Business Development Fellowship Program

male grad student standing by academic building

Grow new career paths with MBA-level coursework and networking. 

Key to the program is hands-on experience in developing the skills needed for a career in industry or to create new business ventures.

The current program runs September 2020 to June 2021. Applications for our 2021/22 program will open in the spring. 

Welcome

The Business Development Fellowship program offers UC Davis graduate students, Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral researchers in all disciplines hands-on experience in developing the skills needed for a career in industry or to create new business ventures. This program will help you:

  • Learn business skills. No concrete idea is required—come to learn.
  • Prepare for a career in industry—or define your research project early on.
  • Gain an “edge” and a taste of business your peers won’t have during the job search.

You will:

  • Study alongside MBA students.
  • Gain a first-hand look at the entrepreneurial experience.
  • Develop the commercial potential of your research.
  • Explore career opportunities in industry. 
doctoral candidate in her lab with computer screens
Stacy Seidl | 2018/19 Business Development Fellow and Ph.D. candidate, neuroscience

As an academic scientist you have little exposure to business, industry and the startup community. Having the opportunity to experience life outside of the ‘lab’ was eye opening and life changing.

Snapshot: Your Year as a Fellow

  • Five Graduate School of Management courses taken with MBA students. Each course meets for 3 hours a week and includes group work. 
  • You'll spend 15–20 hours per week working on the program.
  • Grow your entrepreneurial mindset at the UC Entrepreneurship Academy in October.
  • Option to attend Big Bang! workshops and enter the business competition.
  • Attend monthly luncheons featuring a guest speaker and networking with our Keller Pathway Fellows.
  • Due to the intensity of the program, you must complete your academic program coursework before starting the fellowship program.

View Info Session

  • Program Requirements 2020/21
  • UC Entrepreneurship Academy. Held in October. You must attend the full virtual programming. 

    Opening Fellows’ Luncheon: September 21 | noon to 1:30 p.m. | Zoom

    Monthly Fellows’ Luncheons (up to two excused absences allowed) | Noon to 1 p.m. | Guest speakers TBA | Zoom

    • October 12, 2020 
    • November 16, 2020 
    • December 7, 2020 
    • January 11, 2021 
    • February 22, 2021 
    • March 14, 2021 
    ​• April 12, 2021 
    • May 9, 2021 

    Closing Dinner: June 13, 2021 | 5–7 p.m. | Location TBD

    Graduate School of Management Courses: Fall, Winter and Spring Quarters

  • How to Apply
  • The Business Development Fellowship program is open only to UC Davis graduate students, Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral researchers. Applications are now closed for 2020/21.

    If you are accepted to the program, ask your advisor to email Senior Program Manager Niki Peterson a letter in support indicating that this program will take priority should scheduling conflicts occur. Please delay applying to the program if time constraints are a challenge.
    Sample Letter of Support

    Selection Criteria
    • Due to the heavy workload of the Business Development Fellowship program, applicants must have completed their coursework for their master's or doctoral degree.
    • Fellows must have the support of their advisor(s) to participate. 
    Sample Letter of Support
    • Priority selection goes to applicants with a career goal to work in industry, launch a startup or commercialize their research.

  • Coursework
  • Business Development Fellows take five courses in technology management, innovation and entrepreneurship, and participate in interdisciplinary practicums alongside MBA students and under the guidance of Graduate School of Management faculty, investors and entrepreneurs.

    Educational Objectives 
    Students acquire knowledge, skills, and abilities in the following areas: 

    • Dynamics of innovation and entrepreneurship
    • Innovation strategies and work practices
    • Interdisciplinary teamwork
    • Evaluating technology/market opportunities
    • Product, process and new venture design
    • IP patenting and licensing strategies
    • Writing and communicating business plans
    • Building and managing interdisciplinary teams
    • Modeling finance and investment strategies
    • Rapid prototyping and testing strategies

    Below is an example of the classes included in the program; actual courses are based on the Graduate School of Management's course schedule and availability.

    Fall Quarter
    MGT 251 Management of Innovation

    Describes the processes of creativity and innovation and provides students with the means to craft interdependent innovation strategies, work practices and cultures for managing innovation in organizations.

    Winter Quarter
    MGT 244, Lowe, New and Small Business Ventures
    Student teams develop complete business plans for their own start-up ventures.  Process includes: elevator pitch, business strategy, comprehensive bottoms-up financial projections, capital requirements, product differentiation, competitive, alliance, and go-to-market strategy development, investor presentation, and comprehensive written business plan. 
    MGT 246, Garcia, Negotiation in Organizations 

    This course is designed to help students develop the ability to effectively negotiate in a competitive business environment. It focuses on negotiation skill-building in the areas of individual conflict management, team management, performance appraisal, corporate impression management and inter-organizational project management. The course will be taught largely through in-class simulations to provide an opportunity for experiential learning. The simulations will also allow students to develop a personal style of negotiation by discovering what works best for them in different situations.
     

