Graduate Courses

What follows is a list of courses related to Entrepreneurship that are offered across Grounds, at the Graduate level:

Courses, by Title

Darden Graduate School of Business

GBUS 7400 Strategic Thinking and Action
GBUS 7609 Entrepreneurial Thinking
GBUS 7610 Creative Capitalism Workshop
GBUS 7611 The Consulting Process
GBUS 8106 Acquisition of Closely Held Enterprises
GBUS 8130 Developing New Products and Services
GBUS 8150 Post Merger Integration
GBUS 8210 Starting New Ventures
GBUS 8230 Management of Smaller Enterprises
GBUS 8290 Venture Capital
GBUS 8060 Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship
GBUS 8280 Introduction to Business Law
GBUS 8305 Strategic Thinking: Integrating East and West
GBUS 8306 Social Responsibility and Entrepreneurship
GBUS 8310 Competitive Dynamics Seminar
GBUS 8403 Leadership & Theatre: Ethics, Innovation & Creativity
GBUS 8427 Entrepreneur as Change Agent
GBUS 8435 Emerging Medical Technologies
GBUS 8453 Entrepreneurial Finance & Private Equity
GBUS 8454 Small-Enterprise Finance
GBUS 8459 Corporate Innovation and Design Experience
GBUS 8459 Innovation and Design Experience
GBUS 8468 Organic Growth: A Challenge for Public Companies
GBUS 8469 Entrepreneurs Taking Action
GBUS 8472 Technology Accelerator Course
GBUS 8484 Creativity and Design Thinking
GBUS 8617 Managing Turnarounds and Workouts
GBUS 8870 Strategy Seminar
GBUS 8930 Negotiations
GBUS 8970 Investigations into the Nature of Strategy
GBUS 9710 Markets in Human Hope
GBUS Darden Venturing Projects

UVA School of Law

Courses, including Description

GBUS 7400 Strategic Thinking and Action

This course develops students’ ability to analyze the organizational and external factors essential for crafting and executing a firm’s strategy for sustained success. The course draws heavily from the key concepts, frameworks, and tools of strategic management. Taking an action orientation, it reinforces and revitalizes the general-management perspective¾the core mission of the school. Because of increasing global interdependence and an ever-shifting business environment, it emphasizes both the dynamics and the global aspects of strategic management. Topics include developing and evaluating strategy, building firm capability and sustaining competitive advantage, analyzing industry evolution and global rivalry, and linking strategy and execution. Course objectives are accomplished through exposure to cases from a range of industries and managerial settings. By providing students with an opportunity to apply analytical skills they learn in various first-year courses, the course fosters an integrative mind-set that will enable MBAs to operate at multiple levels and in different functions in their business careers.

GBUS 7609 Entrepreneurial Thinking

This course is about learning to think and act entrepreneurially in order to create new value in the world through new products, new solutions, new ventures, new business units, new distribution channels, new firms, new business models, new technologies, and business transformation. The emphasis will be on the art and science of “creating something new from little.” The orientation in the course will be to challenge students to think about how they can create, finance, and build, or change a productive business organization with commonly available resources such as intelligence, insight, energy, initiative, and personal relationships. Students will learn to use this orientation wherever new-venture creation may occur namely through the actions of an independent entrepreneur or a large established firm.

GBUS 7611 The Consulting Process

This course introduces students to the consulting process and helps them identify and refine the skill sets necessary for successful consultation. It is designed specifically for students interested in pursuing consulting internships and careers but who do not have significant consulting experience prior to Darden. Approximately half of the course will focus on the cognitive processes involved in framing and designing the engagement: hypothesis generating and testing using a set of video cases that track the work of actual consulting teams as they move through the processes of initiating and completing client projects. The other half will addresses a more tactical set of issues around engagement work planning, data gathering, field interviewing, and communicating with clients. Course content will include the use of cases, written exercises, and a final project presentation. Students will be assigned to a consulting team to work with throughout the course.

