Editor’s note: This is a guest column written by Jacob Harmon, a student in the Kelley Direct Online MBA Program and a global portfolio manager at 3M.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business offers Kelley Direct, the premier online MBA program for professionals striving for an MBA while continuing their careers.
The Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation Major, which students can pursue within IU’s Full-Time MBA curriculum, offers many unique opportunities. Most will agree that the one opportunity that tops them all is the capstone course in the program, The Silicon Valley Venture Challenge.
The Silicon Venture Challenge course was designed by Donald F. Kuratko – known to many as “Dr. K” — with the goal of challenging students beyond the textbook and into a highly competitive, innovative, and entrepreneurial setting.
Kuratko, an award-winning professor, is the Jack M. Gill Chair of Entrepreneurship, professor of entrepreneurship and executive and academic director at the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
Kuratko has pioneered Kelley’s world-renowned MBA and entrepreneurial education programs. He firmly believes that without real opportunities to practice, students will never fully learn about, or develop the skill sets required to succeed in entrepreneurship. This is why he created the Silicon Valley Challenge Course, also referred to informally as “The Ultimate Spine Sweat Experience,” to put students to the true test.
A warm welcome to Silicon Valley
Throughout the semester, students conduct market, customer and business model research on a venture idea. They build a robust business plan and create a formal pitch deck for their concept. The business plan and pitch decks are critiqued on all the fundamental elements that any entrepreneurial startup would be expected to include in their investor-facing documents.
While many courses would end at this point and assign grades based on the research, the paper and presentation, the Silicon Valley Challenge pushes students to the next level. The final assignment for the course is to travel to Silicon Valley and pitch the business plan in front of a panel of venture capitalists, angel investors and board members from the Johnson Center’s West Coast board of directors.
Upon arriving in Silicon Valley, students are welcomed to Plug and Play for a guided tour and business model overview. Plug and Play is a corporate innovation powerhouse with more than 500 corporate partners and more than 50,000 startups. Their mission is: “To drive innovation by connecting entrepreneurs, corporations and investors worldwide.”
Beyond helping connect corporations and entrepreneurs, Plug and Play also has a world-class ecosystem of venture capitalists, governments and universities. Indiana University is proudly within Plug and Play’s university ecosystem and is among an elite company of other premier B-schools within the network. (more…)