The San Francisco Bay Area has long been a hotbed for new venture creation, and Berkeley-Haas is one of the world’s leading centers for the study and practice of entrepreneurship. The Berkeley MBA Program offers students the training and ecosystem to launch scaleable enterprises, start careers in the venture capital industry, and take leading roles in early-stage-startups.
At the center of UC Berkeley startup activities is the highly ranked Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, with classes, events, and programs that help students get the most out of their time on the Berkeley campus and in Silicon Valley.
Among its many activities are prominent startup competitions, the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, Skydeck and LAUNCH: the UC Berkeley Startup Competition & Accelerator, as well as cross-campus mixers and hackathons. All provide opportunities to meet with venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, alums, and other UC Berkeley graduate students.
Berkeley MBA Entrepreneurship coursework includes:
A number of scholarships support students interested in entrepreneurship, including the Brian L. Maxwell Fellows Program , established by Jennifer Maxwell, BS 88, (Nutrition) in honor of her late husband, PowerBar co-founder Brian Maxwell, BA 75, and offering full tuition and fees.
From experiential learning to structured accelerators with mentorship and peer support, there is no better place at which to gain the toolkit necessary to launch a startup than Berkeley-Haas.
The Berkeley Entrepreneurs Association is one of the largest student organizations at UC Berkeley with over 400 members. The BEA provides student-organized activities to facilitate students working on their own ventures to share experiences and leverage each other's efforts. Working closely with the Lester Center, the BEA hosts programs that include venture capital and entrepreneur roundtables, a Life as an Entrepreneur speaker series, and cross-campus collaboration mixers.
The group's Partners for Entreprenurial Leadership (PEL) program, sponsored by the Lester Center, offers summer internship subsidies for students working for startups unable to compensate at typical market rates.
The Lester Center also offers mentorship of students by successful Bay Area entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and professional service providers, who help emerging entrepreneurs explore business ideas and career goals. Mentors come to the Center or connect with mentees via Skype to answer questions and offer advice.
LAUNCH is a transformative startup accelerator program and competition that guides companies from validated product to fundable business. Participants have access to proven development curriculum, world-class mentors, and real venture capitalist feedback as well as funding opportunities. Our winning 2015 team received a term sheet from a top global VC within 24 hours of the competition.
In addition to providing support and guidance, UC Berkeley also provides a runway for new ideas: Skydeck, a jointly-run program of the Haas School's Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, the College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, and the UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research.
Its purpose is to accelerate the launch of fundable startup companies with scalable business models by matching an exclusive group of companies with high-quality mentors holding deep expertise and connections in industry and venture capital. Companies work in fully equipped office space in the heart of Berkeley, with excellent transit options, close proximity to campus, and stunning 360 views of the Bay and Hills.
In addition to LAUNCH, Berkeley MBA students participate in other competitions focused on entrepreneurship, including:
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