Curricular Programs

We offer undergraduate and graduate programs for the aspiring entrepreneur.

Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Concentration

Required

BUAD 443 - Entrepreneurial Ventures

Entrepreneurial Ventures focuses on the issues, decisions, and problems faced by entrepreneurial owners and innovators who wish to create and manage new or smaller enterprises, family businesses, technology based enterprises or franchises. Students will develop the knowledge and skill sets relevant for the creation, operations and ultimate success of the venture based on enterprise.

Electives (Choose at least two)

BUAD 441 - Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurs create innovative and sustainable solutions to critical social and environmental challenges, using strategies from business. This course integrates the concepts of social responsibility, sustainable business, nonprofit and for-profit management, and concepts of social responsibility, sustainable business, nonprofit and for-profit management, and consulting practice by applying these frameworks to specific issues in domestic and international contexts.

BUAD 444 - Entrepreneurship Consulting (I)

Students will work with real business organizations as consultants under the guidance of the Entrepreneurship Center. This opportunity will involve students in many phases of problem solving and organizational development in launching entrepreneurial ventures. Students will work in teams to address challenges requiring independent analysis and interdisciplinary thinking, while also developing analytical thinking, interpersonal, and communication skills. The course will involve field work and independent research on project(s) that extend across the fall and spring semesters, so students must enroll in both semesters.

BUAD 445 - Entrepreneurship Consulting (II)

Students will work with real business organizations as consultants under the guidance of the Entrepreneurship Center. This opportunity will involve students in many phases of problem solving and organizational development in launching entrepreneurial ventures. Students will work in teams to address challenges requiring independent analysis and interdisciplinary thinking, while also developing analytical thinking, interpersonal, and communication skills. The course will involve field work and independent research on project(s) that extend across the fall and spring semesters, so students must enroll in both semesters.

BUAD 451 - Customer Insights for Innovation

Many business opportunities and decisions depend on an understanding of customers’ values, needs, aspirations and behaviors. These unique insights inform the development of products, services, and brands that are valued by customers and differentiated from competition. This course will be an immersive and experiential introduction to customer insights research, including fieldwork using a variety of qualitative research methods. In addition, these methods will be applied within the context of generating concepts for new products and services that address the insights identified.

BUAD 453 - Sustainability Inspired Innovation and Design

Many companies are embracing sustainability as the inspiration and impetus for the next wave of product and service innovation. In this course, we will explore the reasons behind this growing interest in sustainability, what sustainability means to consumers, and the opportunities it presents to companies that want to “do well while doing good”. This course will also emphasize the process and outcome of product and service innovation, from creative idea generation to concept evaluation. Specifically, students will gain significant hands-on experience with the tools and techniques of “Design Thinking” in a studio setting, with a focus on developing innovative ideas that promote the principles of sustainability.

BUAD 474 - Negotiation

This course introduces students to the art and science of negotiation through the study of well-documented historical negotiations, personal experience with live negotiations exercises, and the study of game theory. Students will focus on understanding the games that underlie most negotiations and developing the analytical tools and techniques required in negotiation.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Minor at W&M

Foundation

Introduction to Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This course exposes students to fundamental innovation and entrepreneurship frameworks and mindsets.

BUAD 451 - Customer Insights for Innovation

Many business opportunities and decisions depend on an understanding of customers’ values, needs, aspirations and behaviors.  Even more important for an individual company is gaining unique insights into their customers so that they can develop products, services and brands that are differentiated from competition.  The research conducted to identify these unique insights can be challenging since, by definition, new insights are initially unknown and cannot, therefore, simply be validated with traditional marketing surveys.  Fortunately, many methods have been developed over the last few decades to enable the discovery of new customer insights.  These qualitative research methods include contextual inquiry, in-depth interviews, focus groups and netnography.   This course is an immersive and experiential introduction to customer insights research methods, addressing both data collection and synthesis.  In addition, these methods will be applied to the challenge of defining concepts for new products and services that address the insights identified.

BUAD 443 - Entrepreneurial Ventures

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, business model design, and the financing of entrepreneurial ventures. This course features hands-on learning experiences through a founder speaker series, practitioner-led workshops, and entrepreneurial ecosystem visits. Students will get hands-on instruction on the use of specific tools and methodologies. Students may also participate in immersive visits to locations* in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem including venture capital firms, startup accelerators, and startups.

*Some of the immersive experiences, including the ecosystem visits will extend beyond the class time and are not required.

**Course satisfies one of the requirements for the following concentrations:
Innovation & Design
Entrepreneurship

Tools & Methods

BUAD 492 - Private Equity & Venture Capital (Financing Entrepreneurial Ventures)

Covers the essential principles of the risks and rewards associated with Private Equity and Venture Capital. Financial analysis of a business and risk/return characteristics, business valuation methods, and the financing sources are covered to better understand the required returns to risk investors. Other topics include: fundraising, early stage, middle stage, and ultimately late stage investments; buyouts and exit strategies; the structuring of the “deal”; the creation of term sheets, negotiation strategies, and human capital and resources.

BUAD 457 - Creative Problem Solving

We have designed the course to be radically interdisciplinary.  Over the course of the semester, you will be exposed to academics and practitioners from widely divergent fields.  Each will share with you the creative problems that they face, and how they are tackling them… or perhaps, challenge you to tackle them.  By reflecting on what they have to offer, you’ll improve your ability to think divergently… a critical precursor to creativity.  We are engaging our speakers opportunistically, when they’re available.  Because of that, we won’t have a structured daily schedule, and you should expect last-minute changes.  What you will have is a structured process for capturing your daily experiences, reflecting on them, comparing your take-aways with others, and synthesizing them into a broader understanding of the creative problem-solving process, a wider range of “lenses” for viewing situations, and new tools for approaching complex, ambiguous challenges.

