Curricular Programs

We offer undergraduate and graduate programs for the aspiring entrepreneur.

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Entrepreneurship

Undergraduate Courses

BUAD 443 - Entrepreneurial Ventures

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, business model design, and the financing of entrepreneurial ventures. This course features hands-on learning experiences through a founder speaker series, practitioner-led workshops, and entrepreneurial ecosystem visits. Students will get hands-on instruction on the use of specific tools and methodologies. Students may also participate in immersive visits to locations* in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem including venture capital firms, startup accelerators, and startups.

*Some of the immersive experiences, including the ecosystem visits will extend beyond the class time and are not required.

**Course satisfies one of the requirements for the following concentrations:
Innovation & Design
Entrepreneurship

BUAD 444/45 - Entrepreneurial Consulting

Entrepreneurial Consulting (BUAD 444/445) is an extremely hands-on course where mixed teams of undergraduate and MBA students apply entrepreneurial methods to investigate real world opportunities for local companies and startups.

Admittance to this course is by application through the undergraduate or MBA program offices.

We will select approximately 15 undergraduate students to join our program to leverage entrepreneurial methods in supporting innovative Virginia-based firms. Our clients run the full spectrum from early stage startups to mature organizations looking to reinvent themselves by looking at their business through new lens. In the past, teams have addressed challenges including new product feasibility, market identification, and operational improvement.

This course does not meet like other classes do throughout the week – there is no regularly scheduled class time. The entire course is project-based and students work with their team and their client to set a regular meeting schedule to accomplish the work. Teams are required to meet at least once a week with each other and as needed with the client. Throughout the week, students are responsible for setting their own schedule to accomplish their assigned tasks.

BUAD 474 - Negotiation

This course introduces students to the art and science of negotiation through the study of well-documented historical negotiations, personal experience with live negotiation exercises, and the study of game theory. Students will focus on understanding the games that underlie most negotiations and developing the analytical tools and techniques required in negotiation.

BUAD 492 - Private Equity & Venture Capital

Covers the essential principles of the risks and rewards associated with Private Equity and Venture Capital. Financial analysis of a business and risk/return characteristics, business valuation methods, and the financing sources are covered to better understand the required returns to risk investors. Other topics include: fundraising, early stage, middle stage, and ultimately late stage investments; buyouts and exit strategies; the structuring of the “deal”; the creation of term sheets, negotiation strategies, and human capital and resources.

Graduate Courses

BUAD 598 - CAM - Entrepreneurship

This hands-­on course provides real world, experiential learning about how scalable startups are built. The focus of this course is not how to write a business plan. Rather, it is designed to be more of a practical course – essentially a startup lab with a focus on entrepreneurial thinking and business creation.

You will work in teams learning how to turn a great idea into a great company. You’ll learn how to use a business model to brainstorm each part of a company and customer development to validate your model and to see whether anyone other than you would want/use your product.

You will get your hands dirty talking to customers, partners, competitors, as you encounter the chaos and uncertainty of the early stages of a startup. The goal, within the constraints of a classroom and a limited amount of time, is to create an entrepreneurial experience with all of the pressures and demands of a startup.

Finally, based on the customer and market feedback you gathered, you will rapidly iterate your product to build something customers would actually use and buy. Each week you will test each part of your business model outside of the classroom and share your knowledge/insight gained with the rest of the class.

BUAD 595 - Creative Problem Solving

We have designed the course to be radically interdisciplinary.  Over the course of the semester, you will be exposed to academics and practitioners from widely divergent fields.  Each will share with you the creative problems that they face, and how they are tackling them… or perhaps, challenge you to tackle them.  By reflecting on what they have to offer, you’ll improve your ability to think divergently… a critical precursor to creativity.  We are engaging our speakers opportunistically, when they’re available.  Because of that, we won’t have a structured daily schedule, and you should expect last-minute changes.  What you will have is a structured process for capturing your daily experiences, reflecting on them, comparing your take-aways with others, and synthesizing them into a broader understanding of the creative problem-solving process, a wider range of “lenses” for viewing situations, and new tools for approaching complex, ambiguous challenges.

