Why is the course valuable to entrepreneurial students?
The course is not just for people who want to start a business, but it may be especially valuable for entrepreneurially-minded students. In AEM 3250, the participants go through a business planning process, identifying an opportunity, seeking market validation, understanding the industry and competitive landscape, outlining a defensible business strategy, thinking through the branding and marketing approach, identifying the operational aspects that are key to success, and building a financial model. Finally, students learn to present (in writing and in person) a believable “pitch.” This process is helpful to anyone headed to any job/career because in most environments it is very useful to have the ability to identify and evaluate opportunities, seek solutions and convince others of your approach.
What kind of students should/should not take this course?
The course involves a semester-long, intense, team project. Accordingly, it is not ideal for anyone taking a very heavy course load or who is deeply involved in travel (e.g., sports, interviews). In addition, if someone knows that they tend to be a bit of a “free rider” in project settings should not take the course. If someone wants a lecture-based, exam-oriented course, this is not the course for him/her. Finally, participants who have no accounting knowledge/experience should avoid the course as they will not be comfortable during the part of the course were we build the financial model.
What are the challenges associated with taking this course?
Teams in this course are formed early on in the semester. As a result, one of the challenges is to bond and work with a group of new individuals. The course also has a very hands-on approach to everything, so a challenge for some students is to get out the comfort zone of simply emailing things and looking everything up online and do some valid conversations either on the phone or face-to-face. The online platform we use makes assembling the plan quite easy, but the financial model would be a challenge to anyone without accounting background.
Other points the professor wants to share about the course.
AEM 3250 is a rare opportunity to get into the nitty gritty aspects of business planning. We have a great team put together as business mentors and a great lineup of outside experts to help with the process.