Curriculum

Stage 1:  Discovery
New Venture Discovery (KIEI-462)
Professors: Carter Cast David Schonthal , Joe Dwyer , Marge Johnsson
KIEI-462 will focus on the initial stages of idea generation, team formation and testing key assumptions of a business idea. Through this course students will determine if their ideas are unique, relevant, profitable, and sustainable. At the end of the course, If students have a credible business concept they will be encouraged to enroll in the NUvention courses or Kellogg Innovation Lab in subsequent quarters. Students enrolling in 462 do not need a team or a fully developed business idea. Grading will be on an individual basis.

Content of the course will focus on the ‘discovery’ process, often referred to as Stage Zero in the innovation process. This is perhaps the most important moment in the life of a business. Get the idea right and your primary challenge will be how to scale your business. Get the idea wrong and scaling your business will be the least of your worries. This course is designed to help you identify opportunities and then improve the quality of your ideas. You will learn how to identify problems worth solving, test your assumptions about possible solutions, adjust your initial hypothesis based on market feedback, and ultimately accelerate the time between inspiration, execution, operations, and growth.

Stage 2:  Ideation
Launchpad Courses
NUvention Medical (HEMA-915/916)
Professor: William Sutter
NUvention Medical is a two-quarter sequence focused on the creation of innovations for the health industry. Students, guided by faculty and physicians from Kellogg and the Northwestern law, medical and engineering schools work in teams to develop medical products. Students experience the entire innovation life cycle from ideation to prototyping, legal protection, market sizing and business plan development. At the end of the course, the teams present their business plans to a panel of venture capitalists with the goal of securing funding and possible formation of a start-up. Key deliverables in this class include: “elevator pitch” to request prototype/pilot funding, prototype development, provisional patent application, FDA 510/K application and business plan presentation to venture capitalists.  Link to application process here.

NUvention Energy (KIEI-951)
Professor: Mike Marasco
NUvention Energy responds to the demand for innovation and entrepreneurship in the sustainable energy and clean tech space that will increasingly be required to deal with climate change, resource constraint, and other environmental challenges. Students from engineering, business, arts and sciences, law and other graduate schools across campus will come together in interdisciplinary teams to develop a product or service, in the sustainable energy or clean tech industry. The objective of the course is to provide students with a realistic simulation of the challenges and opportunities entrepreneurial founding teams face trying to create a business around technologies or services that both meet a market need and have a positive environmental impact. The application process will be available on the course website.

NUvention Web (KIEI-950/952)
Professor: Mike Marasco
NUvention: Web is an interdisciplinary experiential learning program designed to expose students to the entire product and business development life cycle for a software company. Project areas include iPad/Tablet App, Mobile Applications, New Media, Social Gaming, Twitter or Facebook Apps, eCommerce/Deals, Analytics, Cloud, Big Data or ideas from students in the program. Teams will be able to continue to work on their projects after the completion of the course.  The application process will be available on the course website.

NUvention Impact (KIEI-930/931)
Professor: Jamie Jones

NUvention ImpactNUvention Impact is an interdisciplinary experiential learning program designed to expose students to the design and launch of market-based ventures that address unmet societal and environmental needs of both an international and domestic nature. The social entrepreneurial approach to addressing global challenges such as poverty, hunger, lack of access to sanitation, the need for sustainable energy supply and affordable health care will be the focus of the course. NUvention Impact will walk students through the steps associated with creating and implementing a social venture—a venture that addresses a social issue while simultaneously being financially self-sufficient. Students will be exposed to the user-centered design process for social impact, market and nonmarket contexts of resource-challenged settings and the nuts-and-bolts of launching a venture.  The application process will be available on the course website.

Two NUvention Impact students interview women dairy farmers in a rural community near Rajkot, India.

Innovation Lab (KIEI-940/941)
Professors: Linda Darragh, Tom Parkinson
This course is targeted to students who have business concepts that they would like to launch and that do not fit the industry sectors integrated in the existing NUvention courses (energy, web, medical, or social impact). The class will use the Lean Launchpad methodology and tailor the instruction to the characteristics of industries represented in the class such as consumer products & health services.

