MBAe course experience
The MBAe curriculum is designed as nine integrated subjects that build your capabilities and confidence as you progress through the program. There are no electives and we recommend starting either in Autumn session (March) or Spring session (August) if you want to study the MBAe. You can start the Graduate Certificates at any time.
Explore each subject and meet the teaching staff here:
Start-up Data, Marketing and Sales
Gain a basic understanding of how to collect and interpret data about markets, customer behaviour, experiences and sales to help create a path to market for new ventures, and to launch new and innovative products or services. Remove much of the guesswork from startups as you learn about market segmentation, marketing and sales strategies, and how to use analytical techniques to make evidence-based and data-driven decisions.
The subject is taught in an intensive block mode. Teaching staff: William Page
William Page: Hi there, my name is William Page and I'm the subject coordinator for Start-Up Data, Marketing and Sales. It's a real pleasure to welcome you to the course. I'm super excited to meet you all and to work with you through your ideas. I probably should just mention at the start I'm actually an entrepreneur myself. I run a couple of start ups based predominantly out of Europe, so I'm very much familiar with the trials and tribulations that you may have as a start up founder as you come up with your idea, you grow your business, and most importantly, you market it to potential customers.
So, marketing. It's an extremely important subject and in order to succeed with your start up, you need to be able to effectively market your idea, your value proposition, and the vision and values of your start up. By doing that, you can scale your business, and we'd like to think you can be very successful with that. If you can't effectively market your idea to customers, then no matter how good or how great your idea is, it won't succeed. So first and foremost, I want to stress that this subject is very practical. It's very interactive. We use a lot of different case studies and ideas to actually work through different marketing techniques and different marketing concepts, and put them into practise. So, it's a very engaging subject.
So, the subject outline is we start initially with the basics, you could say, of marketing. Understanding the Seven P's, understanding the different ways in which you can market your idea. Before we move on to the concept and idea screen, and so really screening the idea that you have seen how this could work from a marketing viewpoint. Importantly, we use lean methodology, which whilst is taught elsewhere in the MBAE, here has a particular focus in terms of testing different ideas as effectively and as quickly as possible in terms of marketing, and seeing what works, and seeing what doesn't work.
The next part of the course is segmenting your audience, and this is really important because if you can't effectively segment the audience that you're going to market to, then how can you possibly successfully market to them? So, it's really important to understand what your value proposition is for your start up, who the potential audience is going to be, so that you can then position and effectively market to to that audience by understanding what you have and what they're going to like. Now, you would've noticed from the subject it's called Start-Up Data, Marketing and Sales. Well, that's because data is become increasingly important in marketing. So, you need to be able to understand what your data is telling you about your audience. How are they reacting to the marketing that you're doing? What do they like? What do they not like? Is there something that you're missing? Is something taking off in a way that you maybe didn't expect it to take off?
I'm sure you've all heard of the term growth hacking, which is a term which is thrown around quite a lot, but the key here is growth hacking is about using your data. That's really the importance of this subject. So, using practical data, we try to help you understand what the customer lifetime value is, what he different key metrics are, what the key approach is that you can effectively use to market to your potential audience. So, data is absolutely important.
Finally, you would've noticed that the sales is in the name. So, sales is a very important part of this particular unit. So, the sales component is very hands on. It's very practical. We use real techniques and ways in which you can effectively market your start up so that you can effectively sell. I always like to say to start up founders, "You are, first and foremost, a salesperson. You need to be able to effectively sell the vision, sell the product, sell the passion that you have for the start up idea that you're working on." Really, that's what separates successful founders, I'd like to think, from unsuccessful ones. So, sales techniques and hands on examples of how to effectively sell are really, really crucial. This will also involve some very helpful techniques on how to speak in public and how to effectively use your language so that you can sell better to potential customers.
I also want to point out and stress that this unit is very, very interactive. We work through your start up ideas throughout the course in groups. It's engaging. We want you to come in with an idea that you've maybe done a little bit of research on, but then grow that idea, grow the marketing off that particular start up throughout the course so that when you effectively finish the course, you have a blueprint or an idea as to how you're going to go to market with your start up. So, that's an overview of the course. I'm super excited to meet you all in class and to work through the start up ideas that you have, and I can't wait to hear from you even more. So, take care and see you soon. Cheers.
