The Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MIE) curriculum has been carefully crafted to first build a Foundation through focused coursework, then in the Winter quarter, it provides opportunities for Application of those foundational principles and tools, in the spring quarter, students focus on the Execution of the ideas and plans developed throughout the program. There are additional opportunities for experiential learning in an entrepreneurial company as well as curricular and co-curricular activities including workshops, speaker series, mentoring and company site visits. The minimum number of credits required for the MIE degree is 36 units (28 units of core courses and eight units of electives) with a capstone project. The core comprises five four-unit classes, and four two-unit classes for a total of 28 units. In addition, there are two electives at four units each for a total of eight units. The two electives are for further study on topics such as New Product Development, Business Growth Strategies, Marketing on the Internet, and Experiential Consulting: New Ventures.

Sample Program

Fall (10 weeks)
  • Lean Startup (4 units)
  • Marketing (4 units)
  • Managerial Finance (2 units)
  • Financial Accounting (2 units)
  • New Venture Competition (0 units)

Winter (10 weeks)
  • Entrepreneurship (4 units)
  • Venture Capital (2 units)
  • Business Law (2 units)
  • New Venture Competition (0 units)
  • Elective (4 units)

Spring (10 weeks)
  • Leadership (4 units)
  • Edge (4 units)
  • New Venture Competition (0 units)
  • Elective (4 units)

*Because the Capstone Course is also meant to help students navigate the New Venture Competition, it is scheduled in Winter (and not at the end of the program) to align with the middle three month portion of the six month New Venture Competition which begins in November and ends in May.

Core Courses

INNO 202 Leadership for Entrepreneurs (4 units)
Entrepreneurs need to build relationships and find people to support their new enterprises. Whether that involves persuading early- or later-stage investors, deciding whether to hire contractors or employees, or the many other challenges of launching a start-up, entrepreneurs need to work with other people to move from ideas to successful organizations. Yet, despite this importance, surprisingly few people are accomplished at working with and persuading others, and entrepreneurial failure due to an inability to build the support of others and manage successfully is all too common. This course is intended to assist experienced and inexperienced entrepreneurs with some of the challenges of managing others, and to help them build their understanding and skills so they can become more successful managers of people. The objective is to improve their abilities to diagnose, analyze and take effective action in their organizational work. In addition to readings, discussions, and cases, students will work in teams on a quarter-long project analyzing an actual start-up organization. 

INNO 203 Financial Accounting for Entrepreneurs (2 units)
This is an introductory course in Financial Accounting.  It provides the building blocks of financial accounting that are essential to entrepreneurs.  It covers financial ratios, and statements, incl. forecasting financial statements, basic transaction analysis, and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

INNO 205 Marketing for Entrepreneurs (4 units)
This course provides the fundamentals or building blocks of marketing knowledge, primarily for entrepreneurs involved in start-ups, and secondarily for intrapreneurs involved in growing and established companies, which need entrepreneurial skills to fast track products and services to market. Our focus is on how to create and deliver value, in innovative ways, and communicate this to multiple stakeholders from customers to investors. For example, we will cover topics such as how to think creatively about identifying new value propositions for customers  and thereby redefine existing markets or develop  entirely new markets;  how to assess market potential  and demand for products/services that are novel;  how to determine the minimal viable product or service design including pricing  necessary for market entry;  how to evaluate alternative ways in which to communicate the marketing message to customers using conventional and social media; and how to assess the optimal way in which to distribute and deliver products/services using both direct and indirect channels.

We will employ a combination of cases and a project. For the project, students will be offered two options. The first option is for students who have an idea for a new product or service. They will apply the principles discussed in the class to write a plan for the design and marketing of their new product or service. The second option is for students to select two existing products or services, at least one of which has been recently introduced, compare them on their design, pricing, promotion, distribution, sales, and profits, and make recommendations for change, all from a customer point of view.  Students can combine the two options by comparing their new product or service idea with one which exists in the market.

INNO 209 Managerial Finance for Entrepreneurs (2 units)
This is an introductory course in Managerial Finance. It provides the building blocks of finance knowledge that are essential to entrepreneurs.  It covers investment and financing decisions, including the time value of money, cash flow creation, cost of capital and capital budgeting.

INNO 211 New Venture Competition (0 units)
The New Venture Competition (NVC) at the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, in partnership with UCI Applied Innovation, is one of the nation’s premier new venture competitions, offering all UC Irvine students, staff and researchers the opportunity to form a team, create a startup and potentially fund their idea all within six months. Participants start by forming teams, submit a concept paper describing and pitching an idea of their choosing, while attending the various workshops covering a broad area of startup development skills led by experts and NVC judges. Teams compete for more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind awards.

