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Certificate Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Certificate Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CPIE) is a unique opportunity for Pitt Business students who wish to explore the interface between innovation and entrepreneurship as an enhancement to their business major. The CPIE is designed to provide students with an exposure to entrepreneurship whether their goal is to start and build a successful business or drive innovation inside a traditional organization.  Certificate completion will be posted on the student’s academic transcript.

Students completing the CPIE will better understand business operations and framework, how small and private businesses differ from large corporations, and how to determine market potential for new products. The required experiential learning component will allow students a hands-on opportunity to gain experience in the process of innovation and entrepreneurship in a wide variety of settings from traditional organizations, to start-ups, to non-profits pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. 

The CPIE is designed as an enhancement to the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree program, not as a detached curriculum.  It builds upon the BSBA core curriculum and assumes that the student is earning a major in accounting, business information systems, finance, global management, human resources management, marketing, or supply chain management.  Accordingly, enrollment is open only to students in the BSBA program offered by the College of Business Administration.  Enrollment is also available to students pursuing a double degree through the College of Business Administration (BSBA) and either the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences (BS or BA) or the School of Information Sciences (BSIS).

Program Description

A total of 15 credits are required to complete the CPIE.  This includes both required and elective coursework focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. CPIE elective coursework allows students to tailor their program to their specific business major and to one of three “tracks” including: corporate (innovation and development inside the organization), traditional (business ownership), and social impact (social entrepreneurship). The program culminates in an experience-based learning component (EBL).   Students can complete the EBL component by selecting an entrepreneurship project course, an entrepreneurship internship, or a global entrepreneurship experience.  To earn the CPIE, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.25 (C+ average) across all courses in the program.

Students are also strongly encouraged to participate in related non-credit entrepreneurship immersion experiences such as competitions and student organizations.  

CPIE Requirements - 15 credits

1. Required Courses (6 credits) – The following courses are required:

  • BUSORG 1640: The Entrepreneurship Process (3 credits)
    Emphasis will be placed on business principles vital to the entrepreneurship process, including idea generation, feasibility analysis, the integration of the functional areas of business (strategy, marketing, finance and accounting), building a new venture team, securing financing and protecting intellectual property. Through case studies, video clips and visiting entrepreneurs, these principles will be contextualized with real-life entrepreneurial successes and failures.
  • BUSORG 1645: Corporate Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
    The course concentrates around the question: how do companies strategically manage technology and innovation? The goal is to provide theories and methodologies relevant to the management of innovation which will help achieve a sustainable competitive advantage for firms. Students will have to apply ideas, concepts, tools, and frameworks introduced in the course to real world cases. They will be challenged to develop and defend their opinions in matters that are not always straightforward. Prerequisite: 60 credits

2. Selective Required Course (3 credits) – Select one of the following:

  • BUSENV 1785: Social Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
    This course focuses on the specialized case of entrepreneurship as a “mission-based venture”. We will review the various ways and examples of how entrepreneurship can be a positive tool for achieving social as well as economic progress. During the course, students will study cases on social entrepreneurship (both domestic and global), examine the best opportunities for private sector activity, examine non-profit and for-profit approaches, and work on a project team to develop a plan for an actual social entrepreneurial venture within the local community. Students will select one of the following options that are designed to provide an entrepreneurial track for students to endeavor.
  • BUSSPP 1750: Commercializing New Technologies (3 credits)
    This course covers theory, conceptual frameworks, and tools used to formulate strategies for commercializing new technologies. The analytical frameworks cover elements of commercialization strategy that are equally critical to start-ups and to corporate technology ventures. In addition, we discuss some of the key challenges that differ for start-ups versus established firms. The primary deliverable in the course is a professional quality project which evaluates the commercialization alternatives for an emerging technology. Your project team will be paired with a local inventor, unless you prefer to evaluate a technology of special interest to your team. Experienced entrepreneurs and expects in financing new technology ventures will also address the class. Prerequisite: BUSSPP 1080: Strategic Management is preferred but not required.
  • BUSMKT 1431 Product Development (3 credits)
    Addresses all stages of the product life cycle beginning with the various phases of new-product development, including creativity and new-product concept generation, concept testing and evaluation, pricing, demand forecasting, and new product marketing strategies. Also deals with special challenges related to marketing mature products/services, improving marketing implementation effectiveness, and marketing the intangible features of products. Prerequisite: BUSMKT 1040.

3.  Elective Course (3 credits) – Select one from the following:

Note: This course should correspond to elective choices within the student’s business major and may also be counted towards the completion of the business major.