GBUS 7610 Creative Capitalism Workshop

The first six to eight sessions of the course examines the process of creating value for multiple stakeholders and focuses on business models that “make a difference” by combining traditional value for financiers with the broader concept of value for stakeholders (including financiers). Students will examine a wide range of cases, Web-based material, articles from the business press, and other so-called social enterprises as well as the conceptual frames of corporate social responsibility, sustainability, triple bottom line, social entrepreneurship with the goal of building their own integrated framework around a company or set of companies. The final six to eight sessions will consist of a practicum for which students will be charged with examining the initial feasibility of a new business idea that rests on the conceptual frames of the course. The final project will be a presentation of this idea to the course faculty. The course is appropriate for students who want to start businesses that are based on the kinds of models discussed in the course and should feed into the business incubator and the entrepreneurship curriculum. To keep the flavor of a workshop, the course is limited to 40 students.

GBUS 8060 Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The purpose of this course is to provide students with practical information on the growing frontier of innovation and entrepreneurial activity at the nexus of business and natural systems. The term “sustainable business” refers to competitively advantageous strategies and practices firms adopt to grow revenues, cut costs, improve market share, enhance brands, and redesign products and processes to reduce or eliminate adverse environmental and health impacts. Students will study trends and science driving the growing demand for clean technology and life cycle product designs. Students will look at drivers of corporate innovation, strategic shifts, and new markets, learn skills to help identify market opportunities, and understand the tools, concepts, and frameworks used by companies currently pursuing sustainable business opportunities. Through the use of articles, technical notes, cases, and guests, the course examines company strategies and practices while providing history and frameworks for context and comprehension.

GBUS 8106 Acquisition of Closely Held Enterprises

This course focuses on the process of acquisition of a business entity. Students will be shown the tools they need and the process to follow to successfully acquire a business of their own. Among the major topics covered will be the search process, assessing and valuing the business, financing consideration, negotiating, and closing the deal. The course may be of interest to those MBA students who are interested in leveraged buyouts, investment banking, venture capital, and other related careers.

GBUS 8130 Developing New Products and Services

This action-oriented course covers the key stages involved in developing a new product or service. The early part of the course focuses on the issue of how to identify untapped customer needs and generate new product or service ideas. Throughout the course, students will learn how firms convert ideas into actual products or services. The learning process will be highly experiential as students work in groups to develop a viable new product or service via a hands-on team project. Each team of students will identify an untapped market need, develop alternative product or service concepts to meet that need, flesh out product concepts through a process of iterative design and prototyping, and examine product economics. Each team will be provided with a budget to spend toward its project on a reimbursement basis. Final working prototypes will be presented at a design fair and judged by a panel of product development practitioners, innovation experts, and members of the University community. Classes will be a mix of case discussions, group exercises, and guest speakers with experience managing development projects. A significant portion of class time will be devoted to project work to help teams complete their development projects.

GBUS 8150 Post Merger Integration

Building on the First Year Strategic Thinking in Action course, which covers mostly business-level strategy, this course addresses two issues in strategy: the role of acquisitions and diversification in corporate strategy and the achievement of merger objectives (usually, synergies) after the deal is done. Students will tackle the challenges and problems most businesses encounter in integrating acquisitions with the understanding that according to research 65% to 85% of most mergers fail. Students also will learn how to distinguish between different types of mergers and to discern the appropriate tools required for integrating two or more separate organizations. By the end of the course, students should be able to contribute to any post-merger-integration-strategy consulting engagement, corporate development activities, and M&A practices. Instruction for the course consists of cases, exercises, and a variety of readings from business and history.

GBUS 8210 Starting New Ventures

The primary objective of the course is to allow students to walk a few steps in the shoes of an entrepreneur while learning how expert entrepreneurs build new ventures that endure. Cases, guest lecturers, and students’ project work will allow them to explore financial, legal, interpersonal, and personal challenges likely to be encountered by the independent entrepreneur. This course draws from cognitive science-based research on how expert entrepreneurs think, decide, and act while starting new ventures. Key issues addressed will include risk perception and management, formulation of innovative stakeholder relationships, and the creation of new markets through new ventures. As part of the course, students will be required to come up with a venture idea and take the initial steps in actually starting it. The course is recommended for those interested in initiating a personal venture at some point in their lives working with or consulting for an early stage entrepreneurial team or seeking entry into the i.Lab Incubator.

