Curriculum

Beginning in the fall of 2012, the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI) began teaching venture creation in a new manner. Rather than launching startups based upon business plans alone, KIEI curriculum was redesigned in order to build agile, high-value ventures using the lean startup methodology. The Kellogg entrepreneurship track, titled "Discover. Test. Launch.” steers entrepreneurship students through the lean methodology via experiential learning coursework and real-life experiences. Through this series of courses, entrepreneurship students are encouraged to look at real-world problems, design a solution, test their assumptions on a customer base, iterate and/or pivot based upon feedback, and then finally launch their startups, all while attending the Kellogg School of Management. Learn more about the courses in "Discover. Test. Launch." by clicking below. Questions about our new course offerings? Contact us via kiei@kellogg.northwestern.edu.

Discover
  • New Venture Discovery
Test 
  • New Venture Development
Launch
  • New Venture Launch
NUvention Courses
NUvention courses are interdisciplinary learning experiences and include all components of "Discover. Test. Launch."
  • NUvention Analytics
  • NUvention Energy
  • NUvention Impact
  • NUvention Medical
  • NUvention Nano
  • NUvention Web

Experiential Courses
  • Corporate Innovation and New Ventures
  • The Entrepreneurial Experience
  • KIN Challenge
  • Medical Product Commercialization
  • Social Entrepreneurship

Building Block Courses
  • Business Law for Entrepreneurs
  • Entrepreneurial Selling: Business to Business
  • Entrepreneurial Selling: Skills & Strategies
  • Entrepreneurial Tools for Digital Marketing
  • Entrepreneurship:  Innovation, Teams, and Culture
  • Global Governance for Privately Held Companies
  • Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs
  • Introduction to Software Development
  • Product Management for Technology Companies:  An Entrepreneurial Perspective
  • Startup Programming & Management
  • Venture Capital and Private Equity: The Human Element

Discover
New Venture Discovery (KIEI-462)
Professors: Carter CastDavid Schonthal, Joe Dwyer, Gabe Vehovsky
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 New Venture Development in subsequent quarters. Students enrolling in KIEI-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.

This course was developed for: 1) first and foremost, those who want to pursue an entrepreneurial career and are taking this course to develop and pursue new business ideas; 2) those keenly interested in a career path in business innovation, whether it’s in a new venture or innovating inside a larger firm (i.e. “intrapreneurs”); 3) those who are curious about a career in entrepreneurship and innovation and want to better understand what it entails and explore if it fits well with their inherent personality traits and talents.

Test
New Venture Development (KIEI-940)
Professors: Linda Darragh, Steve Farsht
Previously known as Innovation Lab I, this course is the logical continuation of New Venture Discovery (KIEI-462). If a student or student team has a business concept that they want to pursue further, they are encouraged to apply to New Venture Development. This course is focused on testing and validating product-market fit, user interfaces and experience and advancing to the development of a refined MVP concept. Teams are not expected to have programmers at this point as the focus is on using a variety of free ware to test the product/service. 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 as functional areas related to the business model canvas. In addition, students will have access to a pool of alumni and local mentors who can assist in the development of their businesses.

New Venture Development will be offered in the fall and winter quarters. Upon the completion of New Venture Development, student teams and faculty will determine whether a team should move to New Venture Launch. Admittance to New Venture Development is by application only. The application is available here: application link. If a student wants to bypass KIEI-462, they must identify that they are well versed in the process of design thinking and have already conducted significant market research to validate their business concept.

Launch
New Venture Launch (KIEI-942)
Professor: Tom Parkinson
Previously known as Innovation Lab II, this experiential course is targeted to students who have business concepts that have been tested to determine that there is a compelling product-market fit. It is designed specifically to help them prepare to launch their new ventures. New Venture Launch will focus on fine-tuning the business model, understanding the key drivers of growth and profitability, building out financial projections, raising capital, and preparing and delivering investor pitches. It is expected that student teams will be on a pathway for a beta launch by the end of the class. A significant portion of the workload for this course will occur outside of the classroom. 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 and a pool of alumni and local mentors who can assist in the development of their businesses. There are funds available for teams to purchase a limited amount of services to advance their businesses.

New Venture Launch will be offered in the winter and spring Quarters. Most of the students entering this course will be advancing from KIEI-940 New Venture Development. There may be a few openings in the course for students who have advanced business concepts on their own. These teams must apply directly to Professor Parkinson in order to be considered for the course.

