MBET vs. MBA — what's the difference?

A graduate business program for entrepreneurs

The MBET program equips students with the business knowledge, skills, and experience to move ideas and innovations into commercial practice. Students take core business courses such as marketing, finance, and accounting; however, course content and delivery is focused on the entrepreneurship process. Students also take courses in innovation and technology management, as well as certificates in technical sales and management consulting.

Experiential, hands-on learning

Entrepreneurial experience is embedded in the MBET curriculum through several practical components which provide context and hands-on application for classroom learning. To support this active learning, the program is delivered in an integrated format, with material from all ten courses delivered at the time that it is most relevant to the entrepreneurial process. This supports the MBET philosophy of learning to solve problems and achieve goals, rather than addressing hypothetical problems that might occur in the future. 

The MBET learning environment is collaborative and dynamic, favouring workshop-style classes, group projects, and an emphasis on individualized mentorship through guest speakers, events, and entrepreneurs-in-residence. Students are surrounded by entrepreneurial peers working to advance their own ventures, in a highly supportive and energetic atmosphere.

Three MBET students working together in the Conrad Hub

Entrepreneurship is the outcome

Students are well prepared to launch an entrepreneurial career; alumni commonly start and run their own companies, work for startups, act as consultants, find roles within the entrepreneurship ecosystem, or join larger companies in innovative roles. Like the program itself, career paths are highly individualized, and for that reason, the program does not provide placement in specific roles as is typical in traditional MBA programs.

Students graduate with a strong network developed through the program’s experiential components, and a versatile skill set that prepares them to find, evaluate, and pursue opportunities while building an entrepreneurial career according to their interests and skills. 

Comparing MBET to a traditional MBA



Traditional MBA


Focused on the entrepreneurial aspects and applications of business subjects like Leadership, Marketing, Finance, Accounting, and Strategy.

Specialized subjects like Business Model Validation, Technology Innovation and Venture Creation are part of the core curriculum. 

The curriculum is designed to benefit entrepreneurial students with a focus on the knowledge and skills most relevant to entrepreneurship and innovation.

Focused on wide-ranging theories of business subjects with a focus on their administrative and operational aspects and possible applications.

Specialized subjects are electives or add-ons otherwise.

The curriculum often focused on finance or management with applications in existing, established enterprises, rather than new ventures or innovation. The commercialization process is often a footnote.

Course delivery

Course content and learning experiences are delivered in an integrated way, connecting subjects together while students make the entrepreneur’s journey through the commercialization process. 

Students are exposed to most courses in the first term and continue through the duration of the program proving a unique opportunity for knowledge synthesis, metacognition and meaningful, practical application.

Courses are delivered in a linear, course-by-course sequence. There are generally few formal opportunities to connect or synthesize knowledge across subjects. 

Experiential learning

Practical application of classroom learning is embedded throughout the program. Experiential learning assignments involve real companies, real projects and real people. 

Students interact and work with early-stage venture founders, established corporations and their own or fellow-student ventures in the real world. By doing so, students encounter all the often unpredictable and variable factors, situations, attitudes and challenges that entrepreneurial professionals face in the business world today. It can be messy at times, but it is as real as it gets.

Application of classroom learning is traditionally done through case studies. While case study data is frequently provided by real companies, the data and accompanying narratives are often polished and sanitized to position their providers in the best possible light. 

Class and faculty experience

MBET is a highly collaborative and collegial class experience. With only one intake per year, all MBET students start at and finish the program at the same time. The classroom experience is dynamic, engaging and fun.

Small class sizes result in a high-touch experience for students who have unparalleled access to faculty support. MBET students enjoy a highly personal experience shaped their unique individual goals and aspirations.

Traditional MBAs often feel like a continuation of the undergraduate program. Often highly competitive in a bid to emulate a highly competitive business world, MBAs typically require a more individualistic approach from students.

Large classes and large faculties mean students often mean that the experience is less personal and getting faculty support often requires advance scheduling.

Outcomes and career paths

MBET is an innovative, entrepreneurial graduate business degree for a new and increasingly entrepreneurial and innovative business world.

MBET graduates are practical and professional entrepreneurs with a broad knowledge base and skillset. As expert problem-solvers, they are equipped to move ideas through the commercialization process and successfully launch new products and services in the marketplace.

As entrepreneurs - MBET alumni rarely wait to climb the proverbial corporate ladder, rather they fashion ladders and opportunities for themselves. 

Because entrepreneurship is about making things happen, rather than waiting for things to happen to one’s self, MBET alumni pursue a wide variety of careers including venture creation and innovation-focused roles - most frequently in the technology sector. MBET alumni excel in entrepreneurial environments and start-ups were problem-solving and thriving in ambiguity are valued.

The MBA has long been viewed as a kind of golden-ticket that enables business people to climb the proverbial corporate ladder. The MBA degree has been around since the 1940s and so have the jobs typically filled by MBA degree-holders. 

Students who want careers in administrative or operational roles in established industries and enterprises are well-served by the staid reliability of an MBA degree.

Over the long term, career advancement is often possible by obtaining a traditional MBA because of the classical approach of these programs.

Hear from Prof Harvir Bansal on what makes MBET different

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