The master’s that connects students with Berlin’s thriving startup scene

Berlin has been dubbed the startup capital of Europe. But how does the city’s top business school connect the dots between Berlin’s innovative startups and its master’s students? We spoke to the manager of ESMT Berlin’s innovation hub to find out.

In short

What is a master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship?

How many times have you heard somebody say: “I’m not a creative person”?

There is an idea that creativity is an inbuilt trait, limited to a lucky pool of talented artists and entrepreneurs. But in fact, creativity is a skill that you can learn, practice and improve. Innovation is simply part of the creative process.

This is the idea that underpins a master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship (MIE). A master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship teaches students how to identify new market opportunities and generate business ideas that exploit these opportunities.

In a practical sense, this degree will teach you how to assess, analyze, and overcome the risks of starting a new venture. You’ll learn how to ideate, test, and validate new business ideas. You will learn how to take an innovative idea and bring it to market.

To learn more about doing a master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship, we spoke with someone who works closely with MIE students based in one of Europe’s leading innovation hubs: Berlin.

The Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ESMT Berlin

There can’t be many places better suited to study innovation and entrepreneurship than in Berlin. Dubbed “the startup capital of Europe,” it is home to scores of companies that are driving innovation across the continent.

So it makes perfect sense that ESMT Berlin, one of the leading business schools in Germany, has decided to launch its own Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Baris Efe is the Manager and Co-Founder of Vali Berlin, which is the in-house entrepreneurship hub at ESMT Berlin. He told us a little more about what their MIE program looks like.

“During the program, we’ll guide students to find co-founders, identify new business opportunities and implement new business solutions,” he tells MASTERGRADSCHOOLS. “We also encourage them to think about innovation and entrepreneurship as a mechanism to create value.” (12:03)

Beyond the practical skills taught in the degree, the MIE will also give students the chance to work on a new business idea over 18 months through Vali Berlin. Baris believes this is one of the key pillars of ESMT’s program.

“During the process students can develop their ideas, work with corporate partners and colleagues in their program but also work with colleagues outside of their program. This allows them to really push forward and develop business ideas during their studies,” Bari says. (12:27)

How ESMT Berlin connects MIE students with Berlin’s startup scene

We’ve already touched upon the city’s thriving startup scene, but does a school like ESMT Berlin make the most of it? How do they connect students with startups? Perhaps most importantly, how do MIE students benefit from being in the startup capital of Europe? Baris explained to us how they bring together all of these moving parts.

For a start, every student is paired with a mentor. Baris explains,“One of the key elements of this mentorship is that every mentor is also an entrepreneur. These people have already built companies, they have been through the journey themselves, so they can really help students to validate and develop their business ideas. This is really important to us.” (08:05)

ESMT doubles down on this by connecting concepts studied in the classroom with real-life examples from startups. According to Baris, bringing in entrepreneurs, investors, and other stakeholders is perhaps the unique selling point of the MIE at ESMT.

“Let’s say we want to teach students about KPIs and scaling,” Baris says. “We would always invite someone that can talk about KPIs and how they use them to grow their own business. I think this is one of the things that makes our program unique.” (08:47)

Where can a master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship lead?

An MIE is not just aimed at entrepreneurs, however. Baris believes the degree would be suitable for four main clusters of people, all of whom come from different backgrounds and are set on different careers post-masters.

“Firstly, it’s ideal for corporate innovators who want to challenge the status quo within an organization,” he begins. “The second group are entrepreneurs; those that want to start a business, but need the skills or need help finding a co-founder.” (14:12)

He continues, “Thirdly, venture capitalists who want to learn how to assess and evaluate business ideas but also want to gain the experience of actually building something so that they can understand entrepreneurs. Lastly, technical people should also apply to this program because they will learn how to build a business based on their technical capabilities.” (14:55)

It’s clear from our conversation with Baris that a master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship can open many new doors for your career. From launching your own startup to driving innovation within an established organization, it is perhaps a more open-ended master’s than it first appears.

But ultimately, an MIE is all about that one word mentioned at the start of this article: creativity. By enabling students to open their minds to new, creative ideas, this master’s provides students with a skill that any employer in the world would love to have. And there surely can’t be a more compelling reason than that to go and study it for yourself.

Want to hear more about ESMT Berlin? Get in touch with ESMT Berlin master’s students directly through the MASTERGRADSCHOOLS Ambassadors Page.

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