Course Pathways & Descriptions

How to Plot Your Entrepreneurship Course

Our Entrepreneurship, Growth & Scaling and Corporate Innovation programs are designed to meet you wherever you are on your leadership journey. You have the flexibility to take the classes that best support your professional goals, whether that’s launching a venture, joining a startup, growing and scaling an enterprise, or leading innovation within an established organization.

Is Entrepreneurship Really For You?

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Our Entrepreneurship Pathway courses guide students through the process of building and launching startups with lasting value. From identifying a problem to launching a startup, students gain access to real-world entrepreneurs and innovation experts in the classroom and beyond.

Discover. Test. Launch.

The Discover. Test. Launch. courses are designed for students who wish to build and launch a business while pursuing their Kellogg MBA. Students learn to identify a problem and conduct market research in the discovery phase, build a prototype and gain real-world customer feedback in the testing and development phase, and finally turn their product or service into a business in the launch phase.

New Venture Discovery
New Venture Discovery focuses on the initial stages of entrepreneurship – idea generation, team formation and testing key assumptions of a business idea. Students determine if their startup ideas are unique, relevant, profitable and sustainable. At the end of the course students with a credible startup concept are encouraged to proceed to the Test phase by enrolling in New Venture Development.

New Venture Development
Application required
New Venture Development builds upon the discovery phase, providing student entrepreneurs the opportunity to further test, prototype and validate the product-market fit of their startup concept through the refinement of a low fidelity product or service. Much of the work for this course will be completed outside of the classroom as students will test and validate their business model hypotheses by engaging directly with potential customers and industry experts. Upon completion of New Venture Development, student teams and faculty will determine whether a startup will proceed to New Venture Launch.  See the Experiential Learning Courses and Labs page to access the application.

New Venture Launch
Application required
New Venture Launch is an experiential course for students who have startup concepts that have been tested to validate a compelling product-market fit. The course is designed specifically to prepare student entrepreneurs to launch new ventures. The course focuses on fine-tuning the business model, understanding the key drivers of profitable growth, building financial projections, and preparing investor pitches. Students teams are expected to be on a pathway for a beta launch by the completion of the course. Funding is available for teams to purchase a limited amount of services to advance their startups. See the Experiential Learning Courses and Labs page to access the application.

Building Block Courses

Kellogg’s building block courses within the entrepreneurship program provide students with leadership skills that target specific areas of a business or industry.

Entrepreneurial Selling
Selling is a life skill. This course is designed as an adventure of discovery. You will be tested, taught and transformed through a series of lectures, discussions and exercises that are designed to push you up and out of your comfort zone. The biggest challenge to growing a successful entrepreneurial venture is selling. Entrepreneurs must build a strong sales pipeline to ensure profitable growth as they tackle other pressing issues like product development, staffing, infrastructure, and financing. In the Entrepreneurial Selling course, you will learn how to acquire and delight customers, use selling skills in different contexts, manage the entrepreneurial selling process, measure your success and use the key tools required for success in building a company. My goal with this course is to make you as efficient and effective in selling as possible, so that when you are spending time selling, not a moment is wasted. Why? Because as an entrepreneur (and a human), the way you spend your time determines success and failure. Period.

Entrepreneurial Tools for Digital Marketing
Most people agree that the Internet has been the single biggest challenge 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. The Entrepreneurial Tools for Digital Marketing course is based on the framework of the customer relationship funnel, focusing 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 is very hands-on and tactical, providing students with exposure to the basic concepts of UI/UX, A/B testing, conversion funnels, SEO, SEM, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and much more. Students work in groups in practical settings and the course will include guest speakers.

Entrepreneurship: Building Innovation, Teams, and Cultures
Most venture capitalists 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 challenging, especially when facing scarce resources and deep uncertainty. This course explores the factors that define high-functioning teams and offers frameworks for assembling, motivating and coordinating effective teams in highly fluid and challenging contexts. Topics include the psychology of teams, legal aspects to team building, and how to divide responsibility, compensation and equity among founders. Culture is key to sustainable success in the face of evolving needs, crises and opportunities. The course leverages 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.

Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition
There are many paths to entrepreneurship, and one of those paths is through the acquisition of an existing company. This course will highlight aspects of strategy, finance, organizational behavior, marketing and other business disciplines through the context of acquiring and owning a small business. The course will outline pathways to entrepreneurship through acquisition, including search fund, independent sponsor, or through a CEO-in-Training program at a PE firm or a family business. The end goal is ownership of a company in the near future.

Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs
This course equips entrepreneurs with the requisite knowledge to secure and leverage intangible, knowledge-based assets for their business. The course begins with a survey of various intellectual property forms for inventions, original expressions, source identifiers/brands, confidential information, etc., and how they can be used to build a unique selling proposition. Students explore the cost effective paths to registering these intangibles as patents, copyrights, trademarks, or securing 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
This course is geared to provide technical literacy for non-programmers who will be founders, employees, or consultants to "tech-enabled" organizations. This is a survey-style course that is very hands-on – students will learn the essentials of coding by creating websites and basic software applications that manipulate data and work across today’s platforms and devices.

