Explore the Curriculum

'Entrepreneurial Building Block' Courses

For information on registration and availability, contact the Registrar.


Entrepreneurial Thinking

Professor: Trip Davis / Tom Naughton

As the introductory course to entrepreneurship, this course has two objectives: 1) encourage entrepreneurial thinking through exercises in creativity and idea generation; 2) provide foundational building blocks of entrepreneurship – the different kinds of entrepreneurship, sources of financing, and examples of the entrepreneurial life.  This class introduces the hypothesis-driven entrepreneurship methodology which serves as the foundation of our teaching entrepreneurship.  The goal here is to increase the number of Tuck students interested in pursing entrepreneurial ideas and to generate new business ideas.

First Year Project

Professor: Stephen Powell

The FYP uses hypothesis-driven principles to identify the assumptions behind the business idea generated in the Entrepreneurship class and begin to test and refine these assumptions in the real world.  The goal here is to build a tested and viable business model from the initial idea. 

Building Entrepreneurial Ventures (BEV)

Professor: Philip J. Fernau with a team of business practitioners

BEV helps the entrepreneur to build the business to commercialize the now vetted business idea.  This class simulates an accelerator environment as teams work on different aspects of the business, such as selling, product development, and financial modeling, while working with a group of mentors.

Field Studies in Private Equity (FSPE)

Professor: Philip J. Fernau 

This course is designed to provide a practitioner’s perspective on the challenges and opportunities of venture investing in private, entrepreneurial companies. While there is no substitute for hands-on investing experience, the course is designed to introduce you to private equity best-practice frameworks and the challenges of applying them using “real world” examples. The first portion of the course will focus on selecting early-stage investment opportunities, using a combination of case discussion, classroom exercises, and “live” deals. The remainder of the course will feature guest speakers and term projects that provide first-hand exposure to private equity practitioners and the practical challenges they encounter. Throughout the term, the course will emphasize active discussion and experiential learning. Please note that the course title uses the term “private equity” in its general denotation, not the more specific usage to refer only to later-stage investing. Most of the readings and situations discussed in class will focus on venture capital investing. Many of the concepts covered will be generally relevant to late-stage/buyout investing, however, and term projects can be tailored accordingly.

Entrepreneurial Independent Studies (IS)

Professor: Contact the Entrepreneurship Initiative

Most second-year students use Tuck's independent study option to customize their educational experience, another benefit of our small scale and curricular flexibility. Independent study projects are grounded in the established fields of management but cover a remarkable range of topics. Each study must be approved and supervised by two faculty members and graded at its conclusion.


'Entrepreneurial Tool Kit' Courses

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.

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.

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.

Innovation Execution

Professor: Christopher R. Trimble

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.

Marketing New Products

Professor: Hans-Willi Schroiff

The development of new products represents one of the key processes firms must exploit to not only maintain, but expand their market position in today's dynamic markets. But currently the failure rate of newly introduced items still remains rather high between 60-80%. This is critical and needs to be managed. The course guarantees a practical introduction to the process of designing and marketing new products and it completely covers the major phases of successful new product development. We start with concept generation with a special emphasis to customer understanding, product knowledge, and guided creativity as main sources for new product ideation. We then move to product design, pre-market testing on the various marketing-mix factors and volume forecasting. We conclude by highlighting key decisions in launching new products such a setting up a realistic plan and how to do early phase launch monitoring. The course will cover a “road-tested” sequence of must-have business processes, introduce proven state of the art techniques/ tools for the respective stages, and provide cases and examples from real life business settings. The focus is predominantly on fast-moving consumer goods (fmcg), but can be transferred 1:1 to services and technical goods.

Private Equity (Research to Practice Seminar)

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

In this research to practice seminar 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.

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.

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.

Strategy in a Turbulent Environment

Professor: Alva H. Taylor

Open to: Tuck students and Dartmouth graduate students by special request. Inquire at Alva.H.Taylor@tuck.dartmouth.edu
Change has become the norm in today’s business environments.  As such business strategies must be dynamic and address the need to be developed under situations of high uncertainty.  Business change can be driven by technology, demographics, new innovations, emerging markets, financial shifts, governmental intervention, rapid growth, or unforeseen crises. Firms must compete on their ability to create and profit from new ideas, and require them to be able to adapt quickly to new conditions.  In this course, we will begin to explore how successful managers can meet these challenges, and incorporate the ability to anticipate and respond to changes in their business models and strategies successfully.

