Berkeley Haas is one of the world’s leading centers for the study and practice of MBA entrepreneurship. We offer the resources to help you take a leading role in a startup, explore the world of venture capital, or launch your own enterprise.
The hub of entrepreneurship is the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program, facilitating coursework that includes New Venture Finance and Social Entrepreneurship, and the hands-on Lean Launch Pad, as well as student-led competitions such as the Berkeley MBA-founded Global Social Venture Competition and UC’s LAUNCH Startup Accelerator.
The Berkeley Entrepreneurs Association boasts more than 400 members, while mentorship, internship subsidies, and competitions support your dream.
Below are some of the resources supporting Berkeley MBA students interested in entrepreneurship, whether they seek to start a company, join a startup, or bring an entrepreneurial mindset to their career pursuits.
Video: Entrepreneurship student perspectives
Sample Entrepreneurship Coursework
Courses emphasize Lean Launch methods and extend to specialized areas such as social impact and tech. Students pursuing these courses are interested in entrepreneurship or seeking in-depth immersion in entrepreneurial skill-building, including ideation and team formation, customer discovery and validation, and startup acceleration. Sample courses include:
Experiential Learning Opportunities in Entrepreneurship
Partner with engineering students to create innovative products addressing a social problem in a developing country and using collaborative team-based techniques.
Work through a full product development cycle, culminating in a virtual design fair, and in soliciting and analyzing customer feedback.
Get hands-on experience in what it’s like to actually start a high-tech company. Teams use a business model to brainstorm each part of a company, get out of the classroom to talk with would-be customers, and rapidly iterate to build something customers would use and buy.
Work in interdisciplinary teams and at an accelerated pace to practice the steps integral to starting a social venture. The course uses the Lean Launchpad and Social Blueprint Business Design methodologies to frame insights, strategies, and practices that distinguish social ventures, such as vision and values and social impact assessment.
Working with fellow students across disciplines, team up with local venture-backed startups to help identify, frame, and address strategic business challenges.
Entrepreneurship Scholarship Opportunities
A number of Berkeley MBA scholarships are awards for students interested in entrepreneurship.
A fellowship of $80,000 is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and a drive to create and implement innovative projects, products, and ideas.
A $20,000 award for students with an undergraduate degree in the fields of engineering or science as well as students who intend to pursue an entrepreneurial career.
Entrepreneurship Faculty Spotlight
Professor Toby Stuart is faculty director of the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program. Much of his research has examined the role of social networks in entrepreneurship. He has taught previously at Harvard, Columbia, and University of Chicago business schools and is the recipient of the 2007 Kauffman Prize. He teaches Entrepreneurship.
Assistant Professor Abhishek Nagaraj's research includes crowdsourcing and open innovation, entrepreneurship strategy, and the impacts of big data on business innovation. He teaches Entrepreneurial Strategy.
Rob Chandra is the president and CEO of Avid Park Capital, a hedge fund based in Palo Alto. He was previously a managing partner at Bessemer Venture Partners and has been ranked #28 in the Forbes annual ranking of top 100 VCs. He teaches Entrepreneurship.
Terry Opdendyk has specialized in working with technology-based startups for more than 30 years. He founded ONSET Ventures, a premier Silicon Valley venture capital firm, in 1984, where he is Managing Director and General Partner. He teaches Venture Capital and Private Equity.
Rhonda Shrader, MBA 96, executive director of the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program has founded or been an early stage team member of startups in retail, behavioral health, nonprofit, and big data. She served as a mentor for UCSF’s Idea to IPO course and has led winning teams for the Health Tech Forum Codeathon and the San Francisco MedHack 2.0 Hackathon.
Entrepreneurship Related Centers & Initiatives
The Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program is a hub for classes, events, and programs that help students get the most out of their time on the Berkeley campus and their proximity to Silicon Valley. Programs and activities include the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, with speakers addressing such topics as sustainable food and building innovation economies, and a mentorship program, with insights shared by some 50 mentors, including:
Business accelerator Skydeck was formed as a partnership between Berkeley Haas, the College of Engineering, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Startup teams matched with high-quality mentors work in fully equipped office space close to campus and with stunning 360-degree views of the bay and hills.
The Trione Student Venture Fund provides $5,000 grants and office space to early stage startups involving current Haas students. The grants are intended for use in prototype development and customer discovery activities and have been awarded to companies building everything from a trading platform for new cryptocurrency investors to an object recognition tool eliminating operating room waste.
The Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program also supports learning opportunities through the LAUNCH competition and Venture Capital Investment Competition.
The Berkeley Entrepreneurs Association works to equip members with the skills, network, support, and knowledge necessary to launch or grow a venture, through venture capital and entrepreneur roundtables, a Life as an Entrepreneur speaker series, and a program offering summer internship subsidies for students working for startups at below-market compensation.
LAUNCH is a competition and accelerator that brings together entrepreneurs, students, and alumni from across the UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco communities to guide companies from validated product to fundable business. Participants have access to a proven development curriculum, world-class mentors, and real VC feedback as well as funding opportunities.
The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) empowers social entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and over $80,000 in prizes. Now led by Berkeley Haas in collaboration with a global network of premier business schools, universities, and programs, the competition attracts some 600 entries from more than 60 countries.
Haas Venture Fellows is a select group of Berkeley MBA students that receive hands-on experience in the venture capital industry and foster strong relationships between the VC community and Berkeley Haas. The Fellows engage in project work with prominent Bay Area VC firms, an annual networking event, and a student-initiated speaker series.
In the Venture Capital Investment Competition, student teams take on the role of venture capitalists, evaluating and “funding” investment opportunities. Real entrepreneurs pitch, and the student investors are judged by experienced venture capitalists.
Big Ideas@Berkeley is annual contest providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students.
Berkeley Innovators provides an opportunity for entrepreneurial-minded students across the UC Berkeley campus to connect and share startup ideas.
The Foundry Fellows is an initiative between the CITRIS Foundry (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society), and students from Berkeley Haas and the College of Engineering. The Fellows program helps UC startups and entrepreneurs tackle critical engineering and business challenges.
Career Support for Entrepreneurs
Many Berkeley MBA students and alumni launch companies, from Back to the Roots, Orion Span, and TubeMogul (acquired by Adobe for $540 million) to Indiegogo and Keyhole—a satellite mapping venture that became Google Earth. Others are interested in joining startups and find (in a addition to the many entrepreneurship resources at Berkeley Haas reflected here) support from a dedicated entrepreneurship industry specialist in the Career Management Group.