Students will: • Build their own website and deploy it on a variety of platforms, including tablets and mobile devices, using modern web development tools and techniques • Achieve technical literacy with the JavaScript programming language and related open-source technologies, using it to build simple web and mobile applications • Gain exposure to open-source business initiatives from Facebook, Google, and other major contributors to the languages and frameworks shaping modern software development • Learn to manipulate and consume data with SQL and open-source data visualization libraries • Use both software and hardware APIs to integrate with commercial and open datasets, and to understand the current Internet of Things (IoT) landscape.

Startup Branding
There is a big difference between managing an existing brand and launching a new brand. In "Startup Branding," you will learn how to turn ideas into brands, with a specific focus on the importance of early branding decisions in new ventures and brand design execution with limited resources. The course is structured around a multi-week assignment in which student teams will design a new brand for a new venture. Course coverage includes brand strategy, brand design, the brand experience, launching the brand, and leading the brand. The course format is a blend of lecture, exercise, cross-team collaboration and ideation sessions, and guest speakers.

Product Management for Technology Companies: An Entrepreneurial Perspective
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.

Experiential Courses

At Kellogg, we believe entrepreneurship and innovation students should gain real-world experiences while completing their MBA. The experiential courses within the Entrepreneurship program are designed to provide students with the skillset to lead innovation within startups, small businesses or corporations by providing experience working with startups and corporations to develop innovative initiatives.

Launching and Leading Startups
Launching and Leading Startups is a case-driven survey course that examines the day-to-day of an entrepreneurial CEO. Students explore some of the biggest and most challenging topics facing entrepreneurial CEOs, such as how to reduce the risks that are inherent in starting a new business, determine the best go-to-market strategies to gain customer adoption, and execute with precision. The course targets not only entrepreneurs who want to start or buy their own businesses, but also entrepreneurially minded students who seek to work within early-stage startups. Launching and Leading Startups is offered during winter and spring quarters.

Medical Products Financing & Commercialization 
The aim of the Medical Product Commercialization course is to equip students with the requisite tools to assess and improve the attributes of early-stage medical product technologies for optimal commercial impact to ultimately generate investor interest. When analyzing technologies to build sales forecasts and go-to-market strategies, it is important to communicate product value, address perceived challenges, and offer potential solutions to mitigate risk. The course focuses on market research in order to gain insight into user population, customer demand, the competitive landscape, market access, and product exclusivity. Upon gaining these insights, students 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 Innovation: Designing for Change 
This course offers an introduction to the history, theory, structures and emerging databases in social entrepreneurship. Most specifically, students explore social entrepreneurship as a field as well as a mechanism for designing for social problem solving – both in class and through projects. The lab component of this course enables teams of students to work on a social change initiative in partnership with a local organization. The class is intended for students who plan to start, work within, advise or invest in a business designed to make a social impact. Student teams 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.

NUvention Courses

The NUvention courses are interdisciplinary learning experiences offered to undergraduate and graduate students from across Northwestern University via the McCormick School of Engineering’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Startup teams may include business, law, journalism, engineering students and more. Applications are required for these courses. To learn more, visit the course pages on the Farley Center’s website.

NUvention Advanced Materials
NUvention Analytics
NUvention Arts
NUvention Energy
NUvention Medical
NUvention Therapeutics
NUvention Transportation
NUvention Web & Media
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Growth & Scaling

The Growth & Scaling courses provide business leaders of startups, family businesses, middle-market companies and corporations with the skillset to grow and scale a company. The Growth & Scaling courses are taught by faculty from across Kellogg’s departments – marketing, finance, operations, strategy and more.

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Strategies for Growth
Professor: Michael Mazzeo
This course focuses on effectively scaling a business. Because growth is an imperative for many organizations, it is crucial to understand the strategic fundamentals underpinning profitable growth. The course connects frameworks from economics and strategy to the experiences of firms attempting growth initiatives to illustrate why some businesses can scale successfully while others struggle.

Family Enterprises: Issues & Solutions
Professor: Jennifer Pendergrast
This course is intended for those from business-owning families, whether they plan to work in the business or not. Topics range from succession and family dynamics to continuity planning and strategic performance. The course is also appropriate for those who have family foundations, family investment companies, or family offices.

Strategic Decisions in Operations
Professor: Jan A. Van Mieghem
In this course, students learn how operations strategy can add value by tailoring a set of core principles to a specific business setting. The course provides a framework to formulate an operations strategy and analyze, value, and optimize the key decisions involved in operations strategy. The key evaluation metric is how operations strategy impacts the net present value of the firm. The key decisions studied are choosing competitive operational competencies and benchmarking; capacity expansion, timing, flexibility and location; sourcing and contracting; risk management and operational hedging; revenue management; improvement and learning. This course builds on the core operations class. Students should also be familiar with the basics of finance, economics and strategy, as the strategic decisions studied in this course require a detailed analysis and understanding of the underlying operations.

