Commercializing Innovation delivers useful “cross-training” to students interested in starting, leading or investing in entrepreneurial enterprises. Throughout the quarter, students learn how to effectively evaluate and communicate the fundamentals of novel business opportunities. More than a collection of tools and frameworks, this course teaches a comprehensive approach that can be efficiently applied across a broad range of businesses. This approach is built (and tested) incrementally over time using a mixture of case discussions, guest lectures, and hands-on assignments.
This course requires a high level of individual investment, group coordination, and professionalism. Students form teams at the beginning of the course and, each week, these teams evaluate new venture opportunities. These weekly group assignments require students to look beyond the modest case materials provided. Students are expected to use primary research (i.e. expert interviews) and secondary research (i.e. published sources) to study the industry and enterprise-level characteristics of the business. Early in the course, students will learn how to distill a new business concept down to its economic drivers, and how to model those economics effectively. In addition, each week two teams are assigned to deliver a presentation on the new ventures under evaluation, and to respond to class questions simulating how entrepreneurs would respond to prospective investors in a professional setting. Through their presentations, teams solidify their mastery of the topic and strengthen their communication skills, while the rest of the class hones critical listening skills and diplomacy.
The case studies used in this course are real investment opportunities, many of which the professor has been involved with as an investor or advisor. The cases cover a broad range of industries including retail, healthcare, energy, hospitality, consumer products, and consumer services. New cases and regular guest speakers from the venture community keep the course material relevant.
Class discussions will cover foundational analysis, as well as the use of market research in the entrepreneurial environment, "how to" build management, utilization of analogs to develop the economic profile of emerging companies, staging and structure of financing over the life of the enterprise, and modification through analysis of the tactics and strategy of functional disciplines when projected outcomes are not achieved and the resulting ramifications on cash usage.
For further information on the course outline, course expectations, and other useful information, please refer to the course syllabus.
Also, please note that attendance for all nine weeks of the course is very important for your success and for other students' success in this team-based course. If you are hoping to register for this course but have not yet secured a seat, you must attend class sessions as it is prohibitive to catch up. If you have not attended and register after the start of the quarter, you will be asked to drop the course.