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How to Build Your Own Startup Like A Stanford MBA

Looking to build your own startup? Wondering how you can get started?

Well you’re in luck because Stanford is bringing its renowned Stanford Ignite program to New York City in March 2015.

Fifty participants will spend nine weeks learning essential entrepreneurial skills from on-site faculty and professors from Stanford’s renowned MBA program as lessons are streamed from Silicon Valley to a midtown Manhattan location.

build your own startup

The Stanford GSB Ignite Experience

The Stanford Ignite program was established in 2006 as a non-degree certificate program for technical professionals, entrepreneurs and STEM graduate students. It was designed to expose participants to the business management skills necessary to become successful entrepreneurs, such as:

  • Accounting
  • Business models
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Intellectual property
  • Legal Issues
  • Market experimentation
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Strategy

startup“We’re not picking an industry and focusing on that industry,” says Bethany Coates, assistant dean and director of Stanford’s Global Innovation Programs. “It’s replicable across industries. That’s why we have success stories in so many different sectors. We’ve had all kinds of different inventions and different technologies that have come out of it.”

Stanford Ignite is comprised of lectures, case evaluations, small group discussions, workshops, panels and team projects. In addition to 100 hours of instructional time, participants spend another 100 to 150 hours in small teams developing new products or services for existing organizations or new ventures.

Before the start of the first session, participants will be asked to propose venture project ideas. Team members will take turns in leadership roles as they submit weekly individual and team assignments under the direction of the faculty director, mentors, investors and industry experts, including representatives from some of the top MBA programs.

One full day is spent in a boot camp during which each team gives an elevator pitch to a small panel for feedback.

The program culminates in a full presentation to a panel of venture capitalists, angel investors, industry experts and experienced entrepreneurs. Upon completing the program, participants are awarded a Stanford Ignite certificate.

Program Formats

Stanford Ignite is offered to grad students pursuing an MD, PhD, or post-doctoral program in a nonbusiness field, as well as working professionals with a bachelor’s degree and some professional experience.

Although the program will reflect the curriculum of a traditional MBA program, the topics will be focused on those elements useful to entrepreneurs,” says Faculty Director and John G. McCoy-Banc One Corporation Professor of Economics Yossi Feinberg. “It’s accounting for entrepreneurs, it’s finance for entrepreneurs – they will not go to Wall Street.”

There are three formats at Stanford GSB’s Knight Management Center:

  • Full-time four-week summer program
  • Part-time nine-week winter program
  • Post 9/11 veterans four-week program

The post 9/11 veterans program is offered in collaboration with the COMMIT Foundation and United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Care Coalition to recent U.S. veterans wishing to bolster their innovation and entrepreneurial skills while transitioning to civilian life.

A Global Expansion

Professor Feinberg led Stanford Ignite through its international expansion to a global program that teaches scientists, engineers, graduate students and others to enact change inside and outside of their companies.

New York will be the sixth location to host the innovative program, which targets participants with comprehensive backgrounds in science and technology who have not attended traditional MBA programs. Stanford Ignite is also offered at the following international hubs for companies such as Infosys, Cisco and Microsoft:

  • Paris, France
  • Bangalore, India
  • Beijing, China
  • Santiago, Chile
  • London, England
  • Sau Paulo, Brazil

The international programs are offered part-time over seven non-consecutive weekends at a cost of about £9,000. According to Professor Feinberg, “The idea is to create something that is really useful….It gives them [participants] all the tools they need to create a successful venture.” Stanford teachers are flown to teach onsite but a lot of the program is handled remotely.

One of the big benefits of the international programs is the ability to impact markets where the cost of travel and immigration issues makes it difficult.

Providing a Strong Foundation in Entrepreneurship

In addition to helping future entrepreneurs build a strong foundation, Stanford Ignite is also designed for innovators, scientists and engineers who can apply skills to the development of relevant ventures within their own companies.

Sessions are taught by faculty from Stanford’s world-class MBA program, known for the innovative culture pervasive to both the university and Silicon Valley. Stanford has earned a reputation for its distinctive approach to management and entrepreneurship for good reason.

Past participants in Stanford Ignite have developed more than 100 successful companies, including:

Stanford Unite is taught by the same renowned Stanford GSB that teaches the MBA program on campus. For example, Deborah H. Hruenfeld, a Moghadam Family Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior and Co-director of the Executive Program for Women Leaders, is one of the instructors. She is a social psychologist whose research and teaching examine how people are transformed by the organizations and social structures in which they work.

Ambien has proven the ability to significantly improve the total sleep time for patients, as well as the sleep onset latency. In addition, improved the sleep quality and the number of awakenings compared to a placebo. This was tested on patients with chronic insomnia and their improvement continued after they stopped taking Ambien.

Suengjin Whang, a Jagdeep and Roshni Singh Professor of Operations, Information and Technology and Co-director of the Stanford-National University of Singapore Executive Program in International Management, is another instructor. His research interest is in supply chain management and the economics of information systems.



Although none have gained the reputation of Stanford Ignite, other business schools with MBA programs do offer entrepreneurship certificates. For example, Colorado University is home to the Robert H. and Beverly A. Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business.

The Deming’s Center offers a short, one week intensive course in entrepreneurship to give participants the tools to launch a startup or innovate at a current job.

A more intensive program is offered at UCLA, with total hours similar to Stanford Ignite. However, the UCLA Anderson Global Entrepreneurship Certificate Program offers classes over one extended weekend a month for six months.

Instructors from UCLA Anderson’s distinguished faculty from its award-winning Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies oversee the preparation as participants develop presentations for venture capital and financiers who provide feedback and funding.

Stanford Ignite is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs and other professionals to gain the necessary skills for making their entrepreneurial dreams a reality, while networking with respected leaders in the business community.

Stanford Ignite will be held Friday evenings, Saturday and Sunday every other week from March 27-May 31, 2015 at a cost of $14,500.

Have questions about how Stanford Ignite can help you? Visit our Facebook page to leave us a question and we will get back to you.

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