Real Estate Entrepreneurship
Professor: William Michael Bennett
Real Estate Entrepreneurship focuses on creating a framework for successful real estate entrepreneurship through applying theory, analytical tools and cross-disciplinary training. Topics include creating an investment thesis, sourcing opportunities, investment valuation and underwriting, performing due diligence, legal issues, transaction structuring, risk analysis, fundraising closing transactions and asset management.

Omnichannel Experience Strategy
Professor: Jim Lecinski
In a world saturated with new commerce options, consumers and business buyers are radically changing their expectations and behaviors across the entire cycle of learning, shopping, buying, and using products and services. How does a modern business manage its brands across the vast array of new channel models, from brick and mortar showroom stores to e-commerce sites to experiential pop-ups and apps? In this course, students will learn how to structure and manage networks of partners into cohesive, brand-enhancing omnichannel ecosystems that reach end-customers any place and any time, whether through social commerce channels, mobile devices, in-person store environments, platform apps, or product story, photo and video sharing sites. Like the fast-evolving business models we will be studying, this class is both strategic and practical, and most of the situations we will analyze are from real-world developments and managerial problems. The course takes a senior leadership perspective, offering frameworks and analytical tools for effectively moving an organization outside the comfort zone of legacy beliefs and relationships, and into the new omnichannel world.

Entrepreneurial Finance & Venture Capital
Professor: Scott Baker
This course uses the case method to study entrepreneurial finance and venture capital decision focusing on the funding decisions of startups. The goal is to understand how entrepreneurs can raise funds and how venture capital partnerships and growth equity funds choose, value, structure, fund and manage their investments. The course covers all stages of the financing process, from startup to harvest.

Global Entrepreneurial Finance
Professor: Jose Maria Liberti
By nature, this course is a finance course that deals with the entrepreneurial, family and closely-held firms in an international context including both developed and emerging market countries where institutions and property rights are weak. The core question behind the course is this: How do entrepreneurial managers, family firms, closely held firms and those who finance them design and execute transactions that effectively match opportunities and resources in an international context?

Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition
Professor: Alex Schneider
There are many paths to entrepreneurship, and one of those paths is through the acquisition of an existing company. This course will highlight aspects of strategy, finance, organizational behavior, marketing and other business disciplines through the context of acquiring and owning a small business. The course will outline pathways to entrepreneurship through acquisition, including search fund, independent sponsor, or through a CEO-in-Training program at a PE firm or a family business. The end goal is ownership of a company in the near future. The course is organized into sections that summarize the experience of entrepreneurs through distinct phases, including raising capital, the search process and deal structure. These classes augment existing FINC courses.

Business-to-Business (B2B) Marketing
Professor: Eric Berggren
With over half the global economy in Business-to-Business (B2B) markets, consultants, PE professionals and those working directly in industry are highly likely to be competing in a B2B market at some point, and yet most Kellogg marketing courses skew toward consumer marketing examples. B2B purchase decisions are made in complex, high-price/high-risk, multi-stakeholder environments. Today's rapid technological advances are transforming B2B customer value requirements and the business models needed to deliver them. How does one not merely survive in these challenging markets, but succeed? This course provides a practical understanding of four primary B2B marketing processes: choosing, creating, communicating and converting customer value into profit and growth.

Growth strategy Practicum
Professor: Karin O'Connor
While much media hype continues to focus on ‘launching' new ventures, real value is created in actually ‘growing' them. The Growth Strategy Practicum course is targeted at students who wish to develop their business execution skills by working on a real-life project with a growth-stage enterprise, putting their knowledge and skills to work to benefit an existing business. The course will be especially beneficial to students who aspire to: • Join a fast-growing enterprise in a senior management role • Acquire an existing business with a view toward rapid enterprise value growth • Execute growth initiatives in the context of a family-owned business Student teams will be assigned to strategically-important projects with Chicago-area companies and will work with guidance from faculty and selected mentors. Teams will meet with their clients three times (during class sessions) for collaboration, presentation, and feedback. Other class sessions will be devoted to exploration of topics relevant to running a growing business, including strategy, finance, marketing, and team building.
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Corporate Innovation

Driving innovation within a corporation requires creativity, problem-solving and strong communication. At Kellogg, our students work with real-world businesses to develop and design opportunities for innovation.

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Corporate Innovation and New Ventures
Professors: Dean DeBiase, Paul Earle
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.
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Additional Courses & Pathways

Venture Capital & Private Equity Pathway

These classes are designed to help students understand the funding options for startups and how to navigate the complex world of finance.

Full-Time Pathway
Evening & Weekend Pathway

Family Enterprise

Kellogg offers courses designed to support leaders of family businesses.

Learn more

Applications may be required for certain experiential learning and NUvention courses.

Social Impact

Interested in launching a social venture or nonprofit?

Course Catalog

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