Launching—and Gaining a New Mindset

Recent entrepreneurs from the Evening & Weekend Program have achieved success with ventures ranging from cryptocurrency investing to streamlining mortgage lending, and the world’s first 360-degree smartphone camera lens—all before completing their studies.

Our Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program facilitates coursework that features New Venture Finance and Social Entrepreneurship, and the hands-on Lean Launchpad. Its students organize competitions such as the Berkeley MBA-founded Global Social Venture Competition and UC’s LAUNCH Startup Accelerator

The 400-plus members of the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Association offer mentorship, internship subsidies, and competitions to support your dream.

Whether you want to launch your own company, join a startup, or bring an entrepreneurial mindset to your current company or future career, read about some of the resources supporting Berkeley MBA students interested in entrepreneurship.

Sample Entrepreneurship Coursework

Courses emphasize Lean Launch methods and extend to specialized areas such as social impact and tech. These courses pertain equally to students interested in entrepreneurship or seeking in-depth immersion in entrepreneurial skill-building: ideation and team formation, customer discovery and validation, and startup acceleration. Sample courses include:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • New Venture Finance
  • Opportunity Recognition
  • Venture Capital & Private Equity
  • Startup Lab
  • Lean Launchpad

Experiential Learning Opportunities in Entrepreneurship

If you are able to make experiential learning a priority while balancing your career aspirations with your other current responsibilities, you have many options.

Design, Evaluate, and Scale Development Technologies is a course that partners MBA students with engineering students to create innovative products that address a social problem in a developing country, using team-based, collaborative techniques.

In Design and Development of Web-Based Products and Services, you participate in the full product development cycle, culminating in a virtual design fair, and soliciting and analyzing customer feedback. 

Lean Launchpad gives you 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, meet with potential customers, and rapidly iterate to build a product customers would use and buy. 

In Social Lean Launchpad interdisciplinary teams work at an accelerated pace to practice the steps integral to starting a social venture. You will use Lean Launchpad and Social Blueprint Business Design methodologies to frame insights, strategies, and practices that distinguish social ventures, such as vision, values, and assessment of social impact. 

The Startup Lab is where teams of students across disciplines work with local venture-backed startups to identify, frame, and address strategic business challenges.

See the full list of Berkeley MBA experiential learning opportunities.  

Entrepreneurship Faculty Spotlight

Professor Toby Stuart is faculty director of the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program. Much of his research explores the role of social networks in entrepreneurship. He has taught previously at Harvard, Columbia, and University of Chicago business schools and received the Kauffman Prize in 2007.

David Charron, who runs incubation programs for the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program, is also CEO at Think Now, Inc. and a member of the board of Impact Carbon. He teaches Business Model Innovation and Entrepreneurial Strategy.

Drew Isaacs, a senior lecturer, also directs the New Management of Technology and the Mayfield Fellow programs at Berkeley Haas. He teaches Opportunity Recognition.

Annapolis graduate and seven-year U.S. Navy veteran Kurt Beyer lectures at Haas and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Information Science. He is a principal at Parallel Advisors and teaches Entrepreneurship.

Terry Opendyk has more than 30 years experience working with technology-based startups. The founder of ONSET Ventures, a premier Silicon Valley venture capital firm, he is its managing director and general partner. Opendyk teaches Venture Capital and Private Equity.


Related Centers and Initiatives

The Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program organizes classes, events, and programs to maximize your time on campus and your proximity to Silicon Valley. Examples include the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, hosting speakers on topics such as sustainable food and building innovation economies, and a mentorship program, comprising 50 mentors, including:

  • Michael Berolzheimer, managing partner, Bee Partners
  • Bhavin Parikh, founder, Magoosh
  • Soyug Deshpande, curator/experience architect, Salesforce
  • Carolin Funk, manager of venture technology, Siemens TTB
  • Brent Locks, senior director of product, POPSUGAR
  • Rebecca Lynn, partner, Morgenthaler Ventures
  • Leigh Thompson, senior technology scout, Dow Chemical

The Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program supports learning opportunities through the LAUNCH competition and Venture Capital Investment Competition.

The Skydeck business accelerator began as a partnership of Berkeley Haas, the College of Engineering, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Startup teams matched with high-caliber mentors work in fully equipped office space near campus with sweeping 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 used to develop prototypes and customer discovery activities. They have been given to companies building a trading platform for new cryptocurrency investors and an object recognition tool eliminating operating room waste, among others.

Entrepreneurship Co-Curriculars

The Berkeley Entrepreneurs Association strives to be the comprehensive guide and helper for everything entrepreneurial happening at UC Berkeley and for the many Berkeley and Haas ventures launched in the tech space. The BEA hosts the Bear Trap competition and supports LAUNCH, the Global Social Venture Competition, and other competitions.

LAUNCH is a competition and accelerator bringing together entrepreneurs, students, and alumni from the UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco communities to guide companies from validated product to fundable business. LAUNCH gives participants access to a proven development curriculum, world-class mentors, and real VC feedback, along with funding opportunities.

The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) empowers social entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and more than $80,000 in prizes. Led by Berkeley Haas in collaboration with a global network of leading business schools, universities, and programs, GSCV attracts some 600 entries from more than 60 countries.

Haas Venture Fellows is a select group of Berkeley MBA students who receive hands-on experience in the VC industry and strengthen the extensive relationships between the VC community and Berkeley Haas. Fellows undertake project work with prominent Bay Area VC firms and organize an annual networking event and speaker series.

Teams in the Venture Capital Investment Competition take on the role of venture capitalists, to evaluate and “fund” investment opportunities. Real entrepreneurs pitch, and the student investors are judged by experienced VCs.

The annual Big Ideas@Berkeley contest provides funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students.

Berkeley Innovators gives entrepreneurial-minded students across the UC Berkeley campus opportunities to connect and share startup ideas.

The CITRIS Foundry Innovation Incubator empowers top entrepreneurial scientists, researchers, and engineers from the University of California to build transformative companies that will have a significant influence on the world. This on-campus program is headquartered at UC Berkeley and leverages the resources and expertise inherent in both our local innovation ecosystem and our global collaborations to support new ventures, social enterprises, and tech transfer pathways that can influence and impact entire industries.

Career Support for Entrepreneurs

The list of Berkeley MBA students and alumni who have launched companies is long and still growing: Back to the Roots, Orion Span, TubeMogul (acquired by Adobe for $540 million), Indiegogo, and Keyhole (a satellite mapping venture that became Google Earth).

Students interested in joining startups find support from a dedicated entrepreneurship industry specialist in the Career Management Group, as well as the many entrepreneurship resources at Berkeley Haas listed above.

Sean Li

Sean Li

MBA 20

Founder and Director of Business Development
Ventures FM

Haas is the kind of culture that is driven by self-initiators. It's very compatible with my approach as an entrepreneur, and it’s this kind of culture that will prepare me the most when I use my MBA to enhance higher-stake businesses in the future."