Ray Garcia and Riccardo Paterni discuss the joint program between the University of Pisa MBA and the PhD Plus initiative. The Phd Plus program is an initiative to teach PhD researchers about entrepreneurship and provide support for commercialization through technology transfer into a spin-off venture. The ventures may enter the regional incubators in the Tuscany region. The MBA program within the School of Economics is an international student body representing 17 different countries and is an intensive full time, one year long program. It includes the foundations of business practices, including the formation of new ventures through entrepreneurship. The student are required to defend a thesis on research they do related to an internship or job they work in during the second half of the program.
The joint MBA and PhD program in entrepreneurship aims to create viable business concepts. The students and researchers are required to formulate a viable business, complete a comprehensive business plan, and submit the plan to the regional StartCUP Toscana business plan competition. From the time they complete the entrepreneurship course they have three months to complete the exercises. They are guided through the process through consultations from mentors and coaches who challenge and provoke the students into addressing real business challenges. The researchers who are selected into the joint program have breakthrough scientific research that has the potential for commercial impact and needs the business collaboration to realize the value in the marketplace.