How do you teach entrepreneurship?
An academic class on New Venture Creation would appear to be an oxymoron. Unlike many other entrepreneur courses which use the tried-and-true format of facilitated lectures, real-world case studies, creation and judging of a start-up’s business plan, the 2008 Fall NVC class integrates these tools and collaterals into a classroom laboratory environment to promote active exploratory learning.
What is active exploratory learning?
Active learning promotes the philosophy of creating a living, dynamic classroom lab with the following key characteristics:
o Student-led explorations are keys to learning
o Each session has a high element of improvised but themed discussions, generally led by the students
o Lectures, reading assignments, textbooks, reference materials are not the main event – they frame the discussion themes of each session, but do not limit the conversations to within the content coverage of the materials
o Students proactively bid for time and space to showcase their learning. They must adjust their strategies for learning and for their deliverables based on the dynamic environment of the classes and of other students in the classroom
o Students actively participate in how they want to be graded in achieving the learning points
Why is this a more effective form of learning?
Today’s youths are inundated with information – why would adding new case studies and lectures/ PPT/notes make a strong impression? The youths can find information at the speed of a click – they Google, they YouTube, they Facebook, and they save information they find del.icio.us, etc. The challenge of education, then, is not to teach our youths to answer questions. Given a set of questions, they can easily play back answers they ctrl-C and ctrl-V and StumbleUpon. The challenge and the overriding objective of this course are to impart a set of skills, attitudes, and knowledge so the students can ask good questions and to be able to interpret information they find on new venture creation. We know students can find answers. It’s their ability to ask good questions that spells the key to success in today’s dynamic knowledge economy. This is the key education objective in New Venture Creation, Fall 2008.
As a comparison of how this class is taught as compared to the prior 4 years of this class:
Prior 4 years of NVC Curriculum: New Fall 2008 NVC Curriculum :
Lectures on: Orchestrated Conversations on:
1. New Ideas, Business Plan, Business Model 1. How do we learn about entrepreneurship? What is entrepreneurship? What is social entrepreneurship? Are entrepreneurial opportunities discovered or are they created?
2. Competitive Strategy 2. What is Blue Ocean? What is disruptive innovation? What is copetition? Under what venture conditions should one deploy the various strategies?
3. Venture Financing & Venture Capital 3. How do we get funded? Who do we want on our team? How much money do we need? What makes a good venture investment? How would you recognize a good investment opportunity?
4. Going Global 4. Where are the market opportunities? How do we know? Should we stay in a single market win first or should go global from the start?
5. Legal Considerations 5. What do we need to know about Intellectual Property? Why is IP management important?
6. Negotiation 6. How do we use the six laws of persuasion during a negotiation
7. Power Selling 7. Attitudes of an entrepreneur
8. Business Plan, Venture Reports 8. Bid for right to showcase what we know.
Within the larger objective of imparting the right skills, knowledge, and attitudes, this course follows a structure that covers the major elements of startup/entrepreneurial activity, including evaluation and planning of a new business, financing, team building, typical marketing and operational management issues, alternative models for revenue and growth, and exit strategies.
The course is fast-paced and covers a wide span of business subjects, with a strong focus on the key challenges in starting a venture and their practical solutions. Students with no business training are expected to read up on their own additional background materials, or consult and learn from their classmates, where necessary.
The course utilizes orchestrated conversations, numerous field trips, guest speakers, students-led class discussions and explorations are key markers of knowledge pursuit. Suggested topics will be provided for assignments, but students are highly encouraged to be creative and innovative in demonstrating their skills, know-how, and attitudes during the class.
You will be scored 40% based on individual input, and 60% on group projects (deliverables).