Imagine being paid to start a business while getting an MBA. That is the concept behind the full-time MBA Entrepreneur Fellow program in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration.
"The goal of the Entrepreneur Fellow program is to recruit the best and brightest MBA students who have an entrepreneurial drive and will work on early-stage, technology-enabled businesses while completing their degrees," said Tom Graves, director of operations for UT's Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. "Through coursework, applied-learning experiences, faculty collaboration and mentorship, aspiring student entrepreneurs develop the skills and connections they need to successfully launch their new ventures."
The MBA Entrepreneur Fellow program is in its inaugural year; it is the only program of its kind in the country the University says. The students gain entrepreneurial skills while enrolled in the program and get funding to pay for their education which allows them time to develop their businesses.
Each fellow receives a $30,000 scholarship -- $10,000 for each of the program's three semesters. Satisfactory progress toward launching or growing their business idea is required to continue receiving funding.
Funds for the first three Entrepreneur Fellow recipients were made possible through the generosity of entrepreneurs Bob and Phylis Baron and Wayne Basler. Baron is CEO of Baron Services Inc., and Basler is president of AFG Industries.