A significant portion of the workload for this course will occur outside of the classroom. Students must be prepared to test and validate their business model hypotheses by engaging with potential customers and industry experts. Within the classroom, students will be encouraged to share learning experiences and help other student teams. The course work will be supplemented by guest speakers who are experts in specific industries as well functional areas related to the business model canvas. In addition, students will have access to a pool of alumni and local industry experts who can assist in the development of their businesses.  More information and the application is available here.

Experiential Courses
Buyout Lab (FINC-939)
Professor: David Stowell
This course offers an experiential learning opportunity in private equity through leveraged buyout. It is designed for students who want to pursue a career in buyouts but do not have extensive experience in this field. The primary content of the course is a project that students complete with a buyout fund in the Chicago area, where they will work for one day each week for 10 weeks.  Link to application process here.

Venture Lab (FINC-915)
Professor: David Stowell
This course offers students an experiential learning opportunity in the venture capital industry at a venture fund or incubator. It will be most beneficial to students who have not had extensive experience in the venture capital space, but who would like to pursue a career in that field. commit to dedicate two full working days a week to working onsite at the venture firm's office for local firms and an equivalent amount of time offsite for remote firms..  Link to application process here.

Commercialization Lab (KIEI-911)
Professor: Katie Arnold, Eric Benson
The aim of this course is to teach students the tools needed to assess, and potentially improve, the attributes of early-stage medical product technologies for optimal commercial impact and ultimately generate investor interest. When analyzing technologies to build sales forecasts and go-to-market strategy, is it not only important to communicate product value but also address perceived challenges and offer potential solutions to mitigate risk.
The central focus of the class is market research to gain insight into user population, customer demand, competitive landscape, market access, and product exclusivity. Upon learning these skillsets, students will develop effective sales forecast models, target product profiles and go-to-market strategies, of continued use in making go/no-go strategic decisions and in building commercial roadmaps, financial projections and investor pitches.

Corporate Innovation and New Ventures (KIEI-903)
Professor:  Dean DeBiase, Paul Earle
The terms “entrepreneurship” and “innovation” often evoke images of a startup in a garage. But what about the game-changing innovation generated by large, established corporations? Now more than ever, large corporations are focusing on innovation as the key to their growth and prosperity. In some instances, it is critical for their very survival. These companies are investing in systems and processes to accelerate the pace of innovation — but need their teams to step up in order to win in a competitive marketplace.

Corporate Innovation & New Ventures is a highly immersive and experiential learning laboratory that puts students in the middle of this “innovation arms race.” We will examine entrepreneurship and innovation from the perspective of corporate strategy, market-facing initiatives, corporate venturing, new product development, and longer term R&D, in partnership with multi-national corporations. With an emphasis on developing innovative ideas for a final course project, you and your business team members will be assigned to work with a real company, on real problems.

In addition to the main project, students will be exposed to corporate innovation processes at a range of other top Chicago-area corporations, working on real challenges in their own corporate innovation centers. Students will also visit 1871, one of the top incubators/accelerators in the United States and an “idea feeder” to a number of large corporations.

The Entrepreneurial Experience (KIEI-967)
Professor: Brad Morehead
This course will give students a framework to discover their inner entrepreneur while working directly with high-growth entrepreneurs and companies in Chicago and Evanston. The Entrepreneurial Experience is designed for students that want to start and run companies, but don’t yet have a world-changing idea.

Students will work in small teams with real, high-growth companies and entrepreneurs to explore and experience risk, failure, project management and entrepreneurship to shape the company’s future. The class is based in part on analysis that successful entrepreneurs take calculated risks via a series of transactions. The course will feature 50 percent in-class debate and 50 percent lab work with local high-growth entrepreneurs on teams of three to five students. This class will provide students with hands-on insight that will be invaluable for students who want to launch a company, work for a startup, invest in high-growth private companies in private equity or venture capital, consult small businesses, or provide services and/or products to high-growth businesses.

VC Experience (KIEI-916-B)
Professor: Paul Lee
Early stage equity financing is continually evolving. Although the basic frameworks and business models are essentially the same, the actual terms and structures change with economic and technology environments.

