HADM 4211 – Entrepreneurial Finance – Fleming
Comments from Professor Fleming:
I think that the course is valuable to entrepreneurial students because of the content which is taught and because of the WAY in which the course is taught. In the class, we cover in reasonable depth many of the financially-related topics that any aspiring entrepreneur should know, including how to build pro forma financial projections; how to think about what makes a GOOD business model and how to design one; how to manage cash in a start-up that has limited resources; what kinds of financing a startup should consider and which types are best for the business at what point in its life cycle; what are typical financing terms when you raise money from a venture capitalist and the ins and outs of doing an IPO. Beyond the content, I teach the class in a very interactive and entrepreneurial way where there are not always clear answers and where THINKING is the main skill you need to develop. This includes a multi-part “design a business model” exercise, a computer simulation on managing cash, and discussion of 8 real world case studies. In other words, to a high degree, you get to learn by DOING.
What kind of students should not take this course?
Students that want to simply sit back and watch the class happen should NOT take this class. The class requires attendance, participation and engagement. It also requires students to tolerate ambiguity and experimentation, and to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them in a fun but intense environment. Student that do NOT have at least working knowledge of financial statements should also not take the course…until they have gotten that knowledge through coursework or self-learning.
What are the challenges associated with taking this course?
For students that are shy or afraid to speak up in class, this course can be challenging as participation and discussion are a bit part of the course. However, I would particularly ENCOURAGE these students to TAKE the course as we can together work through those fears and they will learn from the experience. Other students find it challenging that the assignments involve case write-ups where there is not a clear list of instructions. In other words, you can’t just memorize stuff in this class and spit it back. For other challenges…I suggest you talk to students that have taken the course in the past. The class is half graduate students and half undergrad – and YES, the undergrads do just fine in keeping up with the grad students.