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Cass MBA students explore entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley in San Francisco is the most famous entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in the world.

by Amy Ripley (Senior Communications Officer)

It’s the birthplace of tech giants such as Apple, Facebook and Google and many of the current crop of successful global start-ups also have their roots there – think PayPal, Netflix and Uber.

It’s clear that the future of global business lies in the innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship which has made Silicon Valley such a successful place to do business.  But how can tomorrow’s business leaders understand this world and incorporate its concepts in their own plans for the future?

As part of the MBA programme at Cass Business School, students have a chance to find out exactly what makes Silicon Valley tick with an immersive five-day module – At the Core of Entrepreneurship.

Recently led by Professor Marianne Lewis, Dean of Cass Business School, the module gives students the opportunity to travel to San Francisco, observing at first-hand the Silicon Valley tech industry, learning how its entrepreneurs generate new ideas, assemble teams, begin ventures, raise funding and scale up.  

Professor Lewis is just back from a trip to the Valley with the students from the 2016 MBA cohort which included participants from both Cass’s Dubai and London campuses.  

She said a combination of company visits, hands-on workshops, field research and lectures by faculty, founders, investors and business leaders, brought key course concepts to life.

“Thanks to our Cass network of alumni and supporters we visited leading companies such as Amazon, Solar City, Airbnb and eBay, giving students a tremendous opportunity to meet living case studies.  We learned from ‘unicorns’ - rare start-ups which have rapidly accelerated to $1bn in revenues - to established global businesses and exceptionally creative, serial entrepreneurs,” she said.

Professor Lewis, who has been integral to the development and teaching of the module, said its immersive nature gave her opportunity to get to know her students – something which senior academic leaders don’t always make the time to do.

“I really enjoyed working with our students – their energy and enthusiasm was contagious. I hope they learned as much about themselves – their potential, skills and passions, as well as the power of continuous and global learning – as they did about the Silicon Valley ecosystem and the firms we visited,” she said.

Cass MBA student Steve Duttine said taking part in the module gave him direct access to successful entrepreneurs which gave him a valuable insight into the culture of Silicon Valley. 

“My two highlights were informal Q&A sessions with Xochi Birch, founder of Bebo, and Matthew Prince, founder of Cloudflare.  The trip was a great opportunity to meet other MBA students and it was very inspiring to hear their stories.  My experience has encouraged me to consider different options for my own career, including potentially moving to the Valley after I graduate.”

Professor Lewis said the distinct international nature of the module, as well as industry exposure and strong support from academic staff and Cass alumni provided the MBA students with a competitive advantage in the marketplace, allowing them to get right to the heart of entrepreneurialism.

“It is unique that our students can choose from so many international options, and join peers across MBA courses – our full-time and executive options, and London and Dubai campuses. The resulting cultural diversity as well as mix of varied industry backgrounds and personal interests powers a vibrant and collaborative learning experience,

“I personally find such international learning experiences addictive. They highlight the paradox of knowledge: the more you know, the more you know you don’t know,” she said.

At the Core of Entrepreneurship runs every year. To find out more about Cass MBA programmes, contact our MBA recruitment team:


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