Projects

Course Project
The purpose of the course project is to provide an opportunity for you to apply and use the course material in the analysis of an actual entrepreneurial management problem. This project will be completed throughout the term with sub-segments submitted periodically. The final report will be a compilation and refinement of the sub-assignments. The course project is in lieu of a final exam; thus, it should demonstrate your mastery of the course material. The project may be done either individually or in small groups (2-4 students per group). For group projects each member of a group will earn the same grade for the final project. To have flexibility in defining the scope of the project three alternatives have been suggested which you might consider.

Option 1: Studying an Existing Entrepreneurial Firm

Students who are generally interested in entrepreneurial firms may either a) conduct in-depth field research in an entrepreneurial firm with which you have an existing relationship or b) complete careful library research on one or more entrepreneurial firms in an industry or sector of interest. Regardless of your research methodology, you will complete a strategic analysis of the policies and practices of an organization and make recommendations for changes that will add value given the firm's strategy and competitive positioning. You will assess the firm's "social capital" and provide recommendations that would help your firm improve their position in a social network. Finally, you will evaluate the current organizational system against their projected needs and provide recommendations that will help them align their strategy, organizational design, policies and practices as they grow. The final report for this type of project should resemble a case that could be used in this class.

Option 2: Personal Development

Students who are conducting non-traditional job searches or who want to develop their leadership skills can use the course project as a vehicle to accomplish these goals. This option requires an individual rather than a group project and is best suited to students who are interested in an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. The detailed plans, expectations, and deliverables for this project will need to be negotiated and contracted early in the term and must include two explicit developmental exercises which you will experience, analyze, and write-up. In addition, one section of the final report must be a written analysis of your own social capital and your plans for further developing your professional network.

Option 3: Writing an Expanded Business Plan

Students who are planning to launch an entrepreneurial venture can use this course project as an opportunity to think carefully about labor market and organizational design issues. These topics are not typically included in a standard business plan; however, they warrant as much attention as product market strategy and financing issues. Students pursuing this option for the project should have the broad contours of a business idea in hand and should plan to use the course project to further develop the network resources and organizational infrastructure necessary to pursue the opportunity. You will describe the opportunity and analyze the competitive environment in terms of the strategy, product market, and competitive environment for customers as well as for employees. You will explicitly articulate a hiring plan and an employee value proposition and outline organizational policies and practices that will build competitive advantage.

Deadlines and Deliverables
DUE DATE OPTION 1:
STUDYING AN EXISTING ENTREPRENEURIAL FIRM
OPTION 2:
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
OPTION 3:
WRITING AN EXPANDED BUSINESS PLAN
Part I
Session 4
Firm Overview and References (2-3 Pages) Learning Objectives & Project Plan (5-10 Pages) Industry Overview (2-5 Pages)
Part II
Session 12
Strategic Analysis
(5-10 Pages)
Social Capital Analysis
(5-10 Pages)
Strategy & Competitive Advantage
(5-10 Pages)
Part III
Session 14
Social Capital Analysis
(~1 Page Per Founder and/or Top Management Team Member)
Developmental Experience
(5-10 Pages)
Social Capital Analysis
(5-10 Pages)
Part IV
Session 19
Organizational Analysis & Recommendations
(7-15 Pages)
Developmental Experience
(5-10 Pages)
Labor Market Strategy & Employment Model
(5-15 Pages)
Final
Session 24
Final Report
(15-40 Pages)
Final Report
(15-40 Pages)
Final Report
(15-40 Pages)