Great ideas need a supportive environment in which to grow. Curtis Johnson Morrison, an aspiring entrepreneur and UBC MBA candidate, has found one at the Sauder School of Business.
With more than a decade of work experience under his belt, Curtis is one of the wiser, more experienced candidates in the 2015 cohort of UBC MBA students. He always had an urge to indulge his entrepreneurial instincts, but it wasn’t until he began the UBC MBA program that he was able to fully explore his passion for innovation.
“Over the years I’ve had plenty of ideas rattling around in my head that I wanted to develop, but until I came to Sauder I didn’t have the core business knowledge that you need to get new ventures fully established,” says Curtis. “I also feel very lucky to have developed a really solid network of friends and colleagues from the program, predominantly people who are interested in entrepreneurship.”
Incubating new ideas
While other MBA students are doing company internships, Curtis is spending his summer working full time on a new business venture called Taggage, an idea he describes as “a collectible luggage tag system with integrated tracking and mapping built in.”
He’s working from the Vancouver offices of an advertising agency called DDB Canada. He and five other students made the connection through Sauder Professor Paul Cubbon.
“We’re acting as our own little incubator of new ideas here,” says Curtis. “We bounce suggestions off each other, support each other and provide feedback on our various business ventures. It’s a wonderfully dynamic environment to be working in – sort of like our very own innovation club.” Curtis mentions the Technology and Non-Technology Entrepreneurship course taught by Cubbon and Thomas Hellman as a particularly inspiring experience in the MBA program. “You get the chance to take an idea from the initial concept all the way through to presenting it to potential investors and that’s something that every entrepreneur has to go through. You can never have enough practice at it. It’s has been very valuable for me because I’m going through this process right now in real life.”
But Curtis says that the MBA program is about much more than just the academic learning. He and thirteen of his peers on the UBC MBA Hockey Team went to Harvard for a tournament, met with Harvard students and hockey players and attended classes with them. Curtis, who is on the UBC Sauder Innovation Club Executive Committee, also took the opportunity to visit the university’s innovation lab with some of his friends. Next up he’s planning a trip to San Francisco to attend the Tech Crunch conference and will combine it with a visit to Standford’s innovation lab and a site visit with an innovative new startup.
“These are not official MBA or Sauder activities,” says Curtis. “But it’s through this program that I’ve been able to meet so many great people and have these incredible experiences outside of the classroom.”
If, like Curtis, you’re looking to try new things and explore your passion for innovation, find out more about the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Track offered as part of the UBC MBA.