NUvention Courses
NUvention Analytics
NUvention Analytics is a unique interdisciplinary course designed to create opportunities for students to create new analytics technologies and then build businesses around their innovations. Read more about NUvention Analytics on the course website.

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 Impact (KIEI-930/931)
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.


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 course website here.

NUvention Nano
NUvention Nano is a unique interdisciplinary course designed in conjunction with the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN). Read more about NUvention Nano 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.

Experiential Courses
Corporate Innovation and New Ventures (KIEI-903)
Professors:  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.

KIN Challenge (KIEI-920)
Professor: Rob Wolcott
KIN Challenge provides a unique opportunity for Kellogg MBA students to tackle big, meaningful challenges with people making change happen in the world. This course is customized to the teams and challenges posed by Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) keynoters. Students progress through a competitive process consisting of an application, semi-final interviews with a KIN panel of judges, and selection as one of the 3 or 4 teams. Finalist teams present at KIN Global. The course is heavily experiential, as each team works on a real challenge posed by a KIN Global delegate or keynote speaker.

Medical Product Commercialization (KIEI-911)
Professors: 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.

Social Entrepreneurship (KIEI-452)
Professor: Gabrielle Lyon
This course offers an introduction to the history, theory, structures and emerging debates in social entrepreneurship. Most specifically we will explore – in class and through projects – social entrepreneurship as a field as well as a mechanism for designing for social problem solving. The lab component of this course will enable teams of students to work on a social change initiative in partnership with a local organization. This class is intended for students who want to start, work for, advise or invest in a business designed to have a social impact. Student teams will work with revenue-generating initiatives and for-profit companies working in education, food and sustainability, economic and community development, and civic and open data sectors.

Building Block Courses
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.

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)
Professors:  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.

Entrepreneurship:  Innovation, Teams, and Culture (MORS-952-B)
Professors: 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.

Global Governance for Privately Held Companies (KIEI -965)
Professors: 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.

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.

Introduction to Software Development (KIEI-924-A or B)
Professor: Jeffrey Cohen, Brian Eng
This short course is geared for non-programmers who will be founders of, employed in, or consulting to companies that are "tech-enabled". Building an understanding of not only the language of the modern web, but also the processes involved in programming projects is essential in all aspects of technology companies' strategy and general management. This course is the prerequisite for KIEI-925.

Students will learn how to build and deploy their own "static" website, gaining essential coding literacy and experience with modern tools and nomenclature. Students should expect to spend 6-8 hours a week on assignments. IMPORTANT: Attendance is a significant part of the grade, and all students are especially expected to attend the first class.

Product Management for Technology Companies:  An Entrepreneurial Perspective (KIEI-932)
Professor:  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.

Startup Programming & Management (KIEI-925)
Professors: Raghu Betina, Brian Eng
(Prerequisite: KIEI-933 or equivalent experience. Students seeking a prerequisite waiver must contact the professor for approval). This course provides students with an introduction to web development and software project management. Students will be build a functional prototype of a simple database-backed web application and deploy it to a production internet server. The primary goals of the course are:
  • the key concepts of programming and application development
  • the essentials of the Ruby on Rails web framework
  • the core principles of agile management
This class is recommended for students who plan to start web-based businesses and want to understand what goes into developing an MVP. This class is also recommended for students who want to join start-ups and need to understand the technical aspect of the business in order to communicate with the development team. Students will be expected to have a reliable Mac, Windows, or Linux computer that they can rely on to complete homework and projects (detailed setup instructions will be provided). IMPORTANT: Attendance is part of the grade, and all students are especially expected to attend the first class.

Venture Capital and Private Equity: The Human Element (KIEI-926)
Professor:  William Sutter
This advanced course in private equity focuses on the many interpersonal issues facing the professional investor. Individual psychology and group behavior play a critical role in determining the ultimate success or failure of an investment, yet the human element is often mismanaged or overlooked in favor of financial analysis and market studies. A major portion of this course covers the relationship between the investor and the entrepreneur after the initial financing - motivation and compensation, the role of the board of directors, performance evaluation and accountability. Additional topics include fund-raising, deal negotiation and due diligence investigation. This course is designed for students who are seriously considering a career in the private equity business or who desire a deeper understanding of the investor/entrepreneur relationship. The course builds on the fundamental skills of deal analysis, valuation and negotiation, which are taught with a quantitative emphasis in other private equity or venture capital courses offered at the Kellogg School.