Courses

  • The University of Virginia Darden School of Business entrepreneurship courses include case-based, design-intensive and hands-on offerings taught by the nation’s top entrepreneurship faculty, as ranked by Princeton Review/Entrepreneur. Students who choose to concentrate in the area of entrepreneurship will graduate with a set of skills based on academic study and experiential work, which will give them the confidence to start new ventures.

    Our courses challenge students to think about how they can create value and build a productive business organization with available resources (e.g., intelligence, insight, energy, initiative and personal relationships). Entrepreneurship is highly consistent with Darden’s focus on “creating, leading and transforming businesses.”

    Please note that courses change each year.

    List of entrepreneurship and innovation strategy courses 

    Highlighted Courses


    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. 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 Darden’s Progressive Incubator™. Learn more

    Innovation and Design Experience (Parts 1 and 2)

    This elective for Second-Year MBA students examines how design thinking and innovation principles can be used to enhance the value and accelerate the development of business opportunities. Students work closely with a client company with a real problem to solve. Using interdisciplinary tools and in a collaborative, hands-on environment, students explore the value of "design thinking" in its deeper and broader sense — as a fundamental source of value creation in business. Learn more

    Developing New Products and Services (Parts 1 and 2)

    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. 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. 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. Learn more

    Software Design and Development (Parts 1 and 2)


    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). 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.  Learn more

    Effectual Entrepreneurship

    Through a combination of cases and experiential exercises this course brings to students what expert entrepreneurs have learned the hard way. Students will not only learn the five principles of effectual entrepreneurship but also learn to apply these to a variety of situations including different stages of starting and growing a new venture, turning around, growing and leading existing ventures, and solving large problems in the world. Interestingly, one immediate application of effectual reasoning will be to students’ career aspirations irrespective of whether they involve entrepreneurship in the traditional sense of starting a company or not. Learn more


    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.” 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. Learn more