During the quarter, we will build an apply a set of frameworks that provide guidance on how to build strategies and make decisions under turbulent environments; and apply these frameworks to situations such as entry into emerging countries, financial instability, innovations that shift value, technological transformations, and shifts in customer demands and demographics.

Strategy in Innovation Ecosystems (Research to Practice Seminar)

Professor: Ron Adner

In this seminar we will continue to develop the theme of ecosystems, and explore whether and how strategy making needs to change when value creation requires multiple participants to interact. The course itself will be an exercise in joint value creation (with all the risks that that entails). The session formats will vary.

Some sessions will be devoted to discussing academic articles. Others will focus on deep-dive analyses of selected topics (e.g., e-publishing; 3d cinema; electric vehicles and infrastructure). The deep dives will be motivated by a student projects conducted for the seminar. Other sessions will have us engaging with external visitors (think of these more as interviews than presentations).


Thayer Entrepreneurship Curriculum

For information on registration and availability, contact the Thayer Registrar.


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.

Design Thinking

Professor: Peter J. Robbie

A foundation course on the cognitive strategies and methodologies that form the basis of creative design practice. Design thinking applies to innovation across the built environment, including the design of products, services, interactive technology, environments, and experiences. Topics include design principles, human need-finding, formal methodologies, brainstorming, heuristics, thinking by analogy, scenario building, visual thinking, and study of experienced thinkers. Weekly projects and exercises in a variety of media provide practice and development of students' personal creative abilities. Enrollment is limited to 20 students.

Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship

Professor: Oliver Goodenough

Taking a good idea and turning it into a successful product and a profitable business poses a number of technical, managerial, and financial challenges. The solutions to many of the challenges of entrepreneurship in general, and to those of starting up a technologically based business in particular, are provided by the law. A grounding in the law of intellectual property, contractual transactions, business structures, debt and equity finance, and securities regulation, both in the U.S. and in an international context, will help inventors and entrepreneurs to manage this part of the process intelligently and with a high likelihood of success.

Product Design

Professor: Peter J. Robbie

A laboratory course on human-centered product design. A series of design projects form the vehicle for exploring creative strategies for optimizing product design for human use. The course focus includes need-finding, concept development, iterative modeling, prototyping and testing. The goal is synthesis of technical requirements with aesthetic and human concerns. Includes presentations by visiting professional designers. Enrollment is limited to 20 students.

Technology Assessment

Professor: Charles Sullivan

This project course is grounded in technology-focused areas and provides an opportunity for teams of students to conduct a thorough analysis of prevalent and emerging technologies in fields of critical interest such as health, energy, the environment, and other complex systems and then to recommend and justify actions for its further development. Technology in an assigned application field will be analyzed by each student team, along with emerging, complementary and competing technologies, leading to 1) findings of those impediments and incentives for its further development, 2) identification and quantification of the societal and/or commercial benefits achievable from further development, and 3) recommendations for action in research funding, product and market development, public policy, and the like, that would most rapidly achieve the identified societal and/or commercial benefits.

Technology Project Management

Professor: Edward J. March

Project management focuses on planning and organizing as well as directing and controlling resources for a relatively short-term project effort which is established to meet specific goals and objectives. Project management is simultaneously behavioral, and quantitative, and systematic. The course covers topics in planning, scheduling and controlling projects such as in new product development, technology installation, and construction. This course is aimed at both business and engineering students and combines reading and case-oriented activities.


Dartmouth Classes

For information on registration and availability, contact the Dartmouth Registrar.


Introduction to Programming and Computation

Professor: Hany Farid 

You might think that this course is about computer programming. True, you will do a lot of programming. But that is not what this course is about. Some day you will be a leader, a decision maker. As computer technology becomes more prevalent and pervasive in society, decision makers increasingly need to understand not just how to use the technology, but also the principles behind it. In this course, you will begin to learn about the principles behind computer technology. You'll start to understand why computers do the things they do. More broadly, in CS 1 you'll learn to think about problems the way a computer scientist thinks. This skill is valuable in any field.


Geisel School of Medicine Entrepreneurship Curriculum

The Intersection of the Clinic and Commercialization: How Innovation Happens

Professor: 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.