This course will focus on the evolving nuances of the venture capital industry by incorporating projects with local VC portfolio companies of local VCs and involving students in cases based on current VC transactions. This course builds on the foundation of FINC-445 by adding practical applications and experiential learning. This is particularly valuable to students who want to specialize in this industry, because venture capital is about pattern recognition. The course is taught by the lead partner at Lightbank and targets MBA students who want a deeper understanding of how to approach/interact/engage with VCs both from an entrepreneur's fundraising standpoint, as well as a prospective trying to break into the venture industry.


Building Block Courses
Entrepreneurship:  Innovation, Teams, and Culture (MORS-952-B)
Professor: Joe Dwyer, Mark Achler
Most venture capitalists will agree that the key determinant of success in an early stage company is the management team. In an environment where formal business plans are of little help and ideation continues around the development of the right business model, management teams must be innovative, resourceful and adaptive. People, not plans, define outcomes. But attracting, coordinating, and encouraging the right co-founders and employees is incredibly tricky, even when you're not faced with scarce resources and deep uncertainty.

This five-week course explores the factors that define high-functioning teams, and offers frameworks and approaches to assembling, motivating, and coordinating effective teams in highly fluid and challenging contexts. Topics include the psychology of teams, legal aspects of team building, and how to divide responsibility, compensation, and equity among the founders.

Culture is key to sustainable success in the face of evolving needs, crises, and opportunities. We leverage a powerful intent-driven framework designed to define and grow corporate cultures to create lasting value. The goal is a repeatable methodology for achieving a “flow state” of innovation bringing together founders, employees, customers, and investors to achieve extraordinary outcomes.

Entrepreneurial Selling: Business to Business (MKTG-962-B)
Professor: John Aiello
Without a doubt, the biggest challenge to starting and growing a successful entrepreneurial venture is selling. Whether the sale is to early employees, prospective investors, or (of course) customers, entrepreneurs must be the chief evangelists and salespeople for their businesses. The process for Business to Business (B2B) selling is significantly different from selling to consumers (B2C). The B2B sales process is inherently more complex, time-consuming, costly and involves relationship building and contract negotiations with many stakeholders.

This course will use a unique blend of frameworks, structured content and practical experience. Topics that will be covered include: how to develop an impactful message for various targets; how to prepare for early sales calls with customer prospects; how to conduct an initial sales call; how to develop and implement a repeatable sales process; how to ask for the deal; and how to navigate a deal to close. Class lectures will be augmented by guest speakers with real world examples of topics discussed in class, role playing to practice the art and science of selling, discussion and Q&A, and written assignments to assess a student’s progress.

Entrepreneurial Selling: Skills & Strategies (KIEI-902-A)
Professor: Cheryl Mayberry McKissack
This course will introduce you to the basics of selling and how you can use entrepreneurial techniques to make a difference in the success of your idea or inspire growth in your company. The class will focus on the fundamentals of sales and review the relationship of customer need identification and the reasons people buy. The course will help you develop your “entrepreneurial asking” skills to persuade your customers and business associates that your idea or solution will make the difference. You will master the six steps of selling as outlined in Ron Willingham’s book, Integrity Selling for the 21st Century. The system will be supplemented with lectures, excerpts from Howard Schultz’s Pour Your heart Into it: How Starbuck’s Built a Company, One Cup At A Time, case studies, and examples of “entrepreneurial selling” from the professor’s experience at U.S. Robotics and other ventures.

Entrepreneurial Tools for Digital Marketing (MKTG-961)
Professor:  Troy HenikoffSean Johnson
Most people agree that the Internet has been the single biggest change to business in the last 100 years, yet very few know how to effectively leverage the web as a tool for customer acquisition, retention and growth.

This course is based on the framework of the customer relationship funnel but will focus solely on the web/mobile channel. Customer discovery and validation in the web/mobile channel involves strategies and tactics that are faster and less expensive than physical channels. Consequently, digital marketing is an integral part of both the entrepreneurial and corporate environments.

