Explore the Curriculum

Entrepreneurial Development Courses

Introduction to Entrepreneurship

Professor: Gregg Fairbrothers
Open to: Tuck students and all Dartmouth students, Faculty or Staff member (College, DHMC and Mary Hitchcock Hospital) by special request. Inquire at sandy.rozyla@dartmouth.edu

This course is designed to provide basic education in commercialization of technology, entrepreneurship, and the starting of new business ventures. The course will address fundamentals in major areas of conceptualizing and launching a successful new business, including: concept development, market and competitive assessment, business plan development, team building, financing and investor presentations, and execution. Students will be exposed to the startup process in detail. The course will combine lectures and visiting speakers, workshop sessions, and readings. Throughout the term, participants will develop an executive summary of a business idea, which they will present to a panel of potential investors at the conclusion of the course.

First Year Project

Professor: Stephen Powell

The Tuck First-Year Project is a semester-long course in the spring of the first year that provides students the opportunity to apply their core academic knowledge to a real-world problem; gain practical experience in planning and executing a project; tailor the curriculum to their individual goals. Students work in self-selected teams of five on a project of their own choosing. Each team selects one of their members as the Engagement Manager, who is responsible for management of the project. Each team also works with a Faculty Advisor who meets with them weekly and coaches them through the process. Most projects have an external client who provides motivation for the project and access to data and people in the target organization. The exception is entrepreneurial projects, in which the student team develops a business plan for a new product or service and pitches it to venture capitalists. Tuck’s First Year Project partners with Thayer’s ENG89/90 to provide a bridge between technical solutions and business expertise. If you are a Tuck or Thayer student, find out more by joining the Start-up Hub.

Advanced Entrepreneurship

Professor: Gregg Fairbrothers

This course is integrative and experiential in nature, drawing from a broad range of business basics. Its main focus will be in-depth exposure to the process of opportunity recognition, starting, and scaling an enterprise from an idea and business plan into a company. The course will cover: 1) opportunity recognition and evaluation: developing a startup idea involving technology, a product, or a service; 2) crafting a promising execution strategy and validating market potential; 3) developing a credible business plan and delivering effective presentations; 4) building a team of employees, partners, and investors; and 5) marketing, sales, and operations. Starting a company can appear to be an overwhelming task. I believe that acquiring the skills before engaging in a venturing process is valuable. Our class discussions and analyses will sharpen our understanding of the process and the business problems that entrepreneurs face. In order to gain from experience we will play the entrepreneurship simulation game. In this game teams will play the roles of entrepreneurs and investors. As an entrepreneur you will formulate a plan to take an idea into execution, present and articulate elements of this plan in multiple sessions, defend it against challenge and criticism, and negotiate funding with investors. There will be a special effort to integrate concrete, operational, and execution-related information, to define key areas of which an entrepreneur should be aware, to expose you to a variety of successful entrepreneurs and investors, and to provide a framework of "toolkit" resources relevant to startup execution. As an investor you will evaluate, provide constructive critique, make an investment decision, and negotiate terms with peer entrepreneurial teams. The class will be structured to accommodate both students with a preexisting plan and those wishing to develop an idea.


Entrepreneurial Skill-Building Courses

Entrepreneurial Finance

Professor: Richard Townsend

This course is designed to help managers make better investment and financing decisions in entrepreneurial settings. All stages of the process from startup to harvest will be covered. Many of the cases discussed will concern technology-based businesses, though the emphasis is on gaining insights into entrepreneurial finance, not technology per se. The course addresses key questions that challenge all involved in new ventures: how much money can and should be raised; when should it be raised and from whom; what is a reasonable valuation of the company; and how should funding, employment contracts and exit decisions be structured. In addition, the course includes an analysis of the venture capital industry. The course is aimed at students who are considering a career as an entrepreneur or venture capitalist.