Start-up Finance and Accounting
Develop an understanding of how finance and accounting information is used to support strategic and operational decision making for early ventures. You will gain a basic understanding of finance and accounting concepts and help plan and deliver financial management-related aspects of early ventures and small businesses. The subject is taught in an intensive block mode. Teaching staff: Professor Prabhu Sivabalan and Professor Dave Michayluk
DAVE MICHAYLUK: Hi. Welcome to startup finance and accounting. My name is Dave Michayluk. And I'm going to be co-teaching this class with Prabhu.
PRABHU SIVABALAN: Hi, everyone. I'm Prabhu Sivabalan. I'm a professor of accounting and Associate Dean at the UTS Business School. And with Dave, I really look forward to teaching you startup finance and accounting. I think it's a wonderful subject because it covers the key aspects of accounting and finance as it relates to entrepreneurs, which is not often the same as it relates to any other person working in an organization.
Accounting is often regarded as the bedrock of business. An understanding of accounting numbers affords you the ability not only to understand whether your idea is wonderful and brilliant but also communicate the evidence of that to others, so they buy into the energy and wonder of your idea.
For the accounting part of the subject, I'll be teaching you three things. First is financial statements, financial statements not as they apply for big companies or the top in the town, but for entrepreneurs. If you're starting your business, how do you use accounting numbers to help me better understand your business?
Having understood the financial statements, we'll go to financial ratios. How can you combine numbers in order to tell stories about your business in a way that hopefully gets other stakeholders interested in your business? And finally, I'll teach you simple tools and techniques that will really matter to you day to day, practically, like a budget, not just doing a budget but sticking to it and how you evaluate yourselves if you beat your budget or you miss your budget.
But of course, why do we do all this? All this is done so that we are, in some way, able to mobilize resources to better manage our entrepreneurships. And here in finance is absolutely key.
DAVE MICHAYLUK: Thanks, Prabhu. Accounting is the bedrock of what we learn. But we'll be using that to make finance decisions that are in three parts of your startup. Right at the beginning, we need to make sure that you're able to fund your startup. You can do it with your own money. But it might be a lot more effective if you can get other people's money. We'll show you how.
We'll also show you in the second step when your business is really set and ready to grow, that's when finance is essential. Otherwise, you might miss that opportunity. And it might never get large.
And then finally, at the very end of your journey, you may want to exit the business. And finance will be there to help you.
So we're really looking forward to teaching this class together. And we'll see you soon.
This subject helps you understand the operations of an early-stage enterprise. Integrate your newly formed knowledge in accounting, finance, data analysis and marketing with entrepreneurship, innovation, commercialisation and strategic management. You learn how to evaluate a business opportunity and develop it through the various stages of commercialisation towards an operational business model for early-stage enterprises. The subject is taught in an intensive block mode. Teaching staff: Professor David Brown
David Brown: Welcome to opportunity commercialization. David Brown is my name. I'm a professor in the business school. In this subject, we're going to build on the coursework that you would have done in your accounting, finance and marketing subjects. We're going to extend that and in particular we're going to look at the kinds of problems and challenges you'll face as an entrepreneur as you build and scale your organisation. One of the things that you'll have to do is develop a strategy for your firm and then we'll look at how you can build the kinds of systems that will support your decision making, your capacity to get people to do what they're supposed to do, what would often be described as a behavioural control problem and also the idea around how you can scale an organisation. Coordination is a massive problem as you try to develop your business from a small business to a large business and we'll look at how you design systems to enable that scaling activity.
Now what's really important about this is that you're going to be working on your own venture. So right from the very beginning in this subject, you walk in with your idea and then we work with you with that idea in a classroom, and ultimately you'll have an initial evaluation and plan for how your business will go forward. Now what's really important about that is that when you get the venture day at the end of the year, that will be where you pitch your idea ultimately to investors and financiers, who hopefully love your idea as much as you do. So make sure you prepare lots before you come to class. Get online, have a look at campus, look at the materials, prepare. We want a great experiential learning exercise for you in the classroom. I'm really looking forward to seeing you.
