Evening MBA

Lab Courses

You'll have the chance for hands-on learning as you face actual business challenges in lab courses.

  • Private Equity/Venture Capital Lab - Offered through the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. The program is comprised of (a) an internship and (b) an academic course. Internships are hosted by private equity funds (broadly defined to include angel groups, venture capital firms, mezzanine lenders, buyout firms and many other variations). The academic course is designed to equip students with timely practical tools and impart experience from industry veterans with the goal to accelerate the apprenticeship process of those aspiring to work in the private equity industry. Companies that have participated several times in the lab include Sterling Partners, Dunrath, Duchossois, OCA Ventures, Lake Capital, Essex Woodlands, Roundtable, WHI, Seneca Partners, Arch Development, and Prism Capital.
  • Real Estate Lab - Selected students from the business schools of Chicago and Northwestern universities will compete in the Zell | Booth-Kellogg Real Estate Challenge. Historically, the Challenge topic has been a redevelopment proposal (often for a site owned by the City of Chicago); past sites have included properties located in areas such as: “Lakeside” (the former US Steel site), the proposed Olympic Village, the south loop, the "six corners," Bronzeville and the near West Side. These sites have lent themselves to a variety of proposed residential, retail and office uses. Each team - usually six to eight students (with a mix of full- and part-time students) - utilizes the spring quarter to hone their proposal and their presentation. Resources for these activities include interested faculty members as well as local practitioners familiar with various aspects (design, construction, leasing, financing, etc.) of the proposed project. The proposals are ultimately evaluated by a panel of external judges - one of whom is typically a City representative. These students typically find the experiential nature of the project to be intellectually rewarding as well as quite helpful when interviewing with prospective employers.

We also have courses like Developing New Products and Services that also provide experiential learning opportunities. These courses incorporate assignments from outside companies that allow you to put your classroom learning into practice.

  • Marketing Research - This course will provide you with a toolkit of market research approaches and techniques to help them define key research questions that underlie strategic marketing decisions. The goal of the course is to provide you with the knowledge and skills to both determine the scope and direction of research activities conducted on your behalf, as well as to leverage research findings to make key decisions and support your recommendations. The course employs a mix of lectures, individual exercises, and cases as well as the team project.You will collect and analyze data and develop the strategic implications of the research findings. View a sampling of past sponsors. Under faculty supervision, you will work with their client sponsor on a project and present their final analysis to management. Past projects have included:
  • Estimating market potential
  • Segmenting the market to identify target customers
  • Improving advertising and pricing policies
  • Designing and positioning new products
  • Identifying opportunities and obstacles in current market performance
  • Uncovering consumer perceptions and attitudes toward a brand relative to competitors
  • Understanding consumer experiences with a product, service, or inside a facility
  • Uncovering the underlying motivations and unmet needs for new products
  • Understanding the drivers of brand loyalty and advocacy
  • Developing New Products - The primary purpose of this course is to provide marketers with an in-depth understanding of current best practices in new product development. Topics covered include: new product process, new product strategy, opportunity identification, perceptual mapping, market research techniques for uncovering customer needs, idea generation, concept writing, concept optimization, new product forecasting methods, brand extendability, and new product launch plans. 
    This course will cover consumer and business-to-business products and services (with an emphasis on consumer products). This course will also highlight the different roles and functions required for effective new product development. A series of group projects enables students to apply these tools
  • New Social Ventures - In this course, groups of students will develop an idea for an innovative, startup social organization. They will conduct research to create a detailed plan for its creation and growth and pitch the plan to faculty, social entrepreneurs, domain experts, foundation officers, and philanthropists. The class will include multiple rounds of pitch presentations with detailed feedback. It will also include case studies, lectures, and readings about social organizations and related institutions. Topics will include; evaluating a new social enterprise, financing a social startup, managing a social organization, managing and financing growth, measuring performance and social impact, and governance.