Thinking about Business in your College days? (try these best courses)
College time is what we love & cherish it in our memories for the lifelong period. Exactly, it is the very same time when some geniuses started venturing into their dreams, passions and gain some valuable life-learnings from there.
When it comes to starting a company in college, there are generally two types of student founders: those who spin out a company from a project-based class; and others who design their course load to advance and launch a project they’re already building.
Certain universities have a strong legacy of breeding entrepreneurs-- Harvard's Facebook, Stanford's Snap, The University of Chicago's GrubHub, and The University of Pennsylvania's Warby Parker. If you’re looking for the next big startup, here are the classes the founder's probably taking on campus:
One of Harvard Business School's foundational courses, FIELD is a case study-based course that helps students adopt a founder mindset. From there, the most entrepreneurial students often take FieldX, a project-based course where small teams develop and grow an actual business during their second year. These classes have spawned companies like Rent The Runway, Alfred, and Catalant, and, more recently, companies like Lovepop, Freebird, and Noken.
Taught by Bill Aulet, Managing Director of MIT's Entrepreneurship Center and a serial entrepreneur himself, New Enterprises is where most MIT Sloan businesses get their start. “We not only study entrepreneurs, we become entrepreneurs” reads the course description. These courses have produced some of MIT's most notable companies including Hubspot and PillPack and newer ones like Humonand Mayflower Venues.
Tufts' entrepreneurial culture has matured significantly over the past few years: The Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies minor (dubbed ELS by students) is now the university's most popular minor and the number of companies working from The Tufts Venture Lab nearly doubled last year alone. Taught by Mark Ranalli, the associate dean and executive director of the Tufts Gordon Institute, Launching the Venture requires course students to either start a new business based on a business plan, or consult at an actual start-up. This is where Tufts-born Acenna got its start.
The University of Chicago has emerged an unexpected entrepreneurship hub with startups like GrubHub and Braintree getting their start on campus. One course, in particular, has a legacy of breeding entrepreneurs: Special Topics in Entrepreneurship: Developing a New Venture. This course is designed to help student teams develop their own business plans and work with venture capitalists, investors, and entrepreneurs. More recent UChicago-born companies include Mighty and Explorer Surgical.
Founded in 2012, Cornell Tech is Cornell University's new technology-focused graduate school in New York City. While they're new to the scene, they've quickly gained a reputation for being one of the country's most entrepreneurial campuses: their roster of faculty includes former Twitter CTO Greg Pass, who joined as the university's founding CEO, and startup investor David Tisch, who teaches the campus' signature entrepreneurship class called Startup Studio. Startup Studio teams up groups of students to develop, prototype, test, and pitch an idea, and is a gateway for the university's Startup Awards, which provide funding for startups each year. Startup Studio-born Datalog, Nanit, and Uru have already caught investor attention.
Perhaps it's Brown's Open Curriculum, which does away with distribution requirements and core curriculum that its peer institutions require, that has enabled such creative companies like TeeSpring to emerge on campus. So where do aspiring founders turn to get started? The Engineering School's Entrepreneurial Process class is where more recent companies including Daycation, Speechify, and Spotter were born. CS Startup, a course where teams apply to receive funding.
At Harvard, David Malan's well-known Introduction to Computer Science course is where most technical founders get their start. After that, Paul Bottino's Startup RAD provides a dedicated experience "that helps students, act, think, and feel like a startup founder by practicing within a community of their peers, and researching and developing a new idea amidst peer and coach feedback.” Startup RAD was a launching ground for companies such as Newsle, Mark43, and more recently, Meetingbird.
Ask any Princeton student entrepreneur–or any student for that matter–and they'll tell you High Tech Entrepreneurship is the course to take. The course is taught by Professor Chris Kuenne, a serial entrepreneur himself. Before getting into teaching, Kuenne ran Johnson & Johnson's $1B TYLENOL franchise and sold his own digital marketing company to Publicis Groupe for $575M. In this course, students launch and commercialize a company, while learning from guest speakers, HBS case studies, and field assignments. One final assignment involves connecting with a seed stage company and designing their Series A pitch deck. Artsy's Carter Cleveland and Meetingbird's Paul Dornier are among this course's alumni.
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