INNO 214 Entrepreneurship (4 units)
This course is designed to expose you to an overview of the entire entrepreneurial process: identifying new venture opportunities, developing a business model, preparing a business plan, assembling a team, raising the necessary financing, and launching a new business. Our primary learning vehicle will be the exercise of working with a team of classmates to create a business plan for a new company. For background, we will use a comprehensive text supplemented by key readings on different facets of entrepreneurship. For inspiration, you will hear presentations from experienced and successful professionals in the field of entrepreneurship. The heart of the course will be working in project teams to prepare a business plan for a new company of your choosing. You will present portions of it to your classmates in a workshop environment, culminating in the presentation of the completed plan in lieu of a final exam. To ground your new company in reality, you will be required to seek out and talk to at least ten customers, distributors or other relevant market representatives to validate that your concept has attractive potential. All of these efforts are designed to help you craft a more credible new business plan, one that can earn funding support and succeed in the marketplace.

INNO 215 Lean Startup (4 units)
This is a practical class – essentially a lab, not a theory or “book” class. The goal, within the constraints of a classroom and a limited amount of time, is to create an entrepreneurial experience for you with all of the pressures and demands of the real world in an early stage startup. The class is designed to give you the experience of how to work as a team and turn an idea into a company. You will be getting your hands dirty talking to customers, partners, and competitors, as you encounter the chaos and uncertainty of how a startup actually works. You’ll practice evidence‐based entrepreneurship as you learn how to use a business model to brainstorm each part of a company and customer development to get out of the classroom to see whether anyone other than you would want/use your product. Finally, based on the customer and market feedback you gathered, you will iterate on a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to rapidly evolve something customers would actually buy. Each block will be a new adventure outside the classroom as you test each part of your business model and then share the hard‐earned knowledge with the rest of the class.

INNO 218 Venture Capital for Entrepreneurs (2 units)
Venture Capital and Private Equity constitute the so-called “alternative” asset class as opposed to conventional investments in stocks, bonds and commodities. Many start-up and entrepreneurial firms require substantial capital. Bank loans and other conventional debt financings are unlikely due to high risk and uncertain prospects. Venture Capital and Private Equity organizations finance these high-risk but potentially high reward companies. This course is structured as a 2-unit (5-week) course. Topics include: Introduction to Venture Capital (VC), Fund Raising, Management Fees & Carried Interest, How VCs and Angels finance start-ups, Pre-money and Post-money Valuation, Series A, B and C investments, how VCs evaluate deals, Valuation of Start-up firms, % ownership and Target IRR, VC financings & Types of Preferred Securities issued and Deal Structure, Team Presentations.

INNO 292 Business Law for Entrepreneurs (2 units)
Business Law for Entrepreneurs is an introductory course focused on educating individuals starting, or investing in, a new business in the United States. Its objective is to provide an overview to common legal issues most likely to be faced by entrepreneurs, such as Business Formation and Structure, Governance and Employment Contracts, Intellectual Property and Taxation. Lectures will revolve around readings and case studies, but will emphasize active discussions concerning hypothetical situations for which students will need to analyze the law to determine a likely outcome. The course will require students to develop the ability to identify both sides of an issue, to analyze the legal risk associated with business decisions, and to communicate information to third parties.

INNO 294 Edge: Innovation in a Digital Age (4 units)
External forces – globalization, technology, demographic shifts, macroeconomic trends, changing consumer preferences, and sustainability – have fast become catalysts for business innovation and reinvention. This course will explore the strategic and operational issues that business leaders face in adapting to the new business environment, what we call innovating, managing and competing at the Edge. The overarching   objective   for   this   course   is   to   enable students to better identify, understand and act upon these forces for change, which have the potential to impact and transform not just businesses, but entire industries. From typically more evolutionary trends in globalization, geopolitics, demographics and economic conditions to more disruptive shifts in the technological and competitive landscape, our attention will be on the ‘long view.’ The specific objectives for the course are to: (1) Identify strategic frameworks and tools to help identify and address the risks and opportunities associated with transformational business and technology catalysts; (ii) Learn how to apply these frameworks to evaluate the business implications of these catalysts of change from the perspective of both existing companies (incumbents and new entrants (insurgents), and (iii) Develop experience in putting these ideas into action.

Elective Courses

INNO 212 Business Growth Strategies (4 units)
This course focuses on management of growth opportunities in industries where applied innovation, usually in the form of technology, people, or processes creates a distinct competitive advantage. Companies who develop and execute superior growth strategies generate significant earnings growth which leads to stockholder investment returns, including management participation, of millions to billions of dollars.  Although the course will primarily use cases from technology driven organizations in course materials, the strategic lessons to be learned from these fast moving markets have value for all managers because all industries are now being redefined in one way or another from the application of technology.  Specific objectives include: (i) Analytical skills from market assessments of external macro and micro market forces, (ii) Framework for growth strategy development, (3) Application of growth strategy development, execution plans, and communications.