    Spring Quarter
    MGT 290, Vaidya, Entrepreneurship Clinic
    Provides the necessary analytical and design tools to create and evaluate business ideas and refine potential business models based on emerging technologies. Students learn to work closely in small, interdisciplinary teams to synthesize technical, strategic, and marketing needs and resources into designs for new ventures. Topics include rapid market research, financial modeling, prototyping, and venture investment. Throughout the course, students will work in teams to develop and refine a set of new venture concepts, culminating with a well-developed venture pitch for investors. Instruction and experimentation are integrated and overseen by both faculty and practicing professionals (investors, entrepreneurs, and executives).
    MGT 241 , Peters, New Product Development
    Why do some companies consistently outperform other companies in developing successful new products and services? Why do so many new products fail in the marketplace? This course introduces students to the major activities involved in developing new products and services. Emphasis is on learning practical skills and techniques that can help students be successful in a product development environment. Students will learn how to understand customer and user needs, and translate them into meaningful product concepts; manage product development programs and teams across multiple functions. Do financial analysis of programs and make economic tradeoffs in the development effort. Choose product development methodologies appropriate for the business and products. As part of the course, students may work on a new product development project. More details available in the syllabus.
  • FAQs
  • Who can participate in the Fellows program?
    The Business Development Fellows program is open to UC Davis graduate students, Ph.D. candidates and postdocs in all disciplines.

    We generally accept doctoral students, post-coursework. Masters students are admitted conditionally, based on their coursework load. 

    How do you select participants? 
    Acceptance is based on your application, a letter of support from your advisor and your interview. Every applicant is scheduled for an interview. We look for candidates who are motivated to learn outside the lab and the classroom and who want to develop new skills and methods of thinking about their research and learning.

    Where does the program take place? 
    Courses are held at Gallagher Hall, Graduate School of Management, unless otherwise noted on the course syllabus.  Note: Due to the pandemic, classes, monthly lunches, the Big Bang! Business Competition and other events will take place on Zoom in the 2020/21 academic year.

    How much does the program cost? 
    Through the support of the Graduate School of Management, accepted fellows attend the program at no cost. Fellows are responsible for supplying/paying for course books and materials. 

    What are the courses? 
    Fellows participate in five Graduate School of Management courses over the academic year. The course schedule changes year to year, but an overview includes: 
    • Management of Innovation 
    • Entrepreneurship Clinic 
    • Technology, Competition and Strategy 
    • New and Small Business Ventures 
    • Course TBA 

    When are the courses held?
    There are generally two courses in fall, two in winter, and one in spring. Classes are three hours in duration, once a week, throughout the quarter. 

    What if I can only attend some of the classes? 
    We admit fellows based on their commitment to the program and expect all fellows to attend classes regularly. 

    Do I receive credit for the courses? 
    Graduate students receive a transcript for their courses. As graduate students, you are enrolled in each course and receive an official course grade. 

    Postdocs are not enrolled students at the university and so do not receive official course credit. Postdocs will be graded in their course but you do not receive an official university transcript. 

    Can I transfer credits from the program? 
    Enrolled students who receive an official transcript may be able to transfer course credit to an MBA program. Transfer credit is determined by each university differently, so you will need to have your transcript evaluated. 

    How much time does the Fellows program require?
    Anticipate spending 15–20 hours a week on the program, on top of your regular research / lab duties. 

    Two courses a quarter equals six hours of class time. On top of that, estimate another 12–14 of homework, group work and projects. 

    What kind of letter of support do I need? 
    Because of the outside time commitment, we ask that your advisor write a letter indicating they support your participation in the program. Your advisor should be on board with your participation, as you will likely need flexibility with your research and lab time to participate in the program. 
    Sample Letter of Support

    What is the UC Entrepreneurship Academy? Am I required to attend? 
    The UC Entrepreneurship Academy is the premiere academic program for commercializing science and engineering innovations.

    The academy is taught by investors, entrepreneurs, university faculty and industry experts who serve as mentors and guest speakers. You’ll gain the knowledge and networks needed to move your research or idea out of the lab and into the world, where it can truly make a difference. 

    The academy takes place in the early fall. Business Development Fellows are required to attend the academy. There is no fee to attend. 

    What is the Big Bang? Am I required to participate in it? 
    The Big Bang! is the annual UC Davis business plan competition. We encourage all fellows to participate on a Big Bang! team. The work you do in the Graduate School of Management courses will often translate to your Big Bang! team. We recommend including an MBA student on your team. 

    Who are in the fellows courses? 
    The courses you take are part of the Graduate School of Management's MBA curriculum. You will be in a class with MBA students. In a class of 30, you can expect 21 will be MBA students and nine will be Business Development Fellows.

    What is the benefit of taking courses with the MBA students? 
    Wonderful things happen when scientists and engineers, and graduate students/postdocs in the humanities and the social sciences come together with MBA students. Business Development Fellows discover new concepts, possible business ventures, and alternate methods of thinking about an idea. 

    What other events take place during the year? 
    In addition to the coursework, monthly Fellows Lunches and the Big Bang!, we typically host five or six educational and networking events during the year. These are optional for you to attend. However, we recommend that you participate to enhance your experience as a Business Development Fellow.

    How much are the course materials? 
    Depends on the course, but similar to any grad school class. 

    How long has the program been going on? 
    We have offered the program annually since 2004. 

    Is it possible to audit a course for an evening to get feel for what they are like? 
    Upon permission from the instructor, some courses may be audited for an evening.

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