know how to ask the right questions.
1) Is Acton right for me? Why should I attend?
Acton prepares principled entrepreneurs to lead extraordinary lives as they pursue their calling with urgency. Acton is the right place for you if you…
- Would rather chart your own path in life than work your way up the corporate ladder.
- Want to learn the skills, tools and judgement to launch, grow and harvest a successful business.
- Value asking the right questions more than knowing the right answer.
- Want to pursue your calling in life in an intense, dynamic environment, and learn from experienced and successful entrepreneurs, not just academics.
2) How is Acton different from an MBA program at Harvard or Stanford? What are the benefits?
Acton is half the cost and takes half the time of a traditional MBA, allowing you to jump start your entrepreneurial journey and pursue your calling with urgency. But our methodology is what sets us apart. Acton immerses you in real-life challenges in order to learn the skills required to start, build, and run a successful business rather than focusing on a curriculum made up of business theory.
Our faculty is composed of successful entrepreneurs, not academics, who provide real-life insight into what it takes to build and run a business. Our use of the Socratic Method in all of our classes emphasizes asking the right questions rather than knowing the right answers. Put simply – at Acton you learn how to think like an entrepreneur.
3) So are you accredited? Do I still receive the MBA credential?
Acton is a program of Hardin-Simmons University. Hardin-Simmons is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Your MBA degree is formally accredited through Hardin-Simmons.
However, Acton believes labels do not matter, and the traditional MBA credential will no longer be the yardstick for entrepreneurial education in five years. In fact, most students are not looking for an MBA when they come to Acton; they want the framework and experience Acton provides.
Some students come to Acton without an undergraduate degree. They are not able to receive an MBA degree as a result, but they still choose to attend for the hands-on experience, to learn the skills, tools and judgment to pursue their calling.
4) What makes your faculty unique?
Our faculty is composed of successful entrepreneurs, not academics. Their courses are firmly rooted in real-world experience. Each faculty member signs contracts with their students committing to each other’s success. At the end of the year, students evaluate our faculty, and our entrepreneur-teachers know that if they don’t give their best, they won’t be asked to return for the next semester.
5) Does Acton offer career services? What happens after students graduate?
When you graduate from Acton, you become part of a tight-knit community that supports its members however we can. Although our graduates come from various backgrounds and pursue unique callings, Acton alumni consider each other advisors, supporters, and friends – collaborating, making connections and providing resources wherever they can throughout each other’s entrepreneurial journey.
If you’re looking for a career services department to walk you into a corporate job, you’re not going to find it at Acton. Our students are here to define their own career path and they learn the skills to do so without career counselors. Many students start their own businesses after graduating. 94 percent of Acton alumni surveyed in December 2014 responded that they are moving in the direction of their calling, with 66 percent of alums now running their own business.
6) What is the reputation of Acton in the business world? How powerful is the Acton network?
Acton has received many accolades in traditional ranking and review outlets, and is regarded as a leader in entrepreneurship circles. But we judge our performance based on the impact our graduates have in the business world. That includes not just the financial success of our graduates, but the opportunity those businesses create in the broader global economy. Acton graduates have gone on to start companies with an average revenue of $4.6 million, and 12 percent of alum-started companies make more than $20 million in revenue.
7) What do Acton graduates end up doing after graduation? What’s their starting salary?
As a result of the program, 94 percent of Acton alumni say they are moving in the direction of their calling, with 62 percent of our graduates switching industry or function after attending. 66 percent of Acton alumni are now running their own companies, with an average revenue of $4.6 million. The average time to start a company after graduation is 1.6 years.
We don’t survey alumni on starting salary. In fact, some of our most financially successful alumni don’t take salary from the businesses they own. We look for longer-term markers of success, including net-worth 5 or 10 years after graduation.
8) What is your admissions process?
Our admissions process is more personal and conversation-based than you might find from a traditional university or institution. We want to ensure there is a fit, not just for you as a student, but for the Acton community as well. We believe it’s important to vet each other thoroughly, and we don’t think standardized forms and essays are the best method to get to know one another.
You’ll speak directly with our CEO several times throughout the process, and we encourage you to reach out to our alumni as well to get their input on the Acton experience. Once we determine there is a fit from both sides, the paperwork takes a surprisingly short amount of time. To begin the process, start here
9) How much does Acton cost?
Our tuition is $49,500 for the entire program. Tuition includes all fees and course materials. When developing a budget, be sure to consider—in addition to tuition—the cost of housing, utilities, food, personal insurance, and a laptop computer (required). Private loans are available to our students to help with financing. Hear from our alumni for first-hand accounts on whether Acton is worth it.
10) How much do I have to pay for books during the program?
Acton’s students do not have to purchase any books for the program; all books, cases, simulations and simulation supplies are provided to the students. Students are required to have their own working laptop.
11) Do you offer financial support?
Acton students may choose to secure student loans through private lending institutions found on the Hardin-Simmons University website, Acton’s accreditation partner.
12) When and where do the semesters take place?
In-person classes are held during the second semester of each cohort. Cohorts begin in February and August with the first semester of work delivered interactively through Acton on Demand from August – December for the February class and January – May for the August class.
All classes during the second and final semester take place at the Acton campus located just south of downtown Austin, Texas on Riverside Drive. The in-person portion of the program includes a week-long spring or fall break in the middle of the semester. You can read more about our curriculum here.
13) Do I need to move to Austin?
Yes, students must relocate to Austin for the second semester of each cohort. One of the most valuable resources to any entrepreneur is time, so our program was designed to take half the time of a traditional MBA program. As a result, the second five-month semester is demanding and time-intensive. Students should expect to spend between 80-100 hours a week participating in classes and Socratic discussions, working in study groups and preparing cases with some of the most determined students you will ever meet.
14) Does Acton provide any student housing?
No, Acton students are responsible for finding and providing their own housing. With Acton’s location just across the river from downtown Austin, there are plenty of apartment and house rental options that will plant you in the heart of the city and close to campus.
15) What is a typical day like at Acton during the on-campus semester?
While Acton students must create their own schedule to best fit their individual needs (when they sleep, spend time with significant others, etc.), the following is a general idea of students’ daily schedules:
6:00am – 8:00am Study Groups
8:00am – 12:30pm Classes
12:30pm – 1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm – midnight Case preparation
While other accelerated or blended MBA programs often serve up business training “light,” at Acton, the intensive schedule creates a proxy for what it feels like to really start, grow, and run your own business.
16) What are some of your graduates doing now?
As a result of the program, 94 percent of Acton alumni say they are moving in the direction of their calling, with 62 percent of our graduates switching industry or function after attending. 66 percent of Acton alumni are now running their own companies.
Alumni companies span various industries, including Financial Services (9%), Educational Services (9%), Food and Beverage Manufacturing (9%), Healthcare and Social Assistance (7%), Oil and Gas (7%), and more. 23% of alum companies are startups, with 52% in the early growth phase.