Whether you are starting a company, launching a new division in an established organization, or seeking to invest in new ventures, entrepreneurial skills are crucial to identifying and evaluating the factors that will make your undertaking a success. As organizations become leaner, more global, and more resource-constrained, the need to be flexible and adapt quickly to change is increasingly important across all business segments.
Chicago Booth's leading-edge entrepreneurship curriculum integrates all business areas including marketing, finance, operations, and strategy, and takes students beyond the classroom, allowing them to test themselves in real-world settings. Through courses, experiential learning, labs, and competitions, students get the practical tools and experiences needed to start, finance, and manage their own business, or to embark on a career in private equity. No matter your career path, you will benefit from entrepreneurial skills such as prioritizing resources, critical evaluation of new business or growth opportunities, building and motivating a team, understanding the customer, accessing capital, and assuring profitable growth.
You'll have the chance to explore activities outside the classroom in numerous ways that will also allow you to build new skills, relationships, and networks. These include:
- Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge - Among the nation's premier business-plan competitions, the New Venture Challenge has helped launch more than 40 companies, which have gone on to raise more than $100 million to date.
- Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Conference - The Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Conference brings together successful entrepreneurs and seasoned venture capitalists to share ideas and advice, foster creativity, and encourage the entrepreneurial-minded.
- Hyde Park Angels - Hyde Park Angels is a group of current and former executives, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists who are interested in investing their time and money into outstanding start-ups.
- Glencoe Capital Venture Capital Investment Competition - You will have the opportunity to play the role of venture capitalists to real-life entrepreneurs. Teams meticulously evaluate promising start-up companies and present their investment decisions to a panel of alumni members of the venture capital community. Winners of the Glencoe Capital Venture Capital Investment Competition go on to the regional and national competitions.
- Midwest Alternative Energy Venture Forum - Together with partner organizations, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship brings together researchers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and others interested in green technology, to learn about some of the most exciting developments within the renewable technology sector.
- Donald W. Hamer, '58, Small Business Initiative - The Hamer Small Business Initiative helps address the challenges faced by small business owners, as well as adds value to the local economy and the Chicago Booth community. It sponsors conferences and workshops, subsidizes student internships, conducts small business research, and builds networks across the community.
You’ll have the option of taking courses that address your individual career choices. Samples include:
- Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity - You will explore private equity from a number of perspectives, beginning with the entrepreneur/issuer, moving to private equity - venture capital and leveraged buyout - partnerships, and finishing with investors in private equity partnerships.
- New Venture Strategy - Improving your ability to assess the attractiveness of a new venture, anticipate the problems likely to be encountered as the business evolves, and predict its success or failure is the focus of this class. You will learn a set of qualitative models into which all entrepreneurial companies can be categorized.
- Building the New Venture - Through class lectures, "game" assignments and real-world cases, you will learn how to raise initial seed funding, compensate for limited human and financial resources, establish initial brand values and positioning, leverage a strong niche position, determine appropriate sourcing and sales channels, and develop execution plans in sales, marketing, product development, and operations.
- Special Topics in Entrepreneurship: Small Seminar in Developing a Business Plan - Students who have advanced to the second round of the New Venture Challenge get to develop their ideas into full business plans. Venture capitalists, private investors, and entrepreneurs will help critique and improve the plans during presentations. Meetings also will focus on presentation skills, financial modeling, and legal considerations in a new venture.
- Commercializing Innovation - This course will focus on the strategy and tactics of forming, acquiring, and growing new ventures i.e., increasing shareholder value for business ventures funded with private equity. It is designed to aid those who are considering being part of an entrepreneurial project or evaluating such enterprises from the position of a public investor, private investor, or any stakeholder serving these emerging companies. The course will consider ventures representing broad sectors of the economy, including retail (both traditional and online), health care, telecommunications, consumer services, and businesses enhanced by the internet.
You’ll study with professors who conduct groundbreaking research, collaborate with the entrepreneurial and private equity communities, and bring their own entrepreneurial experiences into the classroom.
- Linda Darragh, a coach for the New Venture Challenge, teaches the New Venture Lab and the Social Venture Enterprise Lab. Ellen A. Rudnick, who spent 25 years in business management and entrepreneurial activities, was primarily engaged in the health care and information services industries prior to joining the Chicago Booth faculty. Both her governance activities and start-up interests help her to bridge the gap in the classroom between the theoretical and the real world.
- Waverly Deutsch, who won the Innovative Pedagogy for Entrepreneurship Education award from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, serves on the board of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and Chicago Community Ventures.
- Steven Neil Kaplan, who was named one of Businessweek's top 12 business teachers in the country, has served on the boards of Illinois Venture Capital Association and Morningstar. He is widely published in academic journals and often quoted for his expertise in publications like the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.
- Scott F. Meadow, a general partner in private equity for more than 25 years, has founded such projects as Sports Authority and Sunrise Assisted Living.
- Ellen A. Rudnick, who spent 25 years in business management and entrepreneurial activities, was primarily engaged in the health care and information services industries prior to joining the Chicago Booth faculty. Both her governance activities and start-up interests help her to bridge the gap in the classroom between the theoretical and the real world.
- Ira Weiss, who specializes in accounting topics, teaches advanced MBA courses in both tax strategy and entrepreneurship. He is also the faculty director of Hyde Park Angels, an angel investing group affiliated with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship.
- Craig Wortmann, who brings 20 years of experience to the classroom, teaches sales and marketing strategy in an entrepreneurship selling course. He currently serves as CEO of Experience, a firm that helps companies build their sales and marketing engine.
- Luigi Zingales, a faculty member since 1992, is coauthor with Raghuram G. Rajan of Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists. The book received acclaim from the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.