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The Startup MBA

Startup MBA – Everything you need to know to start up a business from Escape the City on Vimeo.

Keen to start your own business someday?

You don’t want to waste your time and money developing a business idea that doesn’t work. Escape the City’s Startup MBA brings together all the diverse aspects of start-up management in a double-weekend course that cuts through all the noise, while connecting you with a peer group of like-minded people.

This is a real world MBA that doesn’t break the bank. It is based on start-up best practice and real world examples. It is specifically designed for Escape members. It is jam-packed with up-to-date knowledge and advice. It is easy to be overwhelmed by information overload. This is the course we wish we had taken three years ago. Save yourself a lot of time and uncertainty having to figure everything out by yourself.


What past students have said

We are happy to connect you directly to past members of the course so that you can hear their opinion yourselves – just email

To read one past student’s review of the course, click here.

“I feel like I am finally inside the world of startups rather than watching it all from the sidelines wondering what all the jargon means. If nothing else I have the confidence to know I belong to the community and can reach out when I need to.” - Danielle Panetta

“Massively eye-opening, extremely motivating without being overly optimistic in any way. Everything was completely actionable and the right steps were demystified.” – Dominic Traynor


Delivered by startup experts

“Really inspirational and what I absolutely loved was how much interaction there was. Rob (Fitzpatrick), unlike so many lecturers I had at uni, was able to take on board our individual requirements and deviate from the script depending upon where we lead him. That really is a unique talent – so many teachers have to stick to the script and you absolutely can’t get this kind of info from a textbook. I think that is how we were able to get so much out of it in a short space of time.” – Rachael Armitage

The course is taught by industry figures and entrepreneurs with demonstrated experience and expertise in the relevant start-up area. This is not an academic course – it is highly practical and is designed to tell you exactly what you need to know to start your business and help you avoid making costly mistakes.

Each intake will have 30 students. You will have the chance to work closely with a group of like-minded people. There will be homework, joint working sessions, and lots of recommended resources to support you after the course.

The course is led by startup expert Rob Fitzpatrick (@robfitz). Rob is a practicing entrepreneur who has in the past led a Venture Capital backed startup, with clients including Sony, MTV, and Aardman. He is also a graduate of Y-Combinator, the Silicon Valley incubator whose better-known funded companies include Scribd, Airbnb, and Dropbox.

He writes about early stage startup strategy at, provides startup support via, and is kicking o? his next startup,

We also bring in other experts to cover specific areas, and we invite Escape members who have transitioned into becoming entrepreneurs to speak. During the last intake, we had the founders of Love Da Pop (featured on Dragon’s Den) as well as the founder of Conversocial, the founder of Pistachio Rose and the founder of Little Delivery.


Pre-course reading

The compulsory reading for the course is The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries. If you don’t already own the book, a summary is available here.
Some other summaries are here and here. Some helpful reading that we recommended for the first intake – this is NOT compulsory, just suggested – this 73-page booklet packed full of useful links.


Format & Learning Outcomes

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The course is interactive but is based on allowing you to absorb as much content as possible in a short amount of time – the lectures are tightly contained, but it’s NOT a one-way format with the lecturer just droning on incessantly! It’s important to us that the class is dynamic and that you get the chance to share your ideas and get feedback from the rest of the class.


How to see whether your idea is viable before sinking years of time and thousands of pounds into it

  • The lean startup tools & mindset
  • Business model innovation
  • Idea creation
  • Talking to customers
How to build a base of initial customers
  • Online marketing & social media
  • Growing a tribe and content marketing
  • Analytics and marketing tools
How to track the effectiveness of your marketing and grow awareness 
  • Metrics and KPIs
  • Virality and engines of growth
How to launch without a budget
  • Designing & launching version 1
  • Identifying and attacking business risks
  • The build/measure/learn loop
How to avoid hiring techies to build up your website or social media
  • Growth hacking
  • Adwords, search engines
  • Buying a domain and hosting a site
How to use a limited budget effectively when building your initial systems
  • Working with tech teams, freelancers & agencies
  • Project management
  • Wireframing & product design
How to avoid expensive pitfalls 
  • Legal, funding, finance and exits
  • Startup lifecycle

Your classmates

For our first intake, out of the 30 students, about half were still in their full-time jobs. There were lawyers, accountants, bankers in the room; as well as a few people working in social enterprise, the arts, and the creative sector – there was a huge range of diversity. Half the people in the room did not yet have a business idea. The age range was from 23 to 58 and a quarter of the class had already started their businesses.

How to apply

The course is held in central London at The Hub Westminster and applications close two weeks before the first weekend of each course.

Each course runs over two weekends – both weekends are compulsory. Classes run on Friday evenings (6-9pm), and all day Saturday and Sunday (10am – 6pm), on both weekends.

The dates of our upcoming intakes are listed here – all currently open for applications:

AUGUST 2013 - 23rd August & 30th August – APPLY HERE

SEPTEMBER 2013 – 21st September & 28th September - APPLY HERE

OCTOBER 2013 – 19th October & 26th October - APPLY HERE

NOVEMBER 2013 – 16th November & 23rd November - APPLY HERE

For any additional enquiries, please contact