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Foundations of Entrepreneurship serves as the gateway course to the entrepreneurship curriculum at CBS. It provides a broad survey of concepts and concrete skills that will benefit not just aspiring entrepreneurs, but also those who want to work for an early-stage startup, operate entrepreneurially within a more mature organization, and/or invest in new ventures. Specific topics covered include: characteristics of successful startups and entrepreneurs; techniques for generating, identifying, and evaluating new ideas; forming and maintaining effective partnerships; customer discovery and acquisition; entrepreneurial finance; valuation and deal making; exits; entrepreneurship career tradeoffs; and learning how to pitch yourself and your business. This course is designed for students who have limited-to-no experience in the startup world, or have some experience but do not yet have a fully developed and vetted business idea or team.
Think Bigger What is a big idea? Where does it come from? In this course, we will wrestle with these questions and more, so you can start to think big about how to approach the problem-solving. We'll help you develop the skills you need to discover foreseeable and transformative ideas, and teach you how to frame for solutions and articulate your value added. You will be challenged to be your most creative self, with hands-on experiential exercises (both in and outside of the classroom) designed to take you through the processes of discovering, ideating, evaluating, and editing ideas. All students receive direct feedback and coaching from influential business minds (entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, leaders, etc.) from across the city. The course culminates in a final "big idea" pitch in front of a distinguished panel of successful minds from across the city.
Entrepreneurial Strategy provides an integrated strategy framework for growth-oriented entrepreneurs. Students learn how to create and capture value as small, young, companies facing high uncertainty in the evolution of markets, industries, and underlying technologies. We discuss these choices in the context of real startup companies that have recently faced strategic dilemmas in creating and commercializing an idea. This class is particularly appropriate for anyone interested in starting a company, creating a new industry, evaluating a new company’s sustainable advantage, and launching new products in existing companies.
The following tracks were designed to help students navigate our rich entrepreneurship-related curriculum, based on their goals. Explore the courses relevant to each of these tracks using our
THINK Course Roadmap
- Learn the basics of entrepreneurship and develop an entrepreneurial mindset. This track is for any student who would like to adopt an entrepreneurial way of thinking, problem solving and business growth. This track is meant for the student who recognizes the value and importance of entrepreneurial thinking in today’s economy and world, irrespective of whether they plan to start a business in the near term. This track also prepares students for the other three tracks: START a business, SCALE an existing business, INVEST in startups.
- Students interested in this track are encouraged to start with the following courses: Foundations of Entrepreneurship, Think Bigger.
START Course Roadmap
- Incubate and develop your own startup. This track is for students planning to start their own business during or after graduation from business school. Students following this path will have access to programs and courses meant to foster and support their specific entrepreneurial endeavors. Students who follow this track are likely to be co-founders, CEOs or some other leadership role at their own organizations.
- Students interested in this track are encouraged to start with the following courses: Foundations of Entrepreneurship, Launch Your Startup.
SCALE Course Roadmap
- Scale an existing business and help take it to the next stage. This track is for students growing a business of their own, a family business they might one day assume control of, or an existing startup or SMB founded by someone else. Students who follow this track are likely to become COO, CFO, CMO, CEO, CRO, Business Development, Sales Lead or some other leadership role within an existing organization.
- Students interested in this track are encouraged to start with the following courses: Foundations of Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Strategy.
INVEST Course Roadmap
- Invest in startups and private equity. This track is for students looking to invest in entrepreneurial companies. This track is organized based on the life cycle of a new venture. In addition, several industry-specific courses are offered in this track.
- Students interested in this track are encouraged to start with the following courses: Foundations of Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Finance.
The entrepreneurship curriculum also features a sequence of three “spine” courses for students interested in starting their own business: (1) Foundations of Entrepreneurship; (2) Launch Your Startup; and (3) Entrepreneurial Greenhouse.
As noted above, Foundations of Entrepreneurship provides a survey of concepts and concrete skills designed to benefit aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as those who want to work for an early-stage startup, operate entrepreneurially within a more mature organization, and/or invest in new ventures. This course is especially appropriate for students who have limited-to-no experience in the startup world, or have some experience but do not yet have a fully developed and vetted business idea or team.
Launch Your Startup is an accelerated, applied class for students who are already actively engaged with their target market, ready to advance their customer discovery and market research, design and test minimum viable products, develop customer acquisition strategy, and prepare investor-ready financials for fundraising.
Please note that Foundations of Entrepreneurship serves as a prerequisite for those interested in enrolling in Launch Your Startup. If you believe that you should be enrolled in Launch your Startupwithout having to take Foundations of Entrepreneurship, you must send an exemption request to EntrepreneurshipWaivers@gsb.columbia.edu. Your request should be brief but specific, including relevant background information (e.g., entrepreneurship coursework and work experience) and any progress you’ve made on your idea to date (e.g., customer discovery). Please allow at least one week for a response, as your request may require deliberations among faculty. Following school policy, students MAY NOT enroll in Foundations of Entrepreneurship and Launch Your Startup concurrently, and exemption waivers will be granted to full-time MBA students ONLY.
Students who already have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and a committed and vetted team can apply to enroll in Entrepreneurial Greenhouse, which is designed as an accelerator.