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Entrepreneurship certificate program helps MBA students adjust mindset

UNG began offering an entrepreneurship and innovation certificate this summer on the Cumming Campus.

A new certificate program at the University of North Georgia (UNG) is seeking to foster entrepreneurship and innovation.

Part of the Mike Cottrell College of Business (MCCB) at UNG, the graduate-level program was offered on UNG’s Cumming Campus this summer. Dr. Ruben Boling, who leads the effort and taught one of the three classes, said the certificate opportunity will be available on either the Gainesville or Cumming campus each summer going forward.

The goal of the 10-credit-hour program is to prepare students to either start their own business or become more innovative in their corporate job.

"It adds value to their MBA degree even if they’re staying in the corporate world," Boling said.

He said the classes expose students to the benefits and challenges of starting a business, helping them make intelligent decisions.

"It is a growing area of interest in graduate programs, as well as undergraduate programs," Boling said.

In addition to Boling, others who taught classes this summer were Chris Colson, director of innovation at the Federal Reserve Bank, and Maria J. Rivera, who works in professional coaching and teaching.

Steven Kronenberg, MCCB director of graduate programs, said the certificate caters to a wide variety of interests ranging from technology to art.

"It’s a program that fits pretty much every background," Kronenberg said. "It will give you a better outlook on business."

Kristiana Allenbaugh of Cumming, Georgia, said the courses are helping her see how to be more innovative in her job at McKesson, a health care company. With everything changing so quickly in the 21st century, Allenbaugh said these skills become more valuable.

"The ability to be creative and innovative is definitely important," Allenbaugh said. "It’s important to find ways to bring those ideas to life."

Ken Walker, also of Cumming, left a job at Amazon in 2017 to take part in UNG’s MBA program, setting a goal of summer 2019 to decide whether to chase his dream of starting a business.

"When the entrepreneurship certificate became available, I felt it was exactly what I needed to make a good decision," Walker said. "Since I’m retired and really working in my second career of sorts, I don’t actually need the certificate for advancement, but getting it prepares me if I pursue my idea."

Walker said he would highly recommended the entrepreneurship and innovation certificate option to other MBA students.

"You miss part of the experience of what entrepreneurship is about without these three classes," Walker said. "The certificate is icing on the cake for me, but for the younger members the certificate is invaluable and prepares them fully for understanding the dynamics of their respective workplaces based on their stages of business development."

For more information on the entrepreneurship and innovation certificate, visit the program’s website.

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