Leadership, Teams and Scalability
Learn how to be an effective leader and manage people and organisational growth in early-stage enterprises. You will examine core issues such as setting expectations, understanding individual behaviour and motivation, job and culture design, managing performance, mentoring and developing staff, and providing effective rewards and incentives for good performance. The subject is taught in an intensive block mode.
Teaching staff: Dr Tim Rayner
Tim Rayner: So, you want to build a company. You've identified a market opportunity and you've a great idea for a product that will solve a real customer problem. You have some talented friends who can help with marketing and tech development and even some money in the bank to keep the wolf from the door while you get started. The future looks bright. What could possibly go wrong?
The answer of course, is everything. Statistics show that the vast majority of startups fail without making any money at all. Over 50% of those companies who raise investment capital fail in the first five years. This subject, leadership teams and scalability will equip you with the knowledge and skills you require to lead your startup to success.
A startup is not a small version of a large company. Accordingly, the kinds of skills you require to lead and scale a startup are quite different from those required to lead and manage teams in an established organisation. Key factors that contribute to startup success include the ability to form the right teams for venture, the ability to instil passion and motivation in teams, the ability to articulate a clear vision, to plot a strategic roadmap success, to maintain focus at every step.
The ability to teach, enable and encourage teams, to remain aware of market shifts and changes and to cultivate the agility to respond to them. The ability to instil humility in the team so the people refuse to blinded by ego and pride, cultivating instead a culture of constant inquiry and continuous learning. This, more than anything else is what enables you to stay ahead of your competition.
We'll meet for four day-long workshops. I envision that these will be highly participatory, interactive sessions. Bring your passion and a will to engage the class. I've created a set of four online education models, one for each class. These modules which you can view in advance include videos, readings, exercises and quizzes and provide a framing of the classes.
I expect you to engage this material seriously, deeply and reflectively so that you come to class equipped with questions and insights to contribute to the learning process.
Start-up Structures, IP and Negotiation
This subject develops knowledge in governance, contracting and negotiation for early-stage enterprises. Learn how to set up a business, get things started and operational. The key aspects covered are business law, agreements, corporate structures, intellectual property, professional advice and other relevant regulations. You also learn about the principles of ethical business practices and develop your negotiation skills. The subject is taught in an intensive block mode. Teaching staff: Brian Dorricott and Lynne Teo
Imagine. It’s 4 years from now. You’ve got 20 employees. Turning over $10M. There are articles about you in AFR and SHM. You’re up for Entrepreneur of the Year.
Then it hits you…
It’s a letter from a competitor. They claim you are infringing their IP and have asked you to cease and desist. Close down. Stop. Right now.
What did you do? What should you have done? What can you do?
These are the questions that this module will help you understand and navigate.
In the first part we’ll cover how the legal system works: Where do laws come from? What’s the difference between regulation and law? Who implements them? Who enforces them? What happens if you overstep the mark? Where do the services of lawyers fit into all of this?
Next, we review how you can set up your business structure without sewing the seeds of destruction by mistake. Partnership or Limited Company? Public or Private? What happens when/if your co-founder leaves? What about the impact of investment?
Finally, we look at dispute resolution. Who can help and what are their motives? What are the principles of Negotiation? How do you make sure you build a workable future where you can all prosper?
We cover all this using a series of lecture, videos, readings, research and report, and simulation. You will be graded using quizzes, essays and reflections on your own experience and performance.