  • BUSACC 1236: Accounting Information Systems (3 credits)
    Deals with both the design and implementation of accounting-information systems and their ability to collect data on the activities of the organization, to accumulate and summarize it, and to make the information available to managers for analysis, decision making, and control. Special emphasis is placed on the problems inherent to this effort. This course is required for all accounting majors. Prerequisite: BUSACC 0040
  • BUSFIN 1321: Investment Management (3 credits)
    The objective of this course is to provide an enhanced understanding of financial-market operations, portfolio selection, and capital-market equilibrium. It examines how securities markets operate and the implication of portfolio theory for portfolio selection. Models of capital-market equilibrium, the trade-off between risk and return, and how to evaluate portfolio performance are also discussed. Prerequisite: BUSFIN 1030
  • BUSMKT 1426: Advertising and Sales Promotion (3 credits)
    Provides students with an understanding of advertising and the marketing process within which effective advertising and sales promotions are rooted. It is further designed to teach students to develop effective advertising and promotion plans. Emphasis will be placed on both theoretical and conceptual foundations and their applications to the fields of advertising and sales promotions. Prerequisite: BUSMKT 1040
  • BUSHRM 1675: Human Resources Staffing(3 credits)
    Provides an in-depth examination of the organizational-staffing process. Procedures for human-resource needs assessment such as personnel audits and forecasting are discussed. Recruitment strategies and recruitment sources are explored. The process of organizational choice by candidates may be covered. The emphasis is on understanding basic types of assessment tools and procedures for choosing new employees. Core concepts in measurement and validity are discussed. Issues relating to organizational entry and socialization may also be covered. Prerequisite: BUSHRM 1050
  • BUSBIS 1625: Electronic Commerce (3 credits)
    This course will cover: (1) electronic business, defined as the use of Internet and related communication technologies for organizational communication, coordination, and management of the firm; (2) electronic commerce, defined as the process of buying and selling goods and services electronically; and (3) societal implications of the new technologies. Students will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, assignments, quizzes, exams, and a business plan where students propose e-commerce solutions to tackle specific organizational or business problems and opportunities
  • BUSSCM 1730: Managing Global Supply Chains (3 credits)
    Supply chain management explores the management of the flow of materials, information and funds through the network of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and customers. Using the methodologies of optimization and simulation, where applicable, this course covers topics in distribution network design, inventory management, procurement and outsourcing, revenue management, and channel coordination.
  • BUSBIS 1630: Project Management (3 credits)
    Planning, organizing, staffing, and controlling projects requires traditional management skills as well as an appreciation of the tools, techniques, and practices unique to project management. This course starts with an overview of project management concepts, and then focuses on project planning, estimating, monitoring, and controlling. It also covers topics related to being an effective project leader and managing project teams. The project management institute (PMI), a professional organization for project managers has produced a guide to the project management body of knowledge, which documents the knowledge and practices needed by today’s project managers. This guide, along with current research and management trends related to project management, provide the framework for material covered in this class.
  • BUSENV 1760: Business Law (3 credits)
    Provides students with exposure to the extensive laws and regulations that affect almost all major aspects of business operations. Topics covered are chosen on the basis of their importance to contemporary business. Prerequisite: BUSENV 0060
  • ENGR 1060: Social Entrepreneurship - Engineering for Humanity
    The course will explore the concepts of social entrepreneurship through the three tenets of sustainability: environment, economy, and equity in the context of complex or ‘wicked’ problems. An introduction will provide a foundation in sustainability and social entrepreneurship while exploring the impact of innovative business models, such as Disruptive Innovation and Prahalad and Hart’s Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Additional class time will explore different examples and challenges in the developed and developing worlds. Through weekly readings, the course will focus on classroom discussions about the tenets of sustainability and the relevance of engineering in crafting ‘solutions.’ The course project will provide students with an opportunity to work with a multi-disciplinary team to design an engineering-based business plan targeting a specific challenge either locally or in the developing world.
  • BUSORG 1701: Social Entrepreneurship in South Africa
    Offered on the Pitt in South Africa study abroad program and requires international travel at an additional cost.

4. Experiential Learning Requirement (3 credits) – Select one of the following:

  • BUSENV 1791 Projects in Entrepreneurship (offered fall term only) (3 credits)
    The objective of this course is to provide the student a meaningful experience with a real-world client and problem. Each project is different, and in general will provide the opportunity for a team of students to apply various conceptual and analytic skills taught in the major and in CBA and to report to the client the results of these analyses. While any particular project may have a specific marketing, finance, organizational, accounting, strategic, operations, MIS, or HRM (or other) focus, each will have the common element of a global or cross border dimension
  • Entrepreneurial Internship (3 credits)
    Internships-for-credit are one way of creating an important entrepreneurship experience. Internships are also co-curricular experiences which do not include exams and other objective performance measures, making it difficult to assess performance and produce grade distributions comparable to other courses. To reflect this difference, internships-for-credit (graded as either Satisfactory or No Credit) can be completed as fulfillment of the entrepreneurship EBL requirement.
  • Global Entrepreneurship Experience (3 credits)
    A focus on entrepreneurship and innovation must include a global focus. CBA prepares students for success by giving them international opportunities in more than 65 countries. A global project experience can be used to fulfill the EBL requirement for this certificate.