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Calling all startups! UNSW has an MBA strategy for you

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 | By Kye White

After a successful first year, the Strategy meets Startups program run by the University of New South Wales is back and calling on even more startups to take on MBA students.


The program sees students from the Australian Graduate School of Management’s (AGSM) MBA course paired with startups, with the goal of applying the student’s business acumen and skills to a particular strategic issue facing that startup.


Last year 20 startups took part in the 12-week program, with some going on to hire the students they were paired with.


This year the program is searching for roughly 60 startups in the Sydney area who wish to take part.


To be eligible, startups need to have been running for at least two years, have a team of between three and 20 people, located in a premise other than a person’s home and be able to identify a significant strategic problem that if solved will significantly benefit the business.


Dr Jeffrey Tobias, an adjunct faculty at the AGSM and an angel investor who has invested in a number of startups, says the program is part of the school’s effort to focus more on entrepreneurship.


“For the students, who typically come out of the corporate world and have lived in the corporate environment, they get to immerse themselves in an area that they would never be able to experience,” he says.


“A typical startup has a CEO and a team with passion, drive, and maybe some money. But very often what they don’t have is the business skills and experience of an MBA student, who is typically 30 years old and has worked for a number of years.


“It’s a huge win-win.”


Tobias says for many of the MBA students, entrepreneurship and startups were a career path few considered and the program helps direct more business expertise into the startup community.


“One of the challenges is people don’t know what they don’t know,” he says.


“The easy path is to take a traditional career. What we’re trying to do here through experimental learning, through being immersed in a startup environment, is say you can do these things.


“A number of students have said you’ve changed my life, I’ve changed my career, I never knew this is what I could do. I realise now there’s an opportunity to build something on my own.


“The program is building entrepreneurship in a very different way.”


Twenty startups have already applied for the program. Submissions close on August 29. To apply, click here.


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