Entrepreneurship in the Social Sector 1

Professor: John H. Vogel Jr

There has been a worldwide explosion of entrepreneurial activities by organizations whose primary focus is on improving the health, education, and well-being of individuals and communities. Most of this activity has been undertaken by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) or nonprofit organizations, which in the United States generate revenues greater than the gross domestic product of Brazil, Russia or Australia. In recent years, some entrepreneurs working in the social sector have chosen to incorporate as for profit organizations rather than nonprofit organizations. Both models will be considered in this course though the vast majority of cases will be about nonprofit organizations like Habitat for Humanity and City Year. This course will focus on the tools and skills required to launch or grow a successful enterprise in the social sector. Because of the nature of the funding in this sector, all but the largest organizations rely on an entrepreneurial style of management. During this course students will meet outstanding social entrepreneurs who have succeeded in creating sustainable enterprises that combat important social problems.

Entrepreneurship in the Social Sector 2

Professor: John H. Vogel Jr

This minicourse is a continuation of Entrepreneurship in the Social Sector I. It enables students to deepen their knowledge of this sector. Teams of students work on projects sponsored by nonprofit organizations. In addition to an intellectually challenging project, students enjoy the opportunity to help a worthy organization.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Strategy

Professor: Ron Adner

The essence of entrepreneurship is new combinations – combinations of ideas, resources, partners, customers – in the effort to create new market space. The entrepreneurial challenge is one of selecting among the many potential combinations that you see, and then finding a way to organizing the venture (whether startup, corporate, or non-profit) that will allow you to realize your ambition for the opportunity. In this course we will examine the challenges of entrepreneurial innovation. How should we approach the challenge of picking the right opportunity, aligning the right partners, and targeting the right market and, perhaps most importantly, setting the right expectations for a new venture. We will focus on the challenges and opportunities confronted by venture leaders. However, we will also consider the perspective of non-entrepreneur stakeholders (e.g., analysts, investors, partners, employees) who are not directly in charge of the new venture, but are directly impacted by its success, and must conduct their own due diligence before committing their allegiance and resources. We will develop a set of analytic lenses that will help us assess the potential of new opportunities and to strategize about how to best exploit them.

Innovation Execution

Professor: Christopher R. Trimble
Open to: Tuck students and other Dartmouth students through the Registrar

Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration. Thomas Edison said it over a century ago. No one listened. When companies launch innovation initiatives, they typically allot almost all of their time and energy on that initial one percent — the thrilling hunt for the breakthrough idea. But the much ballyhooed burst of inspiration … is merely a starting point. The real innovation challenge lies beyond the idea. It lies in a long, hard journey — from imagination to impact. This course explores the best practices for executing innovation initiatives. The crux of the challenge is always the same. Business organizations are not designed for innovation, they are designed for ongoing operations. And there are deep and fundamental conflicts between the two. Students will investigate several models for navigating these topics, spanning a wide range of innovation initiatives – from small process improvements to breakthrough new businesses.

Field Study in Private Equity and Growth Companies

Professor: Philip J. Ferneau
Open to: Tuck students and Dartmouth graduate students by special request. Inquire at Philip.J.Ferneau@tuck.dartmouth.edu

This course provides hands-on experience working with private equity practitioners and growth ventures so students can learn to plan, manage, and invest in the contexts in which they operate. Graduates lacking such experience are at a disadvantage in getting jobs at private equity firms and are less prepared to succeed when presented with private equity or growth venture opportunities. Unlike independent study, in which student teams report only to their faculty sponsors, this course requires teams to present their work to their classmates, so all may learn from each other. More specific learning objectives will depend on each project's topic.

Independent Studies in Entrepreneurship

Professor: On a case by case basis
Open to: Tuck students and Dartmouth graduate students by special request. Inquire at entrepreneurship@tuck.dartmouth.edu

Most of Tuck’s second-year students make use of the independent study option to customize their educational experience, another benefit of our small scale and curricular flexibility. Unlike an internship, independent study isn't a rehearsal for your next job. Instead, it's a means to explore and develop new insights that you can bring to a new career. You can use the independent study option to research an entrepreneurial idea on any number of fronts, with support and guidance from Tuck’s faculty.

Strategic Principles for Internet Businesses

Professor: Constance E. Helfat

This mini-course focuses on strategic principles that are important for understanding and managing Internet businesses. The strategic principles examined in this course apply to a range of businesses, but are especially important for businesses whose products and services are offered via the Internet. We explore how these principles apply to companies whose businesses are primarily on the web, and secondarily to “bricks and mortar” companies that conduct a portion of their business through the web. Most class sessions include readings written for managers that explain core strategic principles. To gain a greater understanding of how these principles apply to Internet businesses, we will use cases that describe both successful and not-so-successful Internet businesses, as well as cases where the jury is still out. Strong student involvement during the class sessions is an integral part of the course.