So how does the course help you when that letter arrives? Firstly, we do all we can to stop it happening. Secondly, we learn how to prepare for it when it does happen. Thirdly, we work out how to get the solution you can live, survive and thrive.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation Practice
You work on a live startup or innovation project in this subject. You will learn the professional practices of developing innovative and entrepreneurial strategies. Drawing on the knowledge of strategy, design thinking, data analytics and startup methods, this subject provides you with the skills required to examine, design, test, improve or redesign viable businesses. This subject is delivered as weekly evening classes and in intensive block mode. Teaching staff: A/Professor Jochen Schweitzer, Leanne Sobel and Tarra van Amerongen
Jochen: Hello and welcome to Entrepreneurship and Innovation Practise or what we call EIP. Working in a startup or any organisation today involves a constant stream of challenges from finding product market fit to finding business models, or deciding strategies to enter specific market segments. There's no shortage of tasks that require innovative solutions or an entrepreneurial approach.
Tarra: How would you like to work on real innovation challenges or startup problems? Well, this is what EIP is all about. EIP is experiential learning designed as an innovation strategy consultancy, where we work with real companies on entrepreneurial and innovation challenges.
Jochen: The challenges that we tackle in EIP for example, include coming up with a market entry strategy for a high growth U.S. recruitment service or developing a business model for a small medium enterprise and an urban redevelopment initiative here in Sydney. We also create value propositions or entry strategies for artificial intelligence early startups. We've done many products over the past couple of years ,and we're very keen to start the next four with you this semester.
Hello, my name is Jochen Schweitzer, and I've worked most of my career as a strategist or innovation consultant, and for the last 10 years as an innovation and strategy scholar here at UTS. One of the key challenges that I have observed both with clients and students over the last years is that how to come up with innovative strategies for businesses in increasingly ambiguous and volatile markets. While the usual strategy toolkit that's taught in business schools around the world helps to identify best practises and analysing successes of the past, firms and startups alike are often struggling to find novelty or real innovation. This course follows a design thinking or human centred approach to strategy. This is fairly recent, but it offers great promise.
Tarra: Well you get an EIP is hands on experience to develop entrepreneurial and innovation strategies. It includes strategy, design thinking, analysis and consulting skills. Teams work in groups to help existing startups, corporates as well as not for profit or social ventures with a design thinking challenge. Students engage in research to understand the problem or opportunity, to identify user needs, explore company resources, capabilities, processes and revenue streams, as well as what the competitive environment looks like, what relevant trends are and emerging technologies.
Hi, my name is Tarra Van Amerongen. I've worked in consulting for most of my career, and I've adopted design thinking as a strategic tool to help companies on their innovation journey. I realised this tool set was a way to invest in solutions that people really wanted, and it was also a lot more fun than previous analytical methods I had used because it really gets to the heart of the matter and creates deep empathy for users. I've worked on too many projects where no one adopted the solution at the end, and design thinking has been able to cut through what the individual preferences are from sponsors. It represents what a group of users really wants. Along my journey, I've worked at companies such as Cap Gemini Consulting, the Commonwealth Bank, BCG Digital Ventures, and today I run the Fjord Design Studio here in Sydney, where we bring designed corporations, creating beautiful digital experiences for their customers.
Jochen: So in EIP, you're not alone. We use very experienced mentors and advisors that have real world experience and give you advice along the process. This happens each day, each Tuesday in class and by our two advisory panels. We meet every Tuesday between six and nine o'clock here in class, and there's also three, four Saturday. One, the first one to get you started, one halfway through the programme to consolidate the findings from the research phase, and one towards the end where we find you in your solutions and presentations back to the client. The nature of our classes is collaborative and more like workshops. There's not much lecture time, and teams will work on different topics anyway. They might have different needs at the time, so we make sure you have all the tools and methods available, but you have to do the work and apply them as you see fit.
Tarra: Sometimes we will change the schedule and agenda if we see the need to introduce a particular topic or tool, or we might even bring in an expert to talk towards a particular topic. Here on Canvas, you can also find summaries for the key tools and methods, as well as lots of additional resources and background readings. All assessment items in the subject are designed to create a client outcome. The first is the research phase. Second, the client presentation, and third is the client report. The individual assignment contributes to the group work as it forms part of the analysis and the creation of a report for your overall solution. So what could solutions look like? Well, it depends on the project, but it could be a strategy, an actual new product or service, an improvement on an existing product or service, or a set of recommendations or all of the above.
Jochen: So welcome to EIP and ...
Tarra: We're looking forward to it.
