“This is what entrepreneurship is about. It is companies’ ability to act entrepreneurially, innovate, and reinvent themselves that underpins growth and long-term survival.”
The words of Oksana Koryak, course director of the Management and Entrepreneurship MSc at the UK’s Cranfield School of Management.
In the age of disruption, entrepreneurial skills have never been more essential. The next big thing can be started at home on a laptop. Companies like Facebook, Uber, Amazon, Airbnb and Tesla are changing the way we communicate, travel, commute, and consume. And long-established institutions need to innovate to survive.
So, how can business schools nurture the entrepreneurial mind-set?
Cranfield’s Management and Entrepreneurship MSc seeks to provide a solid foundation in management education, in combination with specialized entrepreneurial topics, to ensure its students are best placed to innovate in today’s market.
The course is targeted at those who want to launch their own business or become actively involved in managing a family business.
With modules shared with Cranfield’s Management MSc—ranked number one in the UK and seventh in the world by the Economist in 2017—the course takes a practical approach to entrepreneurial education focusing on both application and theory.
Already, this year’s cohort have gone through a business simulation on wearable tech and visited Cambridge Nanosystems to understand how to develop commercialization for graphene—the world’s first 2D material—in the Accelerated Commercialization of Technology module.
For the final project, students develop a real-life business plan or a growth-oriented family audit, comprehensive enought to be presented to potential investors and other stakeholders.
“The Management and Entrepreneurship MSc is a very applied course designed to develop students’ practical skills and provides them with the relevant frameworks to help identify, evaluate and execute the entrepreneurial opportunities that would result in a successful venture,” Oksana explains.
“We have the support of successful high-profile entrepreneurs and investors who share their expertise.” Cranfield’s Wednesday Business Talks see experienced entrepreneurs—recent speakers include the founders of GoApe!, Moonpig and CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio)—share their stories with students.
Among them, Dennis Sohni who completed the course in 2017. For Dennis, a business transformation manager at AirPlus International—which provides business travel payment solutions for corporations—the course has paid dividends, even in a corporate environment.
“The Management and Entrepreneurship MSc was very relevant,” he says. “It’s key to have openness for new topics and for change; you need to be able to deviate from your original plan. Flexibility and being able to adjust to what is happening—this is what it taught me.
“If you are going ahead with a project and realize that you need to change fast, this enables you to enact change rather than going with classical business structures,” Dennis continues “this is a very important skill in today’s world and really powerful in a corporate environment.”