GBUS 8230 Management of Smaller Enterprises

This course provides students with an opportunity to understand business opportunities and challenges from the hands-on perspective of the owner/general manager of a smaller enterprise. Although many MBA’s are deciding that they would rather lead in smaller businesses than follow in large ones, by the end of this course they will see that “a smaller business is not a little big business” and that managing a smaller enterprise is an art related to, but substantially different from, managing a large corporation. In the course, students will discover that the issues, challenges, and perspectives differ as much as the numbers in the financials as well as what happens after the start-up or acquisition of a firm. Typical issues addressed are finding a job with a smaller enterprise, the characteristics of the smaller enterprise, creating value as a smaller enterprise CEO, management transitions associated with stages of small business growth, challenges of finding, retaining, and losing employees, special issues and considerations in the family-owned business, franchising as a financing and growth mechanism, import-export operations and international dimensions of small business, ethical challenges of everyday life in the small firm, the balancing act of personal, family, and business realities of the smaller firm, and exiting a venture on your terms.

GBUS 8280 Introduction to Business Law

This course introduces students to selected areas of business law of particular relevance to general managers and their financial advisers, excluding tax law. The focus is less on the substance of particular legal rules, for which managers rely on their legal advisers, and more on the basic tools of legal analysis. This knowledge adds value in two respects. First, it facilitates communication with lawyers and understanding the advice they provide. Second, it demonstrates a way of analyzing problems that is different from, but complementary to, those taught in core business courses. The course begins with an overview of the foundational topics of the American legal system: the law of contracts, property, and torts. It then moves to substantive areas that managers routinely encounter, such as corporate governance, bankruptcy, intellectual property, and antitrust. The course examines the structure of the court systems and legal profession in the United States and provides some comparative analysis of other legal systems. Students learn to read and understand basic primary legal materials and recognize standard analytical techniques.

GBUS 8290 Venture Capital

Many of our most successful entrepreneurial companies have been founded and significantly influenced by professional venture-capital firms. This course focuses on the professional world of venture capitalists and how venture capitalists work with entrepreneurs to create substantial, enduring ventures. The course addresses three topics: how venture-capital firms are formed, funded, and managed; how firms manage their relationships with the limited partners who provide their investment capital; and how the parties work together to build successful major companies.

GBUS 8305 Strategic Thinking: Integrating East and West

This research seminar will help participants understand the strategic concepts and business models underlying Chinese business practices based on knowledge of cultural and institutional differences and comprehend the implications of these differences for enterprise management. Students will be asked to think broadly about global enterprise and enterprise development and develop an integrative perspective that will enable them to conduct business anywhere in the world. Then building on in-depth understanding of Eastern and Western business practices, students will explore a new global enterprise system. Drawing from the instructor’s work on this topic and from participant-led discussion, the course intends to bridge application and scholarship and maximize the students’ learning experience. This format has appealed to students committed to intellectual rigor and practical relevance.

GBUS 8306 Social Responsibility and Entrepreneurship

This course explores the multiple ways that an individual, company, or corporation participates in ventures that impact social and/or environmental issues while simultaneously focusing on financial goals. Through direct dialogue and interaction with guests, students will query, discuss, and argue answers to such questions as: How has the concept and practice of corporate responsibility evolved in recent years? Are social entrepreneurs finding the resources to accomplish their mission in today’s economic environment? Can you do “good” in your business and still make money? How do you to get a responsible program up and running in a corporate environment? How is social responsibility operative in environmental programs, energy development, civil societal issues, and marketing?

GBUS 8310 Competitive Dynamics Seminar

This advanced strategy seminar provides class participants with an integrative framework and specific analytical tools for understanding how firms interact in the marketplace: within an industry, across industries, and beyond national borders. The premise of the course holds that business competition is both dynamic and relative; it is a constant interplay between companies as they juggle market positions by exchanging moves and countermoves, and a firm initiating a competitive move (whether a new product introduction or expansion into a new market, an acquisition bid or a simple price cut) must be prepared to meet counteractions from rivals. Understanding the relative nature of this dynamic process is the key to building and sustaining competitive advantage.

GBUS 8403 Leadership & Theatre: Ethics, Innovation & Creativity

The purpose of this course is to build leadership skills and ethical analysis skills by reading, discussing, and performing dramatic scenes from great plays. The scenes will be chosen for their relevance to both leadership and ethics. The course is built around the conceptual apparatus in Dunham and Freeman (2000) that the task of the theatre director is akin to the task of the CEO. For example, students will examine how directors draw vision from particulars, emphasize good casting or “getting the right people on the bus,” get the best out of their team, and approach work collaboratively. The class will examine theater companies as high-performance teams and attempt to construct such teams throughout the course. The course draws on the expertise of the artistic community in Charlottesville by providing several technical workshops on acting and directing.

