New Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship Prepares
Students to Take Charge of Business Creativity

Program Designed to Nurture Innovation at Startups and at Exisiting Companies

Jan. 11, 2010

Responding to a business climate increasingly driven by innovation, the UT Dallas School of Management has unveiled a master’s degree program designed both for individuals piloting startups and those leading pioneering ventures within established organizations.

The 36 credit-hour Master of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MSIE) program launches immediately, in the Spring 2010 semester. The program addresses traditional entrepreneurs as well as intrapreneurs—those who lead the development of new products and technologies within more mature organizations. This dual emphasis and a consistent focus on technology-based innovation differentiate the UT Dallas program from those other Texas universities offer, program director Dr. Joseph C. Picken says.

“Our curriculum has always been focused primarily on technology-based entrepreneurship,” Picken, who also serves as executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) at UT Dallas, says. That direction, Picken points out, “is consistent with the traditional emphasis at UT Dallas on science, engineering and technology education.”

Education for business trailblazers working within existing companies is a unique feature of this program, Picken says, and will fill “an unmet need in the marketplace for entrepreneurs focused on innovation within corporations.”

The university’s professional associations with Texas Instruments, Raytheon and other area high-tech businesses spurred development of the new degree program. “The design of the curriculum took place with significant input from our corporate partners,” Picken said.

In a letter supporting the new degree program, Paul Klocek, general manager of Richardson-based ELCAN Optical Technologies, a Raytheon company, wrote that it “addresses a weakness that exists in most businesses; few people have the experience and/or knowledge to successfully craft, sell and launch a new business area.”

Employment studies also speak to the need for the MSIE program, Picken says. “Depending on which source you consult, 60 to 80 percent of job creation is tied to innovation, new ventures and entrepreneurship.”

The core of the MSIE program consists of 18 hours of accounting, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, strategic management and entrepreneurship courses that will provide students with a solid foundation in the management disciplines. That foundation is crucial to successfully implement new ideas, products and business plans, Picken points out, because “entrepreneurship is not about taking risks; it’s about the recognition and prudent management of risk.”

Beyond the core, degree-seekers will focus on one of two 12 credit-hour concentrations and choose six additional credit hours of electives. The New Venture concentration is geared to entrepreneurs who want to develop original commercial endeavors. The Innovation Within the Corporation concentration is tailored to prepare individuals to lead the planning, development and marketing of innovative new goods and services in the context of the more structured environments of established organizations.

The program is designed to accommodate both students with and those without an educational background in innovation and entrepreneurship. While no special undergraduate prerequisites exist, based on current enrollments in the current MBA and MS concentrations, “we expect that a majority of the students enrolled will have a science or engineering degree,” Picken says.

Students currently employed in engineering and product-development roles in Texas Instruments, Raytheon, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed Martin and other companies in the defense, information technology, semiconductor, telecommunications and allied industries “will enroll in the MSIE program to gain the special management skills required to complement and leverage their technical skills as they assume responsibilities related to product-development, innovation and strategic-marketing roles in their companies,” Picken says.

Steve Lyle, TI’s manager of Diversity and Workforce Development, says, “The ideal candidate for this degree program would be a high-potential, technically trained individual with four to six years of engineering experience. Graduates would be considered prime candidates for strategic marketing, technology management, engineering management, product marketing, or sales-force management positions within several of our organizations.”

All classes for the MSIE degree already are being offered within the school. “We have been moving toward this program for two or three years,” Picken says, explaining that reconfiguration of the curriculum permits MSIE degree-seekers to take up to 24 credit hours in entrepreneurship classes.

Program development also has included recruiting School of Management faculty with “extensive experience in the area of innovation within the corporation,” Picken says, including Dr. Rajiv Shah, who formerly served as chief technical officer at Alcatel North America; Dan Bochsler, with a 30-year career in the aerospace, computer technology, defense and energy industries; and Yoram Solomon, a former senior director at TI with executive career experience in electronics and telecommunications.

The School of Management first offered graduate courses in innovation and entrepreneurship in 2002. Undergraduate courses were added in the fall of 2005. Over the past four years, enrollments in innovation and entrepreneurship courses have grown at a rate of more than 40 percent annually, Picken says. Currently, more than 1,000 students sign up each academic year to take the courses.

“This new offering represents an important step toward national recognition of our outstanding programs in innovation and entrepreneurship,” School of Management Dean Hasan Pirkul says. “Our program is relatively young, but the rapid growth in enrollments confirms a high level of interest among our students.”

The dean adds that “this addition to our portfolio of academic offerings complements the recent recognition of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship by its peers for ‘outstanding contributions to advance the discipline of entrepreneurship’ at the annual meeting of the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers in October.”

For more information on the MSIE program, contact Dr. Picken at jpicken@utdallas.edu or 972-883-4986.


Media Contact: Kris Imherr, UT Dallas School of Management, (972)883-4793, imherr@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Joseph Picken   The entrepreneurship degree program will fill “an unmet need in the marketplace for entrepreneurs focused on innovation within corporations,” said Dr. Joseph C. Picken.

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