Founder at Heart
Appreciate your entrepreneurial purpose, integrate your profile, build your resilience and learn about alternative approaches to entrepreneurship. Founding a venture requires imagination, courage and strength of character. Every founder is different and Silicon Valley best practices may not serve all. You need to identify your own 'why' and 'how' to cradle your ideas so that you can build a business that suits your character, team and a market need. This subject combines purpose, resilience training and systems thinking to help you identify your approach to entrepreneurship and to not run out of steam. The subject is delivered in an intensive block mode. Teaching staff: Dr Ele Jansen
Venture Growth and Internationalisation
Equip yourself with the knowledge and tools necessary to leverage international opportunities for your venture. This subject investigates the dynamics of launching and managing a business in different international environments, as well as the additional oversight challenges that come with growing an existing business into new territories. The subject will give you a global lens through which you can test and validate an emerging business. The subject is delivered in an intensive block mode. Teaching staff: Rob Deeming
Rob: As entrepreneurs, we're constantly being told that Australia is a small market, but plenty of great businesses have been founded in Australia and many have kept their focus on this market alone. During the venture growth and internationalisation course, we'll focus on two core themes. First, we'll explore what it means to build a business in the Australian market and the trade offs relative to starting in other markets around the world. Second, we'll dive into what it means to lead a business venture through growth, and particularly to lead a team that spans different geographical regions. Each of you is progressing your own business vision and concepts. Great entrepreneurs think early and often about how they're going to address the challenges of growth down the track and what decisions they can make today to make things easier later. VGNI will be a deeply practical learning experience. By the end of the course, you'll have the tools and confidence to think through these two themes in the context of your business and your own leadership style.
We'll hear from three world-class entrepreneurs and investors who are actively thinking about this topic in their own businesses and portfolios. We will spend time investigating the issues through the lens of my current startup in the healthcare space. We'll begin by looking at the leadership challenges of leading a startup through growth. How should we each adapt our own style to suit a growing environment? From there, we'll explore the characteristics of some truly remarkable entrepreneurs, as we investigate what it takes to successfully lead a growth venture. Are there common characteristics that are shared by all great entrepreneurs, and what behaviours can we each learn to better equip ourselves for startup success?
Next, we'll spend some time looking at international startup ecosystems. What are the attributes that make some environments prime for innovation and startup success, and how does Australia stack up? And what does that mean for your business and your international growth plans? We'll look at the practical tools that frame the launch of your business into a new territory, and we'll consider the challenge of internationalisation in the corporate context. What can big companies teach us about being successful with international growth plans? VGNI is 30 hours of class time, over two weeks. It will be short, intense, challenging, energising, and most of all, it will be deeply practical. I look forward to meeting you all soon.
Venture Planning and Pitching
This is the capstone subject for the MBAe. You will create or re-think your entrepreneurial proposal around a clear customer need. Develop the building blocks of your venture by aligning resources, processes and revenue streams with a value proposition as you design, test, improve and redesign a business model. At the end of this subject, you will pitch your proposal to a panel of experts and potential investors. This subject is delivered as weekly evening classes and in intensive block mode. Teaching staff: A/Professor Jochen Schweitzer and UTS Entrepreneur in Residence Tom Bass
Jochen S.: Hello and welcome to Venture Planning and Pitching. My name is Jochen Schweitzer. I'm the course director for the MBAe and the Academic Lead for Venture Planning and Pitching.
Tom Bass: My name is Tom Bass. I'm the entrepreneur and residence at the UTS Business School, and the Practise Lead for Venture Planning and Pitching.
Jochen S.: VPP is a capped-on subject of the MBAe. This means you will heavily draw from knowledge and learning you gained in other subjects in your MBAe journey so far. You've been working all year learning the tools to different contacts, now is the time to put them all together and work at launching your own venture.
Tom Bass: So, VPP is all about execution. It should really be called Venture Execution and Pitching. The best outcome you can get from the MBAe, and this subject in particular, is a hell yes or hell no about your venture.
