It is fair to say that MBA students are passionate about entrepreneurship. According to QS, over 60% of MBA applicants want to be running their own businesses in 10 years’ time.
Edinburgh Business School (EBS), Heriot-Watt University, recognized this, and launched a full-time MBA program that offers a specialized entrepreneurial route.
The first cohort of the MBA enrolled in September last year, with students taking specialized electives in subjects like ‘Entrepreneurship and Creativity’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Venturing’.
In these modules, students learn about every aspect of starting a business—from assessing the feasibility of an individual idea, to big-picture thinking about the role of entre- and intrapreneurship in the wider economy.
At the beginning of July, the school also unveiled a brand new Business Incubator, which will be nurturing nearly a dozen student-run businesses over the course of one year.
The main EBS hub is in Edinburgh, Scotland, however the school also boasts campuses in Dubai and Malaysia and offers a global reach. Professor of business and enterprise, Laura Galloway, who introduced entrepreneurship onto the EBS MBA, offers her insight:
“What we will do is teach the MBA cohorts in Dubai and Edinburgh separately,” Laura explains, “and then they’ll all be taught together in Dubai.
“There are huge benefits to that—it makes for a very international cohort, an international experience, and understanding of the differences between both countries’ economies and markets.”
This global access is just one example of the opportunities that Edinburgh Business School offers to its MBA students: “Our students get access to networks, to role models, and to people who might help them increase their career prospects,” Laura says.
EBS also plans to develop a range of entrepreneurial courses for online MBA learners.
“One of the reasons why we would want to develop entrepreneurial MBA for online learners is not just so that they can all start businesses if they want to,” she says. “It’s that if they are interested in becoming more entrepreneurial within the firms that they work for, we can develop those skills that they can apply anywhere.”
In today’s fast-paced business environment, Laura explains, even large firms can benefit from entrepreneurial thinking: “Nowadays, it’s not enough to go to work and be managerial for the rest of your career. Increasingly, organizations need people to have this ‘X Factor’—they need applicants to have ideas, to have initiative, to have the confidence to take a risk.”
This is certainly at the core of the practice of entrepreneurship as it’s taught at EBS—and in fact, it could be the key to survival for even the most massive corporations.
“All of the big firms have become big because somebody had an idea, and then somebody else has had another idea and so on,” Laura continues. “We try not only to encourage people to have ideas, but to gather their resources and do the right things in order to make these ideas come to life for these organizations.
“That’s how they stay alive over the longer term—and of course, you can see it in reverse, because the ones that die are the ones that stay still.”
There’s no danger of that on the MBA with entrepreneurship at Edinburgh Business School: from starting their own businesses on the Edinburgh campus, to jetting off for courses in Dubai, this is an MBA that will keep students constantly on their toes. The entrepreneurship and creativity course is open to all Heriot-Watt University post-graduate students and there are limited spaces available for external budding entrepreneurs in Edinburgh and Dubai.