Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Strategy

Entrepreneurship

Darden has been recognized as having one of the leading entrepreneurship programs among all graduate business schools. As part of the required curriculum, strategy lays the foundation for a deeper understanding of corporate and entrepreneurial success.

The School offers more than 25 electives in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation and strategy, and 70% of MBA students take entrepreneurship courses while at Darden.

Darden also encourages students to be innovative and to start new ventures through a variety of entrepreneurial activities — students may choose to enter any of four major entrepreneurial competitions, participate in the Venture Capital and E-Boot Camps, and join the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club. The i.Lab Incubator also provides $13,000 in funding and resources for students to launch ventures at Darden. Click on the "Club & Events" tab below to learn more about these opportunities.

Courses

Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Strategy: Required

Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Strategy: Electives

Presentations of Electives

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship at Darden is about “applied business innovation”: how to create new value not only through new products or services, but with novel technologies, business concepts, organizing structures, transaction/financing mechanisms, distribution channels, and market segmentation. This selection of courses emphasizes the art and science of “creating something new from little.” These courses challenge students to think about how one 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” insofar as it is a vital ingredient of each.

Primary Courses
Related Courses

Strategy

Elective Offerings

*Courses offered in the First and Second Year. All other courses are offered only in the Second Year

 

Please note: courses are subject to change each year. Consult the course directory for the most up-to-date course offerings.

Concentrations

Darden faculty created the following entrepreneurship, innovation and strategy concentrations to help Second Year students develop course plans:

Entrepreneurship

Students fulfilling this concentration graduate with an understanding of their affinity for being entrepreneurial and an understanding of the fundamentals of effectual and causal thinking and when each is appropriate. They also graduate with a set of skills based on academic study and experiential work that allows them to be confident in starting a new venture. Faculty Contact: Philippe Sommer.

Corporate Innovation

Students fulfilling this concentration graduate with the mindset and skill set to succeed at identifying and implementing innovation in a corporate setting. Faculty Contact: Jeanne Liedtka.

Business Development and Growth

Sustainable success requires organizations to innovate and grow to maintain or increase profitability. Students in this concentration will learn the fundamentals of managing innovation, organic growth, and acquisition and integration of mergers and acquisitions. Faculty Contact: Jeanne Liedtka.

Clubs & Events

Visit the Experiential Entrepreneurship Opportunities page for information on a variety of entrepreneurial clubs, events and innovative courses.

Video

In the following video, Jacqueline Wilde (Class of 2012) talks about why she decided to get her MBA knowing that she wanted to be an entrepreneur. She discusses Darden's entrepreneurship courses, faculty, the i.Lab Incubator and more.

Contacts

Still have questions? Feel free to contact the following alumni to ask specific questions about entrepreneurship at Darden. For additional contacts, please visit the Darden Student and Alumni Ambassadors list.

Whitman WalkerWhitman Walker (MBA '12)

Undergraduate education: UNC-Chapel Hill
Undergraduate major: Electronic Communication, Business Journalism
Company: Samsung
Position: Global Strategy Group
Location: Seoul, South Korea

“Darden’s diverse community, global perspective and generalist approach to management supplied me with the skills necessary to work in a high level, international strategy role at Samsung. In addition, Darden’s high level of engagement and focus on intelligent decision-making prepared me to succeed within a diversified and complex multinational corporation.”

Emily DeSanctisEmily DeSanctis (MBA '11)

Undergraduate education: Tulane University
Undergraduate major: French major; Business and English minors
Company: Stylher
Title: Co-founder & COO
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

"My First Year at Darden gave me the fundamental knowledge and tools to feel confident about starting my own business. Throughout my Second Year, I really took advantage of the entrepreneurial outlets that Darden offers including electives, business plan competitions, and club-sponsored opportunities to pitch our ideas to investors. The relationships I’ve made with classmates and faculty have evolved into life-long friendships and a network of accomplished businessmen and women I know I can call on as I move forward in my entrepreneurial endeavors."

Joe Chard (MBA '11)Joe Chard (MBA '11)

Undergraduate education: Oberlin College
Undergraduate major: Philosophy
Company: Nomuda Games
Title: Co-Founder and CEO
Location after graduation: Virtual (for business), D.C. (for life)

“Entrepreneurs are the ultimate general managers, and Darden offers a world-class general management education. The rigorous and comprehensive curriculum gave me tools that I could directly apply to starting and growing my business. The wealth of resources available at Darden gave me the confidence boost that I needed to start my company, Nomuda Games, and fulfill a life-long dream. Both faculty members and my classmates provided invaluable support along the way – exactly the kind of intangible resources that Darden offers above and beyond the coursework, facilities and entrepreneurial opportunities like the Batten Incubator.”

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