This class will be very hands on and tactical, giving you exposure to the basic concepts of UI/UX, A/B testing, conversion funnels, SEO, SEM, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and much more. Expect to be working in groups in practical settings. There is not a textbook for this class -- guest speakers and lectures will provide the information and hands on exercises will provide the learning.

Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs (KIEI-935-B)
Professor: James Conley
This course addresses what entrepreneurs need to know to secure and leverage the intangible, knowledge based assets of their business. The course begins with a survey of various intellectual property forms for inventions, original expressions, source identifiers/brands, and confidential information, etc., and how they can be used to build a unique selling proposition. We explore the cost effective paths to registering these intangibles as patents, copyrights, trademarks, or securing same as trade secrets. Methods for leveraging IP ownership to realize investment and/or exit from the businesses are reviewed. Case studies explore entrepreneurship challenges in the electronics accessories, sound engineering, and consumer durable contexts.

Business Law for Entrepreneurs (BLAW-911-A/B)
Professor: Craig Bradley
This course provides the would-be entrepreneur with a working knowledge of certain essential substantive areas of the law and the ability to work with and use lawyers effectively. The focus is on the practical legal considerations in forming and sustaining an entrepreneurial enterprise, including entity organization, not-for-profit securities laws, employment benefits, financing, taxation and intellectual property law.

Global Governance for Privately Held Companies (KIEI -965)
Professor: James Shein, William Sutter
Governance issues must be addressed by the power centers of all organizations, ranging from startups to mid-market and other non-public companies. Almost all Kellogg graduates will serve as an officer, director and/or an advisor for one of these U.S. or foreign organizations. The aim of this interdisciplinary course is to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to handle controversial governance issues which often fall in the intersection of business, law and ethics. Concepts will cover key governance challenges facing private equity, consulting, investment banking and closely held firms, both in the United States and abroad. We will debate current issues and proposed regulations that affect directors in the U.S. and internationally to help executives and their advisors do the right thing and avoid liabilities. Guests will include the heads of private equity, consulting and investment banking firms.

Product Management for Technology Companies:  An Entrepreneurial Perspective (KIEI-932)
Professor:  John Miniati, Mohanbir Sawhney
Product Managers are responsible for identifying unmet customer needs, orchestrating the development of products and solutions to address these needs, bringing new products to market and managing products as a business. In a technology startup, the Product Manager is typically a Founder. In mid-sized and large technology firms, the Product Manager is a middle manager who needs to manage products as a business. Product Management is a distinct discipline that will benefit Kellogg students who want to become technology entrepreneurs or students who are recruited by established technology companies for product management roles.

Start-up Programming & Management (KIEI-925)
Professor: Raghu Betina, Jeffrey Cohen
The new reality is that every company is a software company. Even in traditionally brick-and-mortar industries, software is absorbing more and more of the value chain. And, of course, many companies (especially “lean startups”) are purely software-based. Lacking an understanding of how software works while working in a software world puts you at a disadvantage.

In this course, students will build a functional prototype of an idea. To do this, students will learn the Ruby on Rails web application framework. Higher goals also include understanding the general patterns of how applications work, learning to communicate more effectively and credibly with developers, gaining a builder’s perspective on the world, and learning to perceive more opportunities amenable to tech solutions. In addition, students will learn to prioritize features more effectively by developing a better feel for their costs, make small changes to an application without having to waste developer time, learn the agile development technique, and become familiar with the tools of the trade. 

Growth & Scaling Courses
Strategies for Growth (MGMT-955-A)
Professor: Michael Mazzeo
This course is about effectively scaling a business. Because growth is imperative for many organizations, it is crucial to understand the strategic fundamentals underpinning profitable growth. Therefore, the course connects frameworks from economics and strategy to the experiences of firms attempting growth initiatives to illustrate why some businesses scale successfully while others struggle.

The cases and examples in this course will focus on “middle-market” companies — organizations that are beyond the initial startup stage and are explicitly looking to expand their business. The case materials include first-person accounts of the challenges of growth for these companies, as collected in interviews conducted during the research stage of Professor Mazzeo’s “Roadside MBA” project. The cases will be supplemented with discussions of strategy frameworks that can be used to extrapolate from experiences of these specific firms to general insights about growth and scaling.