed people to put their business at the center of their educational experience and see if we could provide them with a little bit more support, skills and ability around what it takes to create a business,” D’Ambrosio said.

He explained that he has had many people come to him and say ‘Hey, I want to start a business. I’m going to quit my job and do that full time, but I don’t have a business education. Do you think I should come back and get an MBA?’

“An MBA is not the right degree,” D’Ambrosio said. “An MBA is about managing an existing business, while the MBC is about creating a new business. It takes a fundamentally different skill set to create a new business.”

The program follows existing models for business accelerators and boasts a competitive application process, financial support and cohort setup so that founders can work together, according to the press release. Unlike other programs, the Eccles Master of Business Creation will not take any equity interests in companies, allowing the founders to maintain complete control over ownership.

Many resources in the program are provided by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, which offers an interdisciplinary mix of resources to all students at the University of Utah, according to the press release. Generous support from Pierre Lassonde, the Lassonde Family Foundation, Zions Bank, David Neeleman, and the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation have made the facilities and grants possible.

Pierre Lassonde; Courtesy of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

Training and mentorship will be available to students in the Master of Business Creation program through the faculty at the Eccles School, according to the press release. Students take courses on a variety of topics, including developing and testing a business model, negotiation, law, accounting, strategy and leadership. A number of electives are also available. D’Ambrosio explained that the program’s core curriculum includes the following classes:

  • Business model design: Identify a revenue model, who customers are and how to sell to them.

  • Business law for entrepreneurs: Learn about the 10 essential legal documents needed to run a startup. “You need a nondisclosure agreement, employment agreement, stock option plan, etc.,” D'Ambrosio said.

  • Business model testing: Come up with a hypothesis of who customers are, how to price the product and how to run tests and determine the correct courses of action.

The Eccles School is ranked in the top 10 for entrepreneurship programs in the country, according to Bloomberg, U.S. News, and the Princeton Review. Between the business school and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, hundreds of startups are launched each year, according to the press release. In the 2017-2018 academic year alone, 504 student startups were launched.

Among those include companies like LIT Outdoors, Rexchanger, Beacon Sleep Solutions, Project Embrace, MounTins, and many more.

Austin Scaccionoce is a design student, maker and co-founder of MounTins, which offers coaster packs with deals for ski-town restaurants; Courtesy of Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, David Eccles School of Business

D’Ambrosio hopes that the Master of Business Creation will take entrepreneurship at the University of Utah to the next level.

“We’re taking applications right now,” he said. “There is an opportunity for scholarships. Tuition is $44,000 for the nine-month program, but founders can receive full scholarships for the degree if they are accepted into it. We’ve got great support from Mr. Lassonde and others.”

Learn more about the Master of Business Creation here.

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