APSC 251 - Introduction to Engineering Design

This experiential engineering design course will expose students to fundamental engineering concepts and tools.

Marketing Intelligence

This course will explore predictive models and analytics for a variety of business contexts.

ART 211 - Drawing and Color

Provides introduction to visual expression, incorporating projects in drawing, color and design as they function two-dimensionally.

2D + 3D Prototyping and Visualization

This course will explore prototyping methods and tools used to render an idea into physical form.

Makerspace Tutorials

This course will expose students to the tools and methods used in the various makerspaces across campus.

BUAD 492 - Design as Marketing Strategy

This course considers the relationship between theories and practice in the two very different realms of business strategy and design. The course focuses on analyzing complex information, developing and exploring alternative solutions, and prototyping future innovations and scenarios. Visual and other design techniques and tools are added to the traditional strategic toolbox to bring new insights into new venture strategy, competitive strategy, marketing strategy and tactics, decision sciences, entrepreneurship, business plan writing, and innovation.

Area-Relevant Applied Capstone

BUAD 453 - Sustainability Inspired Design & Innovation

Many companies are embracing sustainability as the inspiration and impetus for the next wave of product and service innovation. In this course, we’ll explore the reasons behind this growing interest in sustainability, what sustainability means to consumers, and the opportunities it presents to companies that want to “do well while doing good”. This course will also emphasize the process and outcome of product and service innovation, from creative idea generation to concept evaluation. Specifically, students will gain significant hands-on experience with the tools and techniques of “Design Thinking” in a studio setting, with a focus on developing innovative ideas that promote the principles of sustainability.

CSCI 420 - Entrepreneurship & Computer Science

General approaches in entrepreneurship towards launching a startup company including design thinking, customer development, and agile management are combined with agile software development to develop a minimum viable software product.

PHYS 482 - Topics in Physics: NASA Lab 77: Agile Innovation

By the end of the semester we will have evaluated a novel solution to a relevant problem within NASA’s mission, developed a prototype, identified project stakeholders, figured out what’s really important for success.

GOVT 390 / INRL 390 - Topics in Government: Policy Entrepreneurship

Students will learn how to identify policy windows, and pitch and launch a policy-relevant “research start-up”.

Innovation Consulting Practicum

This course provides students with the opportunity to apply design thinking methods on real projects for clients.

Graduate Courses at W&M

BUAD 598 - CAM - Entrepreneurship

This hands-­on course provides real world, experiential learning about how scalable startups are built. The focus of this course is not how to write a business plan. Rather, it is designed to be more of a practical course – essentially a startup lab with a focus on entrepreneurial thinking and business creation.

You will work in teams learning how to turn a great idea into a great company. You’ll learn how to use a business model to brainstorm each part of a company and customer development to validate your model and to see whether anyone other than you would want/use your product.

You will get your hands dirty talking to customers, partners, competitors, as you encounter the chaos and uncertainty of the early stages of a startup. The goal, within the constraints of a classroom and a limited amount of time, is to create an entrepreneurial experience with all of the pressures and demands of a startup.

Finally, based on the customer and market feedback you gathered, you will rapidly iterate your product to build something customers would actually use and buy. Each week you will test each part of your business model outside of the classroom and share your knowledge/insight gained with the rest of the class.

BUAD 595 - Creative Problem Solving

We have designed the course to be radically interdisciplinary.  Over the course of the semester, you will be exposed to academics and practitioners from widely divergent fields.  Each will share with you the creative problems that they face, and how they are tackling them… or perhaps, challenge you to tackle them.  By reflecting on what they have to offer, you’ll improve your ability to think divergently… a critical precursor to creativity.  We are engaging our speakers opportunistically, when they’re available.  Because of that, we won’t have a structured daily schedule, and you should expect last-minute changes.  What you will have is a structured process for capturing your daily experiences, reflecting on them, comparing your take-aways with others, and synthesizing them into a broader understanding of the creative problem-solving process, a wider range of “lenses” for viewing situations, and new tools for approaching complex, ambiguous challenges.

BUAD 595 - Introduction to Design Thinking

This course provides a hands-on introduction to Design Thinking methodologies and encourages students to immediately put them into practice. Students will gain an understanding of the core principles of Design Thinking and be able to put them to use within their own organizations. Design Thinking is a systematic, iterative, human-centered approach to solving tough, real-world problems that are often ill-defined and stubbornly immune to traditional problem solving approaches. Design Thinking is a methodology for generating innovative solutions that are at the intersection of people’s needs, technological feasibility, and business viability. You don’t have to be a designer to be a design thinker. Design Thinking tools allow people who are not trained as designers to creatively tackle a wide range of challenges.

BUAD 6881 - Private Equity & Venture Capital

Covers the essential principles of the risks and rewards associated with Private Equity and Venture Capital. Financial analysis of a business and risk/return characteristics, business valuation methods, and the financing sources are covered to better understand the required returns to risk investors. Other topics include: fundraising, early stage, middle stage, and ultimately late stage investments; buyouts and exit strategies; the structuring of the “deal”; the creation of term sheets, negotiation strategies, and human capital and resources.