GBUS 8427 Entrepreneur as Change Agent

This course examines the entrepreneur as change agent within the evolving economy. Building on the premise that entrepreneurship presents the best contemporary outlet for agents of revolutionary change, students will examine how enterprising individuals create value for themselves and others, across regional, industrial, and social boundaries. This is a course for those whose long-term goals extend beyond creating personal economic gain and involve creating broad-scale value for multiple stakeholders. Although this course does not guarantee that every student will become a change agent or provide a step-by-step path for executing such change, our belief is that the Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia corridor as an intersection of technology, capital providers, government agencies and officials, small and large firms, and universities provides a fertile environment for study. Therefore, the course will be delivered in-residence in the Washington metropolitan area.

GBUS 8435 Emerging Medical Technologies

This course focuses on understanding what it means to advise, do business with, or be involved in the development of` a heavily regulated industry. It is aimed at attracting a group of interested students who believe they will be likely to have banking or consulting clients in the Life Sciences industry or who aspire to take a role in the creation of new enterprises in this sector. In this industry, whether Biotech or Devices, the consumer of products, the patient, does not choose the product, pay for it, or have any say about what products are available. This is a unique environment in which anyone involved needs to have a working knowledge of the philosophy, terminology, and processes their clients, companies, or products will have to follow. The course is not designed to make students regulatory experts but to show them ways to navigate the regulatory pathways and related issues, which impact every phase of the creation and growth of a Life Sciences company. For the most part, students will not examine the issues surrounding the growth of provider or service businesses such as hospitals but instead explore the issues related to businesses built around proprietary technology. Topic samples: the history and evolution of regulation in this country and why it has evolved differently in other countries; cosmetics, cosmeceuticals, and food and how these areas are coming under increasing scrutiny by regulators; how to finance a drug versus a device company; and emerging technologies’ issues. Course content will include cases, class discussions, background reading, guest lectures, and individual and student team projects. Students will have an opportunity to follow an actual company’s evolving strategy.

GBUS 8453 Entrepreneurial Finance & Private Equity

This course explores a comprehensive set of financial situations that arise in high-growth and high-risk enterprises. It focuses primarily on the investment phase of the private equity cycle and examines the investment strategy, valuation, and structure of ventures in their formative stages prior to becoming public companies. A range of enterprises are examined from early stage (venture capital) to late stage (mezzanine financing and buyouts) to provide perspective on how the maturity of an organization influences the nature and structure of financing and valuation. Issues related to the measurement of returns in private equity funds, valuing enterprises at different stages of development, and structuring deals using various forms of financing are covered as well as the analytical methods to better measure performance and value enterprises. Students will examine how each party’s view of the value of the enterprise forms a basis for negotiation upon which the percentage of equity participation and the terms of the contract are determined as well as how the pricing and terms depend not only the deal itself but also upon prevailing market conditions. As private equity firms are either rapidly growing or changing organizations, students will learn that there must be sufficient flexibility and appropriate incentives built into the current round of capital raising and the contract terms to carry the firm through its next stage of development.

GBUS 8454 Small-Enterprise Finance

This course provides participants with experience in the analysis and resolution of financial issues in the context of the smaller enterprise that has no or, at best, limited access to the public capital markets. The course material seldom will deal with high-tech enterprises that are purchased with the intent of rapid resale. On the contrary, it deals with companies operating in the mundane, real world of the typical small-enterprise owner who needs sales to meet the payroll, wisely uses limited capital resources, carefully raises new funds, and must plan for the ultimate transfer of the business to new owners. The latter problem is unique to the small, privately held business. In addition to considering typical issues of asset management, including acquisitions and dispositions, the course will cover topics such as working-capital management, selecting funding sources and structuring loans, project finance, creating liquidity, and transferring the business to the next generation or selling it. The tools required for this course were introduced in First Year Financial Management and Policies; emphasis will be on applying those tools in the small-enterprise context.