BUAD 595 - Introduction to Design Thinking

This course provides a hands-on introduction to Design Thinking methodologies and encourages students to immediately put them into practice. Students will gain an understanding of the core principles of Design Thinking and be able to put them to use within their own organizations. Design Thinking is a systematic, iterative, human-centered approach to solving tough, real-world problems that are often ill-defined and stubbornly immune to traditional problem solving approaches. Design Thinking is a methodology for generating innovative solutions that are at the intersection of people’s needs, technological feasibility, and business viability. You don’t have to be a designer to be a design thinker. Design Thinking tools allow people who are not trained as designers to creatively tackle a wide range of challenges.

BUAD 6881 - Private Equity & Venture Capital

Covers the essential principles of the risks and rewards associated with Private Equity and Venture Capital. Financial analysis of a business and risk/return characteristics, business valuation methods, and the financing sources are covered to better understand the required returns to risk investors. Other topics include: fundraising, early stage, middle stage, and ultimately late stage investments; buyouts and exit strategies; the structuring of the “deal”; the creation of term sheets, negotiation strategies, and human capital and resources.

Innovation

Undergraduate Courses

BUAD 451 - Customer Insights for Innovation

Many business opportunities and decisions depend on an understanding of customers’ values, needs, aspirations and behaviors.  Even more important for an individual company is gaining unique insights into their customers so that they can develop products, services and brands that are differentiated from competition.  The research conducted to identify these unique insights can be challenging since, by definition, new insights are initially unknown and cannot, therefore, simply be validated with traditional marketing surveys.  Fortunately, many methods have been developed over the last few decades to enable the discovery of new customer insights.  These qualitative research methods include contextual inquiry, in-depth interviews, focus groups and netnography.   This course is an immersive and experiential introduction to customer insights research methods, addressing both data collection and synthesis.  In addition, these methods will be applied to the challenge of defining concepts for new products and services that address the insights identified.

BUAD 457 - Creative Problem Solving

We have designed the course to be radically interdisciplinary.  Over the course of the semester, you will be exposed to academics and practitioners from widely divergent fields.  Each will share with you the creative problems that they face, and how they are tackling them… or perhaps, challenge you to tackle them.  By reflecting on what they have to offer, you’ll improve your ability to think divergently… a critical precursor to creativity.  We are engaging our speakers opportunistically, when they’re available.  Because of that, we won’t have a structured daily schedule, and you should expect last-minute changes.  What you will have is a structured process for capturing your daily experiences, reflecting on them, comparing your take-aways with others, and synthesizing them into a broader understanding of the creative problem-solving process, a wider range of “lenses” for viewing situations, and new tools for approaching complex, ambiguous challenges.

BUAD 453 - Sustainability Inspired Design & Innovation

Many companies are embracing sustainability as the inspiration and impetus for the next wave of product and service innovation. In this course, we’ll explore the reasons behind this growing interest in sustainability, what sustainability means to consumers, and the opportunities it presents to companies that want to “do well while doing good”. This course will also emphasize the process and outcome of product and service innovation, from creative idea generation to concept evaluation. Specifically, students will gain significant hands-on experience with the tools and techniques of “Design Thinking” in a studio setting, with a focus on developing innovative ideas that promote the principles of sustainability.

BUAD 492 - Design as Strategy

This course considers the relationship between theories and practice in the two very different realms of business strategy and design. The course focuses on analyzing complex information, developing and exploring alternative solutions, and prototyping future innovations and scenarios. Visual and other design techniques and tools are added to the traditional strategic toolbox to bring new insights into new venture strategy, competitive strategy, marketing strategy and tactics, decision sciences, entrepreneurship, business plan writing, and innovation.