Tom Bass: This is a subject where we'll stress test you, push you to maintain focus and momentum, seemingly impossible next step to get to the next tangible proof points, because this is what is required to succeed at entrepreneurship.
Tom Bass: If you find out your idea is nuts but love it all the same, fantastic, keep going. If you think that anyone who subjects himself at this madness should seek help and it isn't for you, awesome, we've done our jobs. We've done our jobs in helping you make a critical decision in your lives so that no matter what you choose to do after this, you're only ever looking forward.
Jochen S.: So, in other words, this subject is about creating or rethinking your entrepreneurial proposal around a very clear customer need. You will work on the building blocks of your venture by aligning resources, processes and revenue streams with a clear value proposition.
Tom Bass: The aim is to provide you with the knowledge and the skills required for designing, testing, improving and redesigning business models while applying skills of strategic analysis, planning and decision making. You will also work creatively towards a pitch.
Jochen S.: You have already worked with one of the key features of this course. The MBAe roadmap has helped you to get to this point. In your past consultations with Tom, you have progressed your thinking about your venture and you have been taking steps to validate a problem, to validate a market need, maybe even test a solution or worked on a solution market fit. We will continue to use the roadmap to identify where you're at and what's next for you.
Tom Bass: We're going to take you on a journey to get your venture conceptualised, the problem-opportunity space to finding a crystal clear fashion. It's core assumptions validated, even your first customers of your game all wrapped up into a punchy pitch that you'll deliver at this end of the session to win supporters, more customers and perhaps even investments.
Jochen S.: The other key feature of Venture Planning and Pitching is to introduce you to the principles of effectuation. Effectuation is a framework that has been developed from observing highly successful entrepreneurs. We will learn about this framework and apply it to your practise as an entrepreneur. This might be uncomfortable at times but as you will review and possibly change how you go about being an entrepreneur, you will see how powerful effectuation can be.
Tom Bass: The attitude that we want from you going to this course is one of curiosity, courage, and conviction to follow through. It matters not the idea that you have chosen may not be the one that you ultimately pursue. It matters more that you follow through the steps so that after you've left the course you have this basic building block of validating and creating a new venture under your belt.
Jochen S.: How do we work together in this subject? It's simple. We kick off this course with a full Saturday, which we will use to get everyone up to speed, assess the current state of your venture and plan, the work for you for the session. And then we meet on Tuesday nights in the venture. Sometimes we will cover learning materials, but mostly we will use the time to provide an opportunity to share what we've learned and what we've done. Get feedback and learn from each other.
Jochen S.: As we move towards the end of the sessions you will notice a lot of scheduled class time. This is mostly to practise your pitch because we're going to work towards Venture Day.
Tom Bass: What is Venture Day? Venture Day is your opportunity to present your venture to the world. Every year in mid-Feb we host this demo day at the UTS Business School where you present your venture amongst other UTS entrepreneurs and MBAe students, and have a chance to win awards and prizes of up to $10,000 in cash and in kind.
Tom Bass: We work with you towards this day honing a presentation and persuasion skills. There's also a great opportunity to make important connections with supporters of entrepreneurship in Sydney and even angel investors, incubators or venture capital firms.
Jochen S.: Here on canvas you will find a whole range of relevant methods, tools and study materials that will help you fill the gaps in your knowledge. The way we want you to engage with this conduct is on demand. That is, after we are identified what seems most relevant for you to do next, we will point you to the section of the canvas to work through it.
Jochen S.: This might be using design thinking to come to a problem solution fit or a value proposition design and business modelling to come to a solution market fit. Along the way, we encourage you to develop your approach to funding, registering your company, selling and even shipping your project and many other things.
Tom Bass: We'll brief you in detail about the two assessments in the subject, but in essence, you're developing a pitch take and a report or information memorandum which contains the details of your venture as you will prepare it for a potential investor.
Jochen S.: This is a very intensive subject. It's 12 credit points, which means you can expect about double the amount of study and time as you will usually spend on a six-credit point here.
Tom Bass: I'd say three times.
Jochen S.: Throughout the subject you will engage in some substantial researching, testing, validating of your ideas. We're very excited to work with you on this, so let's get started.