Choose Your Entrepreneurship Flavor

Fuqua students have many opportunities to learn entrepreneurship by doing, and to practice innovation. While some students are ready now to launch a new venture, the majority of students will use their entrepreneurial mindset delivering innovation at existing firms, or evaluating and financing entrepreneurs. Still other students seek to buy an existing business and grow it. I&E has prepared summaries of recommended courses, co-curricular activities, and communities students may join, all tailored to this variety of career interests. Learn & Engage

The courses in the Duke MBA curriculum that help students cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset may be organized in two categories: experiential courses and case-based courses. In experiential courses, students learn by doing, working on actual business problems under the guidance of faculty. The case-based courses I&E recommends are either entrepreneurship-centered classes or classes which will complement your entrepreneurship studies while not necessarily focused on entrepreneurship. All of these courses are listed below.

NEW Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (Independent Study, offered Fall 2) – Interested in becoming an entrepreneur but don’t have an idea for a startup? This course is for you. This class introduces students to Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA), the process of becoming an entrepreneur by buying an existing business.  Students will cover the entire process, beginning with exploring different funding models for ETA, conducting a search, negotiating a purchase transaction, the first 100 days on the job, and exiting a successful business. Class will include a mix of background reading, case discussion, meetings with guest speakers, and industry analysis. The course includes a final project that identifies a candidate industry or geography for a targeted search, or else identifies a candidate acquisition target and potential deal structure. You can learn more about the course here.

See also: Entrepreneurship through Acquisition backgrounders and videos

Experiential Courses

  • New Ventures: Discover (Strategy 848) – Want to know where good ideas come from? New Ventures: Discover is designed to lead you to a eureka moment by teaching you how to explore the world around you for problems worth solving. Instead of jumping directly into problem solving and solution development—which can often be wasteful without a clear understanding of a given market and customer need—New Ventures Discover focuses on research, exploration, and discovery. It asks students to set aside pre-conceived notions, avoiding some of their own blind spots, in order to do the necessary work of collecting data about market and learning to assess it as objectively as possible. The New Ventures: Discover course is ideal for anyone who wants to excel at finding white space for new innovation and entrepreneurial action.
  • New Ventures: Develop (Strategy 849/850) – Have an idea for a problem you want to solve or want to design a business model around someone else’s problem? New Ventures: Develop will lead you through the process of understanding whether an idea has teeth and if it is a business worth doing. You will learn to assess opportunities, develop and test business models, understand your financials, and build a successful team. If you have an idea that you’ve validated through New Ventures: Discover or through your independent customer discovery process, New Ventures: Develop can help you move from idea to action. If you want the experience of designing a business model but don’t have your own idea, there will be an opportunity to form teams around ideas sourced from across the University. New Ventures: Develop is the ideal course for anyone who wants to learn how to assess and build new business models.
    • Apply here to be a founder (you’ll have a team working on your startup).
    • Sign up here to join a team in the course working on startups in edtech, cleantech, consumer products, international social enterprise, and beyond.
  • New Ventures: Deliver (Strategy 851/852) – Did your idea pass muster in New Ventures: Develop? Do you have early revenue or evidence of product market fit and want to continue to refine your go to market strategy? New Ventures: Deliver is the ideal course for serious entrepreneurs ready to push themselves to take the leap. In this course you will continue to test core hypothesis while you develop a milestone driven plan for go-to-market, sales, staffing, and fundraising.
  • Mentored Study in Entrepreneurship x CEI (Strategy 895) – Students may work with an experienced mentor on a critical project, including an entrepreneurial search.
  • Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum (FCCP) x CEI (Strategy 895) – Through the FCCP program, you can engage in an extended consulting project over the course of a semester, working on a matter of strategic importance to an outside organization. Collaborators may include corporate innovation groups, start-ups, and venture capital firms. Clients and projects vary year to year.
  • Commercializing Climate Technologies (I&E 712) – Want to get hands-on startup experience while you help tackle the climate crisis? In Commercializing Climate Technologies, you’ll work in an interdisciplinary team from across Duke to analyze various new ventures in climate and clean tech. Your team will choose one venture as a client to support with customer research, business model development, and a sustainable growth strategy that will serve as the company’s first operating plan. MBA students can apply for the course here.
  • Commercializing Healthcare Technologies – Want to bring promising healthcare research from labs to patients? Get course credit and valuable hands-on experience with a healthcare venture in Commercializing Healthcare Technologies. Alongside an interdisciplinary team, you’ll work on a commercialization plan for technologies developed here at Duke—pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and medical devices. In most cases you’ll be defining a plan for the startup that licenses the technology from Duke, but other strategies are also available, such as not-for-profit. You and your team will work closely with Duke’s Office of Translation & Commercialization, gain access to scientists and inventors, and benefit from academic and business mentors. 

Entrepreneurship-Centered Case-Based Courses

  • Entrepreneurial Execution/Planning (Strategy 845)
  • Entrepreneurial Strategy (Strategy 838)
  • Entrepreneurial Finance (Finance 651)
  • Venture Capital and Private Equity (Finance 660)
  • Managerial Accounting (Accounting 591)
  • Real Estate Entrepreneurship (Finance 662)
  • Marketing of Innovations (Marketing 802)

Case-Based Courses to Round Out Your Skills

  • Leadership (Management 747)
  • Negotiations (Management 745)
  • Consumer Behavior (Marketing 738)
  • Market Research (Marketing 796)
  • Social Entrepreneurship (Management 750)
  • Medical Device Strategy (Health Management 712)
  • Corporate Finance (Finance 646)
  • Impact Investing (Management 898)
  • Human Assets (Management 748)
  • New Ventures Clinic: Healthcare (Management 898)
  • Managing Innovation in a Global Organization (Management 738)
  • Raising Capital and Financial Technologies (Finance 661)

Concentration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation concentration enables students to gain skills and practice in identifying opportunities, harnessing key resources, developing go-to-market strategies and managing operations, change and growth. The concentration offers a broad set of electives to deliver training in the critical success factors for starting a new venture.

Daytime MBA – Entrepreneurship and Innovation Concentration

EMBA concentration

I&E Certificate

Through this experiential Certificate program, aspiring innovators, entrepreneurs, and founders from across Duke’s graduate and professional programs can enhance their primary course of study.