Launching New Ventures focuses on the evaluation, development and potential launch of a new business. Working individually (or on occasion in pairs), students spend the entire term developing an effective and comprehensive presentation of a real business concept by addressing five key issues: in-depth market analysis, product or service design, development of a marketing campaign, assessment of human resource requirements and building a realistic financial forecast. The output will be a comprehensive business plan and a formal presentation of their idea.
Students are expected to come with a specific business idea or at least a sincere interest in a particular industry in which they would like to explore the possibility of launching a venture. Projects can be based upon students' own ideas, new technologies from the Columbia Innovation Enterprise or other start-ups that have requested assistance from Columbia MBA students. Industry mentors and a board of directors composed of other class participants provide a reality check as students refine their business opportunity into a written and oral presentation ready to seek funding and commence operations. Faculty members assist in identifying projects, but students are responsible for finding appropriate projects. By the second week of class, all students must have an approved venture project.