GBUS 8459 Innovation and Design Experience

The course examines how design thinking and innovation principles can be used to enhance the value and accelerate the development of business opportunities that deliver organic growth. Students will apply design methodologies and innovation tools in a live, corporate project, working closely with a client company with a real problem to solve. Course topics, class sessions, team meetings with clients’ project liaisons, and project work will be structured and sequenced as a practicum in which each student team applies the course concepts and tools to design and build new business ideas and models for its client organization. At the conclusion of the course, each team will present its plans to both faculty and clients. Corporate-innovation projects will be aimed at providing market/user insights, deep-concept thinking, and rationales for specific recommendations on innovation opportunities of significant economic value to the client organization. The Darden School’s Batten Institute will facilitate the identification of appropriate student projects through a network of corporate relationships. A team of three to five students will undertake each project, and teams, under the supervision of the course faculty, will be assisted by one or more project liaisons from the client organization. Students will study business-model-innovation success stories emerging from recent research in organic growth, and they will learn how to employ a business-design framework that includes: identifying new business opportunities based on market needs; designing and testing breakthrough concepts; and developing a viable business strategy and multifunctional operating model. Specific topics to be studied will include market-driven design, ethnographic research methods, idea generation, hypothesis development and testing, prototyping and experimentation, concept visualization, and business-model design.

GBUS 8469 Entrepreneurs Taking Action

This course focuses on the challenges entrepreneurs face in building ventures. Its purpose is to present students with a series of diverse management situations faced by entrepreneurs with companies at different stages of development. In each class, students will hear from and interact with experienced entrepreneurs and learn both from their successes and their failures. Emphasis will be on the complexity and scope of the challenges that entrepreneurs face, the critical decisions they make, and the actions they take. Also, in each class, students will be asked to develop a plan of action and to outline the steps needed to implement their plans. Recognizing that entrepreneurs must have an enterprise-wide perspective, the course will expose students to situations common to managers in larger organizations who have to contend with the constraints and limited resources of entrepreneurial businesses. When deciding how to take action, students are expected to use the multidisciplinary management tools and tried and true management philosophies they have internalized in their MBA education. Similar to GBUS 8400 General Managers Taking Action, this course requires students to capitalize on their entire Darden experience and polish their enterprise perspective.

GBUS 8472 Technology Accelerator Course

In this course, students can master the process of adapting technology to the needs of the market and developing an actionable strategy. Students will learn the integrative skills necessary to do a startup even if they are not prepared to commit to the Incubator. The course will also allow students who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs after graduation but are not yet committed to an idea to identify attractive opportunities and explore the possibility of undertaking a startup. Students are given the opportunity to experience firsthand the process of finding and validating a market need, to search for optimal/implementable technology solutions, to assess the possible funding strategies and to develop an implementation plan. Students from Darden and potentially those from other UVA schools will come together to identify market needs, find technologies (in the broad sense of the term and not just IT) appropriate to address those needs, and develop a business plan. The course will develop in four phases: identify market need, identify technologies that can be applied to address those needs, prioritize which combination of needs and technologies are most implementable and quickest to market, and develop a business plan with emphasis on identifying next steps and the critical path to commercialization.

GBUS 8484 Creativity and Design Thinking

The focus of this course is on design thinking, a particular problem-solving approach that emphasizes customer empathy, invention, optionality, and iteration as its core components. Design thinking is concerned with the creative side of strategic thinking and complements the more analytical strategic orientation that emphasizes quantitative methodologies, evaluation frameworks, and the assessment of a single solution to a strategic problem. The course is oriented around a model of a staged problem-solving process that asks the questions: what is, what if, what wows, and what works. Each of these stages incorporates selected tools developed by design consultancies (with IDEO being the most prominent) to accelerate the pace, quantity, and quality of the innovative ideas produced. A final tool, visualization, spans all four stages, and a series of project management aids (design brief, criteria, napkin pitch, and learning guide) are incorporated to manage the process culminating in a final student deliverable applying the process to a hypothetical area of opportunity for a business of students’ choosing. This course is a nonproject-based version of GBUS 8459, the Corporate Innovation and Design Experience.

