by Del Foit
Entrepreneurship is the process and attendant risks, of designing, launching, leading and growing a startup business venture.
This is a formulaic and inclusive definition. In reality entrepreneurship is about creating value by thinking innovatively — either individually or in teams — to solve significant problems or unmet market needs. These individuals — the entrepreneurs — make this happen by applying science, technology or new business models to solve these unmet needs.
Not all entrepreneurs or inventors need to, or are motivated to, start companies. Consider Thomas A. Edison, an inventor and entrepreneur who followed the entrepreneurship road via Edison Electric Light Company, and Jonas Salk, an inventor and developer of the first successful polio vaccine who followed the research path.
In today’s world, entrepreneurship is more important than ever before. The Rady School of Management MBA program’s entrepreneurial focus is about providing students with the mindset, knowledge and skills that allow for success in “innovation driven enterprises” — be it a startup/emerging company, or an established large enterprise. In either case, the individual creates value and is rewarded by identifying and evaluating opportunities that others have overlooked.
Our signature three-course sequence, Lab to Market, is unique among all business schools. It is more than a single course or simulated exercise in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking. We teach you how to identify scalable new ideas that fill a market need and that add social and economic value — be it in a large established business, emerging company or a startup.
Lab to Market is a real time, action-learning experience, immersing you in a real market problem or unmet need, moving from the classroom into a real world environment to test your hypothesis. You will face resource constraints. This will help you hone your critical thinking, communication, effective problem solving and other key entrepreneurial skills. These are the competencies and entrepreneurial mindset necessary for success as an innovative, opportunity driven entrepreneurial leader and manager.
Ruben Claudio (MBA ’13), a Rady School and Lab to Market alum, is a firm believer in the power of Lab to Market. He currently works as an estimator and project sponsor at Coffman Specialities, Inc., a business enterprise specializing in the construction of large public and governmental projects.
“My experience in the Lab to Market program and my time at the Rady School spurred my on to move on from my previous employment, and aggressively pursue opportunity within my industry,” he said. “Also, where I’m at, I’ve been able to be intrapreneurial, in that I’ve been able to influence and innovate processes here. I could not have asked for anything more.”
At its core, Lab to Market is about teaching students how to:
- Identify the emerging “opportunity space” in an industry sector
- Generate and validate new ideas and innovations
- Distinguish real viable opportunities from interesting ideas
- Evolve ideas into scalable products and services
- Evaluate business models that can and will translate opportunities into ventures
This does not always translate into starting a company upon graduation. It is about providing students with a mindset for thinking and acting that will empower them to succeed. It is about teaching students how to create value by applying the analytical frameworks and tools of their MBA education to various sectors.
About Del Foit
Del Foit is currently a lecturer for the Rady School’s Lab to Market course. He is also an entrepreneur and angel investor. He has served as the president and CEO of StructureSpec Biosciences; the COO of Sequenom, Inc; vice president North American Operations, Roche Diagnostics, Director Infectious Disease Business Unit, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a J&J company.