We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
I first came across the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program in 2009 while I was doing an online search for graduate programs in entrepreneurship. Having attained a Graduate Business Education (MBA) before, MBET initially struck me as any other graduate business degree, but after reading more about it, I was intrigued.
When I eventually came on board in September 2012, I brought with me my industrial experience, previous education, and a firm desire for formal, hands-on entrepreneurial education in an institution like The University of Waterloo that represents a global brand in learning, research and innovation. Though I already knew what it meant to run an existing enterprise, building a new tech – based venture from the basics was completely out of the scope of my knowledge.
How MBET helped:
MBET has exposed me to the rigours of building a new business from the ground up. It taught me how to search for and validate a market opportunity, how to design products and services in the light of customers’ needs, and how to constantly monitor the pulse of the market and iterate / pivot my business idea as and when needed. From MBET, I have learned to embrace the truth and reality that being an entrepreneur is not an easy ride. It is like treading on the long road to freedom. There are lots of challenges to contend with – funding, competition, rapid technological innovations, and shifts in customers’ taste and preferences – to name a few. The consolation for being an entrepreneur, however, lies in the fact that one may only have to tread that long road once in a life time.
What other people are saying about MBET:
Two months ago, one of my classmates and I had the opportunity to meet with the chief executive of one of the venture development institutions in the ecosystem. During our meeting, the CEO shed light on his assessment of the MBET program, maintaining that he was really impressed with the profound level of understanding displayed by MBET graduates in the business creation process. He cited the success stories of several businesses that had already gained traction and the budding ones originating from the Conrad Centre as testimonials. These successes are the products of the hands-on approach of the program, the diverse academic and professional backgrounds of the students, and the close collaboration the Conrad Centre has with the Kitchener / Waterloo startup community.
What I took away from MBET:
With this hands-on approach and the timely overview and feedback from Conrad faculty on our ideas, I was able to model my budding venture in light of the current startup reality. Ten months down the line, the program drew to a close, but the experience is a priceless resource to draw on for a life time. To this end, I affirm that choosing MBET over the other graduate programs I contemplated was the right decision for me. Hence, I have no hesitation in recommending it to aspiring graduate students who want to create their own technology - based ventures, and those desiring to build capacity in existing institutions. As entrepreneurship and technology (the hallmark of the MBET program) remain the driving forces behind the rapid growth of today’s knowledge economy, the balanced mix of knowledge, expertise and mentorship provided by the Conrad Centre is an essential resource to draw on in order to excel in the highly competitive business landscape of our time.
Alphonsus Aigbokhan, MBET10 and founder, ENTERP, a nascent SMEs development organisation that seeks to assist aspiring entrepreneurs transform their ideas into commercial ventures. His interests are in Social Entrepreneurship and Technology Application in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Send Alphonsus an email, and/or connect with him on LinkedIn: Alphonsus Aigbokhan.