It's rare to find a program that matches MBA and Ph.D. students together to help bring business ideas to life while offering credit towards a degree. TI:GER (Technology Innovation Generating Economic Results) is just such a program, providing hands-on experience in innovation and entrepreneurship, including working with actual ventures.
The program, housed within the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, allows Full-time and Evening MBA students to earn a STEM concentration and allows Georgia Tech Ph.D. students from the Colleges of Computing, Engineering, and Sciences to apply their credit hours towards their minor.
What was your concentration/degree?
I focused on data analytics, strategy, and innovation in addition to the TI:GER concentration.
How did you find out about the TI:GER program?
I learned about the program when choosing MBA programs. The opportunity to work on commercialization projects and learn from startups was a big reason the Scheller MBA program stood out to me.
Did you already have an idea/product/invention that you wanted to work on within the program? If so, what was it?
No, I did not have a specific product idea, but I enrolled in the TI:GER program to learn more about entrepreneurship. I had only worked for large corporations before coming to the MBA program and wanted more exposure to how early-stage ventures make decisions and set their strategy.
What were your major responsibilities?
In the first semester of the program, I collaborated with a Ph.D. student by looking into potential markets and applications for their product, which was a new type of gas sensor. I spent time reviewing industry publications, researching safety protocols, and speaking to experts in the oil and gas industry.
What are your major takeaways from being in the program?
In the job search, MBAs are often asked how they deal with ambiguity. The coursework in the TI:GER program is intentionally open-ended, and students have to make quick decisions with limited information to support their teams and the founders they are working with. This is a great learning experience whether you come from a corporate background or are making a career pivot.
The program reinforces the importance of customer focus. Without a clear target customer and a quantifiable value proposition, founders can easily spread themselves thin. Learning how to create a customer-centric strategy is a key learning experience for MBAs that complete the program.
Can you describe how your experience enhanced your career after graduating?
In my current consulting role, I work with a new client and industry every few months. It's crucial to ask targeted questions and gather relevant data quickly to understand the industry and the client's business model. TI:GER gave me practical experience in jumping into projects where I had little experience.
Another key component of the TI:GER program is customer discovery. This process involves interviewing subject matter experts and potential customers for your business. The qualitative research experience directly applied to my post-MBA role, where I frequently hold structured interviews with experts and key stakeholders.
Would you recommend the program to others? If so, why?
Yes! If you are considering entrepreneurship, TI:GER gives you frameworks and methods that can apply to any venture. You will come away understanding how to choose a target market, understand your customer, and prepare for a product launch. If you are an MBA leaning towards a corporate or consulting role, TI:GER gives you the skills to work with highly technical people and adapt to changing business priorities.