INNO 252D New Product Development (4 units)
New products and services are critical to successful growth and increased profits in most industries. This course is designed to introduce you to the new product development process and some useful techniques to (i) identify and segment markets, (ii) develop and test new product ideas, (iii) measure consumer preferences for existing and new product features, (v) organize and conduct prototyping, simulations, and experimentation, (iv) position and design new products, (vi) forecast their sales prior to launch, and (vii) manage product portfolios. A mix of lectures, cases, and group projects will be used. Topics include Introduction and Overview, Identifying and Defining a Market Using Economic/Legal Approaches, Qualitative Approaches to Identifying Consumer Needs, Quantitative Approaches to Identifying Consumer Needs, Product Design Using Perceptual Mapping, Using Excel and SPSS software, Product Design Using Conjoint Analysis, Using commercial software for Adaptive Conjoint Analysis, Product Design Using Experimentation, Using Excel and SPSS for MANOVA, Physical Product Design Issues and Implications for Customizability and Manufacturability, Optimally Organizing New Product Development Process Within and Across Firm Boundaries, Pre-Launch Forecasting Models for New Consumer Durable Products, Pre-launch Forecasting Models for New Consumer Nondurable Products, Review, Project Presentations.

INNO 257 Marketing on the Internet (4 units)
Since its commercial inception in the early 1990s, the internet has dramatically transformed marketing practice, resulting in spectacular successes as well as dismal failures within the ever-evolving space. Gaining the strategic know-how necessary for a chance at success in such a highly competitive and challenging digital environment requires knowledge of the historical, technological, social and commercial developments that have helped to shape the internet of today. Marketing on the Internet begins by laying the foundation for the type of insight necessary to intelligently and strategically engage the environment while avoiding its many pitfalls. The course covers online marketing concepts from pre-launch strategy to post-launch analytics (and numerous topics in-between), referencing real-world examples to illustrate key points while encouraging participation, discussion and a shared learning experience. Marketing on the Internet merges theoretical concepts with strategic and practical solutions. Through a combination of readings, industry articles, case studies and online references (including blog posts, tweets and videos), students are exposed to the latest developments in internet marketing. Students work in groups, applying their understanding of key topics to develop their own internet marketing strategy and plan for a new (or improvement upon an existing) product, service or campaign. The course culminates with each group handing in a 10-page paper and formally presenting their internet marketing strategy and plan during the final class session.

INNO 298 Experiential Consulting: New Ventures (4 units)
This course offers students an experiential opportunity to integrate the full spectrum of skills and knowledge attained in the Master’s program about high potential, fast growth entrepreneurship, pioneered in Silicon Valley and now mainstream in many locations around the world, in the course of helping actual funded startup companies solve real-world problems.  Upon completion of this course, students will have: (1) Gained business skills and instincts built by working with real startup companies; (2) Learned how major issues in startup companies are identified, analyzed through rapid iteration and addressed through a constant market facing approach; (3) Investigated actual business problems and developed practical action plans to deal with them in the fast-moving, high-stakes, resource-constrained environment typical of startups; (4) Developed an understanding of how enterprise value is built in a startup and of how  that value may be created or destroyed by operational decisions made by the startup’s management. During this 10-week course, teams of students will be matched with funded startup companies that have specific business problems.   Each team will work with one company to precisely articulate the company’s problem, develop a work program to investigate the problem, secure the instructor’s and the company’s approval of the work program, execute the work program and develop recommended action plans for addressing the problem.  Each team will prepare written status reports on its progress and will document its work project and findings in a final written report.   During the last two weeks of the course, the teams will present summaries of their reports to their companies’ managements and, in front of the entire class, to a panel of venture capitalists.  The management reports will take 2-4 hours each including discussion.  The presentations to the venture capitalists will be limited to ½ hour for each team and will take place during Finals week.

New Venture Competition

Students are required to enroll in a three quarter zero-unit New Venture Competition course through the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The New Venture Competition at the Merage School is jointly offered with UCI Applied Innovation and runs from November through May. Students participating in the competition will be coached and judged by entrepreneurs, business leaders, angel investors, and venture capitalists, and will attend several Lunch and Learn sessions and short workshops on a variety of topics aimed at increasing the odds of success in the competition. Upon graduation, students will have the opportunity to enter the Wayfinder incubator at UCI Applied Innovation where Experts-in-Residence (EIRs), through a broad set of available resources, help student teams build relationships with investors, advisors, and community partners to pave the path for successful capital raising, advancement of technology, and refinement of their business models, among other significant milestones.

New Venture Competition 2018 Winners