MBA graduate standing

Innovation + the modern MBA: a recipe for professional success

By Eileen Jacob

In 2019, some executives confidently say earning an MBA is overrated and unnecessary, while other executives truly believe in the value of an MBA as a crucial springboard for long-term professional success.

MBA supporters tout business school’s ability to equip you with the foundational knowledge and business administration skills you need to grow and sustain a business in a globally competitive marketplace, while the naysayers criticize business schools’ lack of focus on fostering innovation within real-world business settings.

So who’s correct? It really depends on the MBA program’s specific curriculum.

While in the past, most business school curriculums focused solely on preparing you to understand all the aspects of running a successful business, over the last decade, top MBA programs have taken that education a step further. These more innovative MBA programs have evolved to cater specifically to entrepreneurs whose heads are already swimming with business ideas, but lack the skills to run their own projects or companies.

As a neighbor to the nearby and constantly buzzing Silicon Valley, the Berkeley Haas MBA program is one of those business schools that hold innovation at the forefront of the curriculum, integrating entrepreneurial thinking into the student experience to actually help students launch new ventures.

The Berkeley MBA program is designed for entrepreneurs

Within the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program, you as a student can nurture your entrepreneurial spirit while honing the business skills you’ll need to sustain a company. This innovative MBA allows you to:

These are a handful of the many unique opportunities you’ll be exposed to when studying within this incubator of up and coming leadership and innovation. Berkeley’s MBA program allows you to use your education as a test bed for real, sustainable businesses.

Don’t just kick off an idea. Sustain it.

Take customized courses that help you develop yourself as an entrepreneur. Berkeley MBA programs offer an experiential learning approach that fosters innovation through our Applied Innovation Course, which gives you experience working within agile and dynamic startup environments while applying your academic knowledge in an entrepreneurial context. Learn what you need to know to take that business idea and translate it into a viable, profitable real-world business.

Meet your future professional team members.

In business school, your classmates can quickly and easily morph into future business partners. When like-minded innovators dedicate themselves to a formalized business program that’s designed for entrepreneurs, business school becomes a safe and natural testing ground to develop new ideas within an encouraging and supportive setting.

Bonus: your MBA professors can coach you along the way as you build your business, offering expert insight that will help you develop your business plan.

As an MBA student, get inspired by these Berkeley MBA graduates who combined their passion for ideas with their formal business degree to innovate and run their respective companies:

  • Shantanu Narayen - CEO of Adobe
  • Barbara Desoer - CEO of Citibank
  • Donald Fisher - GAP Founder and Philanthropist
  • John Hanke - CEO of Niantic
  • Cathie Lesjak - CFO of Hewlett-Packard
  • Tom Fanoe, President and COO of Joe Boxer

Develop the skills to launch, run, and sustain a business

No matter which side of the debate you’re on about the value of earning an MBA, most agree that earning your MBA isn’t going to teach you how to be passionate or dedicated, or equip you to handle adversity, as those are characteristics that entrepreneurs naturally possess.

But earning a modern, innovative MBA will undoubtedly equip energetic and willing entrepreneurs who may be feeling stifled in their current roles with the knowledge, skills, and business acumen to turn their own good ideas into successful, sustainable businesses that can scale.

Combining your intelligence with on-the-job experience with a desire to excel will point you in the right direction toward success in business. But as many prominent executives with MBAs prove, adding an MBA to your arsenal in a fast-paced economy can be an even more empowering recipe to skyrocket your level of success.

If you’re a passionate entrepreneur who may feel stifled in your current professional role, business school can empower you to turn that business idea into a sustainable company that you yourself can successfully run. When you marry passion and innovation with a modern MBA that caters specifically to helping entrepreneurs grow, the future looks pretty bright.

Get started today. Consider earning a part-time MBA, full-time MBA, or executive MBA.


Posted on June 6, 2019
Eileen Jacob
Eileen was Senior Assistant Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals from 2017-2019. She enjoyed meeting prospective students and helping them explore the benefits of an MBA, and hopes these blog posts provide valuable insight into the Berkeley MBA experience.