I had read about the new Acton MBA a few months back, but couldn’t remember where. Tonight I found a great article about this unique MBA/entrepreneurship program — founded by some UT Austin Profs/Entrepreneurs.
I am so happy to see this because one of my biggest complaints about academia is the lack of entrepreneurship that occurs within it. Trying to do things differently is frowned upon. Stick to the traditional literature and theories, blah, blah. From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
“Far too often, students learn to regurgitate what a professor tells them,” says Jeff Sandefer, the third-generation Texas oilman and former University of Texas at Austin entrepreneurship professor who co-founded the school.
At Acton, students complete M.B.A.’s in one year rather than the traditional two. “They develop a real respect for the difficulty of sales,” he says. “A lot of times, M.B.A. students think of themselves as being above the sales force. It’s not easy to be told ‘no’ 99 times and to have to stand up, put your ego aside, and ask again.”
There is no tenure at Acton. Its faculty members, all of whom are entrepreneurs, do not lecture or do research. They earn $5,000 per course, plus a bonus determined entirely by student evaluations. Each year the professor with the lowest grade is given the boot.
Students who complete the degree get a fellowship that refunds their entire $35,000 tuition. If they’re satisfied with their education, they agree to pay 10 percent of their salaries until the fellowship is paid back. If they aren’t happy, they don’t pay.
In 2002, Mr. Sandefer and three other professors left the entrepreneurship program they had developed at the University of Texas to start the Acton School.
For a year, it was housed at St. Edward’s University, in Austin, but its unconventional practices made for uncomfortable bedfellows.
“It was a great experiment and a good opportunity for both parties while it lasted, but it was not a good match,” said Mischelle Diaz, a St. Edwards spokeswoman.