"Our focus on equipping innovators to succeed in today’s digitally driven business world is what sets us apart, and our groundbreaking new Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship program is the latest demonstration of that,” says Eric Spangenberg, dean of UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business. “Aspiring entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs will graduate with the tools and connections they need to succeed.” Elena Zhukova / UCOP

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 24, 2019 – The University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business has launched a Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship program, the only one of its kind in the UC system. The inaugural class of 42 students will be matched with mentors and also participate in a variety of co-curricular activities – such as workshops, speaker series and site visits – that complement classroom instruction. This combination of academics and experiential learning will provide graduates with the entrepreneurial tools and connections necessary to launch a business or grow an established company.

The nine-month, full-time, accelerated degree program is the result of a collaboration among Imran Currim, UCI Distinguished Professor of business and director of the campus’s Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Christopher Bauman, UCI associate professor of organization and management and MIE faculty director; and Ken Beall, managing member of Dartbrook Partners LLC and chairman of UCI Beall Applied Innovation. Their goal was to institute a unique program that adds value to what students learn in the classroom by leveraging the entrepreneurial expertise of the local business community.

“So many entrepreneurs are deeply knowledgeable about the science, engineering or technology behind their ideas but have blind spots when it comes to the business issues,” Currim said. “By the time they graduate, our students will be able to strategically build teams, foster collaboration, create new markets, redefine existing ones, and finance and grow a business.”

The program’s foundation of project-based coursework is followed by experiential learning opportunities. In the classroom, students work in teams to apply teachings to real-world scenarios, as well as learn to set goals, develop business plans, solve problems together and work on their business plans.

“We want to inspire students to think creatively about solving problems,” Bauman said. “Entrepreneurs take a big leap and create companies from the ground up, while intrapreneurs develop innovative ideas, programs, processes or products that are critical if their existing businesses are to continue to thrive. Our students can do well in either environment by identifying problems, unmet needs or underserved markets and devising solutions that produce or add value.”

The program requires a minimum of 36 units – 28 core units and eight elective units – and a capstone project. Core classes address ideation, the process of innovation and entrepreneurship; developing a business model; preparing a business plan; raising the necessary financing; forming teams; and launching a new business. For electives, students can choose to further study topics such as new product development, business growth strategies and internet marketing.

“There is a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Orange County, and students will be connected to those resources, tools and networks in new and exciting ways that will help them achieve success,” Beall said. “The MIE program will also strengthen the school’s existing partnerships and create new ones, as well as help drive the continued growth and prosperity of the local business community and beyond.”

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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