GBUS 8617 Managing Turnarounds and Workouts

This course is intended for those desiring a deeper understanding of the problems of effecting turnarounds (restructurings) and workouts (resuscitations) than is available in other courses that briefly treat these matters. The course is structured to be relevant to those planning to work in marketing, operations, general management, smaller enterprises, and new ventures as well as those seeking a career as a workout specialist. It will not qualify participants as experts in legal and tax niceties and is not designed to help identify undervalued turnaround opportunities. It is not a course in vulture finance. The course focuses more on the causes and warning signs of trouble, on what can be done to protect and restore a company’s health, and on dealing with the aggrieved financial sources that are inevitably but unwillingly involved. The complexity of major turnarounds and workouts requires that the course material deal primarily with smaller companies and exclusively with U.S. companies.

GBUS 8870 Strategy Seminar

This course helps students become conversant with contemporary issues in the field of strategic management both in theory and practice. It covers selected strategy topics in depth that are chosen from three areas: First Year Strategy, current practice and issues, and current research in strategy and related fields of economics and organizational sociology. Four streams of literature will be discussed: organizational economics, resource-based/dynamic-capabilities view of the firm, business psychology, and business sociology. The course will allow students to become more conversant with relevant current issues in strategic thinking and the practice of strategy and to treat ideas in greater depth and rigor than possible in a traditional case course. Through this dialogue, students will sharpen their strategic thinking abilities and instincts. The course content will consist of a variety of readings from books, management and academic journals, and working papers. Class meets once a week, and the reading load is extensive. Grading will be based on class participation, weekly one-page papers, and a final essay.

GBUS 8930 Negotiations

This course focuses on two-party negotiations in a wide variety of settings ranging from simple buyer-seller bargains to complex, multi-issue strategic relationships. Most class sessions revolve around the results of negotiations between class members that are conducted prior to class, as preparation for the session. The results of these negotiations are displayed each day and provide an opportunity for explicit feedback on each student’s negotiating performance. Class discussion reviews the wide variety of experiences in the specific negotiation and develops and tests hypotheses regarding effective behaviors, tactics, and strategies. The resulting ideas are reinforced and further developed through a series of weekly readings. Finally, the course offers several frameworks for codifying each student’s negotiation toolkit and for describing each student’s negotiation behavior.

GBUS 8970 Investigations into the Nature of Strategy

This course is intended for the student whose interest in strategy is intense and who would like to understand and practice strategy as an art. It is based on the logic to be established in class that developing strategy cannot be a deterministic, linear process. Students will discover that the reasons why strategy cannot be a “positive doctrine” form the pillars for its proper understanding. The course relies heavily on reading material from fields that at first may not seem directly related such as biology, military strategy, history, game theory, and games. The course is conducted in the manner of a seminar.

GBUS 9710 Markets in Human Hope

This course is intended for graduate students in business, economics, law, and political science. Students will explore the feasibility of constructing financial markets for firms in the social sector as well as capital markets in countries and regions where they do not currently exist. Both theoretical and practical aspects including the design and development of new accounting measures, new financial instruments, regulatory requirements for new organizational forms, and entrepreneurial drivers of new markets in the social sector are considered. The course is divided into four major parts, each of which will be examined both from the supply side (the investor’s perspective) and from the demand side (the entrepreneur’s viewpoint). The course format is for graduate seminars to meet every other week through Q3 and Q4 with supervised data collection in between.

GBUS Darden Consulting/Venturing Projects

For 3.0 credit hours (120 working hours) Fall For 3.0 credit hours (120 working hours) Spring For 1.5 credit hours (60 working hours) Q1, Q2, Q3, or Q4 This course is intended to provide students with an opportunity to work closely with a faculty adviser to produce a case study of a real business situation. Students may already have a case setting in mind or may call upon their faculty supervisor for an introduction to the setting for a case. After the identification of a cooperating business or not-for-profit organization, students conduct field interviews with executives of the subject organization to understand the issues to be addressed in the case study. Students then prepare a draft of the case giving special attention to identifying the principal issue or issues to be included and submit the draft to the sponsoring organization, which certifies the accuracy of the facts in the case. Students are encouraged to prepare case studies that require significant decisions as they are more effective classroom instruments and challenge students to define carefully the prevalent issues, consider all possible alternative actions, and then recommend a plan of action for the company’s management. After receiving approval of the cases facts from the sponsoring organization, students will prepare an analysis of the case, carefully noting the issues, alternatives, and a recommended plan of action.