Igniting Innovation through the New Master of Entrepreneurship Program

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Entrepreneurship is increasingly important in all types of businesses.  In today’s continually changing and competitive world, much of the economy’s growth is coming from forward-thinking entrepreneurs.  Whether applied in a dynamic startup or new business venture within a larger corporation, the skills to bring innovative products to market quickly and reliably are in high demand.

As we chart the future of business education for the 21st century at Ross, this fall we launched the new Master of Entrepreneurship Program, a unique partnership between Ross and the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering.  While many institutions around the globe are offering education in entrepreneurship these days, it is the combined caliber of Ross and the College of Engineering, two powerhouse University of Michigan schools, that sets our program apart.  Moreover, the programming we offer at Ross through the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies (ZLI) was recently ranked No. 2  in the country by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine.  The Master of Entrepreneurship Program embodies the Ross philosophy of boundaryless education and unites award-winning faculty in each of these domains to help students develop advanced business and technological expertise to successfully bring high-potential technology concepts to market.

Each student in the entering class brings entrepreneurial experience to the program, and many have undergraduate degrees in science, technology, or engineering.  Notably, a great number of students also have expressed a passion for leveraging opportunities in technology to bring about positive social change.  For example, one student wants to improve infant mortality rates in developing countries through new uses of warming technology, and others have demonstrated commitment to green technology, medical technologies, and biotechnologies that show promise to transform the way we treat critical diseases. 

An innovative partnership with the University’s Office of Technology Transfer enables the most distinctive aspect of the program: Throughout the 12-month curriculum, students will develop real venture concepts with real technologies.  During the admissions process, applicants must review the Office of Technology Transfer’s portfolio of licensable technologies, which allows them to gain firsthand insight on some of the most cutting-edge technologies being developed at the University.  In the essay portion of the application, they must identify a technology with potential and describe a workable venture concept for it.  Once in the program, students continue to build, develop, and if viable, ultimately launch a concept from the portfolio.  To facilitate success, the University’s Office of Technology Transfer in fact takes the selected technologies off the market while the students are in the program.   

The projects exemplify action-based learning at its best: As the curriculum in the classroom progresses through the key stages and elements of entrepreneurship, students work closely with faculty to apply concepts to the ventures.  For example, students must evaluate competitive landscapes, calculate risks, work through feasibility issues, explore funding, and assess operational and scalability concerns.  Students also gain important perspectives through courses with the Law School and School of Public Health.  Throughout the program students receive highly personalized attention from faculty, and career advisers from both Ross and Engineering work with students to help them develop post-graduation plans.

As innovation and change driven through entrepreneurial endeavors grow in significance in our economy, I’m pleased to be building on the already strong entrepreneurship programming at Ross and the University of Michigan, and we are proud to offer one of the premiere advanced degree programs in this area in the country.  

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Alison Davis-Blake