The entrepreneurship curriculum at the University of Chicago was born out of Chicago Booth with the first course dating back to 1998. Today, the university offers a wide range of entrepreneurship courses, which pair the fundamentals of finance, economics, and strategy with innovative hands-on learning.
Sample courses in the entrepreneurship curriculum are outlined below. Current Chicago Booth students can access the full course catalog by logging in to the Booth intranet.
Accounting for Entrepreneurship: From Start-up Through IPO
This course provides the core set of tools needed to effectively provide the accounting functions for private, entrepreneurial companies. The course follows the life-cycle of a company that begins life as a start-up, and the course covers the accounting-related financial metrics that are needed by an entrepreneur.
This course is designed for students who want to create things, break things, and be a leader of change in their organizations. Designed as a skills-based class, this course will arm you with the tactical tools needed to identify and execute innovation opportunities. In this class, innovation is defined broadly to include new products and services, new business or revenue models, a dramatic change in go-to-market approach, an operational innovation, or any other step-change initiative. The course explores the structural and cultural challenges that large organizations face when executing breakthrough innovation or making a major change. However rather than learning theoretical best practices for corporate innovation, the class will instead focus on learning tools so that you can influence better innovation outcomes. By the end of this class you will have developed actionable skills that will make you a more effective innovation leader while having the confidence to act boldly.
Healthcare comprises over 1/6 of US GDP and is growing at more than double the rate of the rest of the economy. It is a sector where innovation can be measured in lives saved. One of the goals of this course is to remove the perceived barrier to entry to a career in the life sciences. Cases and guest speakers have been selected to highlight a wide range of backgrounds. This class is for students considering a career in healthcare whether as an entrepreneur, an investor, an executive, or on Wall Street.
Lab based innovations have contributed the most important advances to humanity, from energy that power our lives to medicine that cures disease. Billions of dollars are spent each year developing lab based innovations, with new discoveries happening every day. However, limited effort is place on commercializing these discoveries, which could create global scale impact and vast wealth creation. A major reason for this is that the toolset required to be successful in this arena is much different than web/digital companies, which is currently the focus of most people or traditional corporate management.
Between the 11th and the 14th century three legal innovations changed the economic and financial history of the world: fiat money (11th century in China), double entry accounting (14th century in Italy), and limited liability corporations (11th century Italy). Accounting, banking, financing, and monetary policy as we know them today were all the result of these innovations. Blockchain, virtual currencies, and smart contracts promise to trigger an-equally important revolution in the 21st century. This course will walk the students through the challenges and the opportunities this technology offers, as well as the regulatory problem it raises. After a brief introduction on the technology itself, the course will focus on
1) the changes digital currencies will bring to monetary policy and financing;
2) the changes the blockchain technology will bring to accounting, trading, and investment banking;
3) the opportunities provided by peer-to-peer lending.
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.
The primary purpose of this course is to provide marketers with an in-depth understanding of current best practices in new product development. Topics covered include: stage-gate new product processes, new product strategy, platform strategy, opportunity identification, perceptual mapping, market research techniques for uncovering customer needs, idea generation and screening, writing new product concept statements, concept optimization, new product forecasting methods (including innovation diffusion models and simulated test markets), brand extendability, and new product launch plans.
This course will use the case method to study entrepreneurial finance and, more broadly, private equity finance. The course is motivated by increases in both the supply of and demand for private equity.
In the Entrepreneurial Selling course, you will learn how to acquire customers, use selling skills in different contexts, tell powerful stories, manage entrepreneurial sales processes, and us the key tools required for success in selling.
In this course, groups of students will develop an idea for an innovative, startup social organization. They will conduct research to create a detailed plan for its creation and growth and pitch the plan to faculty, social entrepreneurs, domain experts, foundation officers, and philanthropists.
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.
You’ll intern 15 to 20 hours a week on projects ranging from evaluating new market/business opportunities to specific issues and opportunities for portfolio companies. The classroom component features guest lecturers from private equity and venture capital companies.
Selected students from the business schools of Chicago and Northwestern universities will compete in the Zell | Booth-Kellogg Real Estate Challenge. Historically, the Challenge topic has been a redevelopment proposal (often for a site owned by the City of Chicago); past sites have included properties located in areas such as: “Lakeside” (the former US Steel site), the proposed Olympic Village, the south loop, the “six corners,” Bronzeville and the near West Side.
This course is designed to allow students who have advanced to the second round of the New Venture Challenge to develop their ideas into full business plans. Student teams will work largely on their own to develop their business plans.
This course provides students with a framework for thinking about tax planning. This framework has two principal advantages. First, it is designed to have value long after the next tax act. Second, the framework is portable, in that it can be applied to any set of tax laws – those of the United States or any other country. Although the course generally focuses on U.S. based transactions and planning examples, the underlying ideas are applicable in other jurisdictions. Once developed, the framework is applied to a variety of business settings. The applications integrate concepts from finance, economics, and accounting to achieve a more complete understanding of the role of taxes in business strategy. The course also includes periodic focus on the financial accounting ramifications of tax planning. Moreover, the course content has valuation related implications.
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.
In both start-up entrepreneurship and corporate intrapreneurship, pursuing wrong ideas is wasteful of precious time, resources, and energy while identifying the “right idea” to pursue is really hard. This hands-on course led by two industry-proven entrepreneurs demystifies Discovery, the starting phase of Booth’s D4 innovation process. Through active but practical instruction, this “fuzzy front-end” course provides impassioned innovators with the tools needed to quickly determine which of their ideas are worth further pursuit.
Taught by Mark Agnew and Brian O’Connor, Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (“ETA”) will give students frameworks and real world solutions to use if they decide to pursue an acquisition of and lead a company. The class will walk through the life cycle of a typical path toward finding and running a business including information on fund formation, raising capital, searching for a company, buying a business, leading that business and then ultimately selling it. Approximately half of the course will go through critical points leading up to buying a business, while the other half will address some of the key issues executives face while running a company (identifying metrics, communicating with a team, interviewing, handling HR issues, etc). Although the main focus will be on buying and running a business, the class is designed to be applicable to many other career paths including private equity, venture capital and entrepreneurship.
This course focuses on strategic decision making in technology intensive industries. We will develop a set of tools which are crucial for the formulation and management of a winning technology strategy. The course focuses on the application of conceptual models that clarify the interactions between external competition, firm positioning, patterns of technological and market change, and the nature and development of internal firm capabilities. There is particular emphasis on building models for making strategic decisions in the context of significant technology, demand, and competitive uncertainty.