As you explore new industries and business issues in the classroom, experiential learning experiences outside of class will help you build on these concepts and carve out a niche for yourself. The University of Texas at Austin and the McCombs School of Business are rich with opportunities to hear world-renowned speakers; participate in business plan and case competitions; attend interdisciplinary conferences, and join student organizations. Many of these activities are student-initiated and could not happen without the ambition and passion of our students.
Entrepreneurial Resources and Competitions
Have a business idea you are interested in developing? The University of Texas at Austin offers unique entrepreneurial resources and competitions to help you get your idea off the ground.
Texas Venture Labs is a campus-wide initiative making it easier for student entrepreneurs to start businesses by providing a faster, step-by-step method to bring their innovations to market. Venture Labs directly links you to the appropriate entrepreneurial, business, technology and legal resources available both on the campus and in the Texas entrepreneurial eco-system while providing the mentoring, team-building, market and business plan validation, technology commercialization and domain knowledge needed to start and grow innovative ventures.
The Venture Labs Investment Competition, formerly known as Moot Corp, creates an environment in which the world's entrepreneurially minded MBAs solicit startup funds from experienced investors in a simulation mirroring the real-world process of raising venture capital. MBAs from around the globe converge in Austin each May to present their business plans to panels of investors, demonstrating diverse and creative perspectives on business and society. In May 2011, 40 teams from 12 countries competed in the event.
Founded as Moot Corp in 1984, this investment competition is both the first and longest operating, inter-business school, new-venture competition in the world. The competition's winners earn $100,000 in seed funding as well as a year's office space and overhead costs in the Austin Technology Incubator. About half of each year's teams actually go on to start companies based on their ideas. In 2009, a team of Texas Evening MBAs (pictured above) won first place in the Texas round of the competition with their company FocalPop, a Web-based solution for finding quality stock photography. They went on to compete in the global competition, bringing home additional honors. In December 2009 they announced the launch of their website, http://www.focalpop.com/.
In addition to the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition, the Idea to Product Competition and the Dell Social Innovation Competition are two other national competitions hosted by the University of Texas.
Texas MBA+ Leadership Program
For those MBAs interested in professional development opportunities and gaining additional experience in a new function or industry while in school, the Texas MBA+ Leadership Program facilitates an individually tailored leadership experience just for that. Unique to the Texas MBA program, MBA+ provides an evolving series of services, micro-consulting projects (formerly known as ENHANCE projects), and workshops that connect our MBAs to companies of interest, heightens communication skills and keep our students ahead of the curve. As recruiters search for applicable experience, ‘fit’, and initiative from among candidates around the globe, MBA+ helps propel Texas MBAs to the top of their lists.
Of particular note are the MBA+ micro-consulting projects. Similar to a summer internship experience, these projects allows a team of four to seven Working Professional MBA students to tackle a well-defined business project provided by a participating organization. You and your team act as consultants on projects that address real issues a company is facing and present your solutions to the management team. This not only gives you exposure to future job possibilities, it connects you with potential mentors in your desired field.
Learn more about the Texas MBA+ Leadership Program
Depending on the interests and goals of each class of MBA students, a number of student organizations form each year to further professional development opportunities, serve the university or build social networks. Organizations centered on consulting, entrepreneurship, finance and student government have been popular with Working Professional MBA students in recent years. You are encouraged to take on a leadership position in an existing organization or start your own group. This is an excellent opportunity to develop and demonstrate leadership skills and make connections with industry leaders. In addition to the Working Professional MBA groups, interested students are encouraged to connect with student organizations formed by full-time MBA students for access to additional resources that match up with your goals and interests.