Small Business Advisor Program

The volunteer Small Business Advisor Program is a 10-week long training program for top-performing MBA students who want to accrue hands-on business experience and develop their advising and coaching skills, and who are passionate about making a difference in the life of rising entrepreneurs.

Centro created this program as an essential component of its entrepreneur development model, which benefits greatly both entrepreneurs and advisors. Through this program, Small Business Advisors have the unique opportunity to truly learn what it takes to start and grow a business.

Structure & Methodology

  • Work with a small group of 6-10 entrepreneurs participating in Centro's Advanced Entrepreneurship Program and 3-5 Small Business Advisors.

  • Participate in 20 hours of weekly workshops, advising and coaching entrepreneurs as they analyze their business, create improvement goals and develop action plans to achieve those goals.

  • Provide 30-40 hours of support outside of workshops, helping entrepreneurs implement their action plans and improve their business.

  • Workshops are led by a facilitator trained to enrich in-class discussions, facilitate ideation, foster critical thinking and empower people to succeed.


  • Gain hands-on experience advising and coaching real entrepreneurs, helping them make high-impact decisions and improve their businesses.

  • Collaborate and network with graduate business students, entrepreneurs and experienced professional advisors.

  • Learn how to start and grow a small business.

  • Contribute to the growth of real business enterprises in underserved communities.


  • Current MBA student or graduate (or equivalent masters degree).

  • Completion of basic financial and managerial accounting courses.

  • 2-4 years of work experience.

  • Experience developing business plans, financial forecasts, and/or marketing strategies.

  • Small business and/or project management experience is a plus.

  • Foreign language is a plus.

  • Able to attend weekly workshops and provide 5-8 hours of support per week for the duration of the 10-week program

Educational partners

MBA Advisor Program Alumni

Upcoming Small Business Advisor Programs


  • Fall 2019 English intake starts September 19 (sessions on Thursdays from 6:30 to 9pm)

San Jose

  • Fall 2019 Spanish intake starts September 24 (sessions on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8:30pm)


  • Fall 2019 English intake starts October 8 (sessions on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8:30pm)

How to Apply

We have a rolling admissions process and welcome applications anytime for the next available intake. If you are interested in being a Small Business Advisor, please apply online and send an email to Carlo Arellano at with your resume attached.


If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Carlo Arellano at

Testimonials from Former Participants

The biggest impact that being a part of Centro has had on me is taking what I am learning at school, and seeing it in action.
— Parijat Tanna, Mills College MBA
Working with my entrepreneur at Centro has been an incredibly rewarding experience, giving me the opportunity to apply my business school education and experience in assisting someone achieve their dream.
— Jonathan Wilson, SF State University MBA
Centro gave me a unique perspective into entrepreneurship that I could not receive in my MBA classes, and that was the fact that I was playing an integral part of someone’s actual dream and livelihood.
— Eugene Oh, UC Berkeley MBA
My most special moment at Centro was watching the entrepreneurs make their final presentations. It was overwhelming to see their passion and dedication. It makes you feel proud to have been able to help out.
— Sheetal Kapani, SF State University MBA
Volunteering with Centro has been an amazing and insightful adventure: the step-by-step process of helping my entrepreneur make her dream become a reality has given me valuable life experience.
— Senaa Al-Ghanem, Mills College MBA
I am very thankful that you guys are so calm and composed as you lead us to a higher understanding of not only our entrepreneur’s potential, but also our own.
— Sean Chon, SF State University MBA