Private Equity Finance

Professor: Colin C. Blaydon
Open to: Tuck students and Dartmouth graduate students by special request. Inquire at Thomas.W.Naughton@tuck.dartmouth.edu

The purpose of this course is to examine the financial perspective on decisions in entrepreneurial settings. While focusing on financial decisions, the course is integrative in looking at entrepreneurial financial decisions from the perspectives of the business opportunity, the goals of the participants, and the context, as well as looking at the "deal" and the resources employed. The course also offers a close examination of the investor's role and the expanding institutional environment of private equity financing.

Leading Entrepreneurial Orgs

Professor: Steven J. Kahl
Open to: Tuck students

Beyond conceiving a new business and financing it, some of the most pressing challenges entrepreneurs face come from the managerial tasks of acquiring and keeping talented people and building and systematizing the new venture and its processes. This course identifies the major leadership and organizational design issues entrepreneurs face when creating and growing their businesses. We will develop concepts and frameworks that help entrepreneurs manage through these issues.

Strategic Management of Innovation

Professor: Alva H. Taylor
Open to: Tuck students and Dartmouth graduate students by special request. Inquire at Alva.H.Taylor@tuck.dartmouth.edu

The intent of this course is to provide the frameworks for understanding and making critical decisions in businesses based on innovation and creativity. The course examines (1) the generation of commercializable new ideas in both new ventures and existing organizations; (2) the challenges to building and maintaining an organization based on creativity and innovation; (3). organizing models for generating new innovations; and (4) strategies in industries and markets based on creative products. With globalization decreasing barriers to entry, and increasing quick imitation, organizations are looking more and more to innovation as a driver for sustainable success. In addition, innovation is the cornerstone of new ventures, and a way for entrepreneurs to create new and valuable organizations. The course should be of particular interest to those interested in managing a business where external or internal innovation is a necessity for competition; those interested in capitalizing on personal or organizational creativity; and those with potential careers in new business ventures and consulting for companies concerning new products and innovation.

Private Equity 

Professor Richard S. Townsend
Open to: Tuck students. Inquire at richard.r.townsend@tuck.dartmouth.edu

In this course we will review theory and evidence from academic research on private equity, including both venture capital and buyout. Questions that will be examine include: why professional private equity exists, what private equity managers do with their portfolio companies, what returns they earn, who earns more and why, what determines the design of contracts signed between private equity managers and their portfolio companies as well as private equity managers and limited partners, and how/whether these contractual designs affect outcomes. The course will highlight the importance of private ownership, information asymmetry and the illiquidity associated with it, as a key explanatory factor of what makes private equity different from other asset classes.

Thayer Entrepreneurship Curriculum

Dartmouth’s Engineering Entrepreneurship Program (DEEP)

Open to Thayer students, other Dartmouth students inquire at carolyn.fraser@dartmouth.edu

Dartmouth's Engineering Entrepreneurship Program (DEEP) prepares students at all levels— from introductory classes to the Ph.D.—for technology leadership. The program consists of opportunities throughout the curriculum for students to acquire design, business, and leadership skills and experience the process of turning new ideas into marketable technologies. Thayer School's integrated single department facilitates cross-disciplinary thinking, and students have direct access to entrepreneurial mentors including professors who hold numerous patents and have founded their own startup companies. In addition, DEEP utilizes collaborations with Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Dartmouth Medical School, Vermont Law School, and industry partners as well as numerous Dartmouth entrepreneurial resources.


Dartmouth Medical School Entrepreneurship Curriculum

The Intersection of the Clinic and Commercialization: How Innovation Happens

Professor: Gregg Fairbrothers, Aaron Kaplan, James C. Leiter
Open to all Dartmouth grad students by special request. Inquire at Denise.M.S.Colety@hitchcock.org

Basic foundations of the medical innovation process, idea to clinical use; continuing case study of amedical innovation; and face-to-face conversations with leading practitioners in translating medical innovations from ideas to integration in clinical care – practicing clinicians who have commercialized innovations, medical technology entrepreneurs, venture investors, and major company innovators. A majority of the visitors from all sectors are MDs.