Small Business Advisor Program

The Small Business Advisor Program is a 14-week long training program for graduate business students who want to accrue hands-on business experience, become small business consultants and make a difference in the life of San Francisco Bay Area rising entrepreneurs.  

Centro created this volunteer program as an essential component of its entrepreneur development model, which benefits greatly both entrepreneurs and advisors. Through this program, MBA students and other graduate business school students have the particularly unique opportunity to truly learn what it takes to start a business and seek funding.

This program is for top-performing students who are passionate about entrepreneurship, finance, consulting, nonprofit and economic development.

Structure & Methodology

Graduate business students turn into Small Business Advisors to local small business entrepreneurs. Centro supports them to advice on startup finance, marketing, strategy, and operations as volunteers by creating measurable social and economic impact in the community. Participants:

  • Gain experiential instruction on subject areas that are not covered in most business school curricula, including management consulting training, small business planning and finance, loan underwriting, professional development coaching, critical thinking, and communication skills tactics.

  • Provide 80 to 100 hours of one-on-one business advisory support

Each Small Business Advisor is paired with an entrepreneur taking part of Centro's Advanced Entrepreneurship Program. Together, they create a robust and fundable business plan with financial projections, a credit plan, and a professional development plan. View the roadmap they complete together to accomplish this goal.


  • Gain hands-on experience developing a business plan, financial model and an investor presentation

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

  • Hone business advisory and coaching skills

  • Learn to start a small business

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

  • Learn about domestic micro-finance

  • Learn about professional consulting and how to assist in making high-impact decisions


  • Current MBA student (or comparable 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

  • Foreign language is a plus

  • Able to commit to 5 – 10 hours per week for the duration of the 14-week program

How to Apply

If you are interested in joining the Small Business Advisor Program and becoming a volunteer advisor to a Centro entrepreneur, please apply online to join our Spring or Fall intake, and follow up with an email to attaching your:

  1. Resume

  2. Writing sample (one-page sample of your business writing style and ability)

We have a rolling admissions process and welcome applications anytime for the next available intake. 


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

Educational partners

MBA Advisor Program Alumni

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