About the Course


Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” Mark Twain


People have invented new tools, traded with each other, and made risky decisions long before angel investors and the stock markets existed. Indeed, our innate human curiosity, natural ingenuity, and desire to take control over our environment have transformed the world around us and redefined how we live our lives—what and how we consume, how we relate and communicate with each other, and even what makes us happy. Every day we make all kinds of decisions that define our future. These decisions involve problem-solving, empathizing with others, thinking creatively, persevering in the face of adversity and uncertainty, and (often) accepting and dealing with failure. This is to say that to be a human is to be, at least occasionally, an entrepreneur. In that sense, studying entrepreneurship should not only be about learning how to start a new business, but also, and more importantly, about learning the fundamental principles and skills that can help you achieve your goals in an unpredictable and constantly changing world so that you can live a happier and more fulfilling life.

In this course, we will study variety of topics and ideas related to entrepreneurship that will help us gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world around us—the forces that drive socio-economic progress, and, hopefully, our own selves. We will start by looking at the big picture. We will examine how technological innovations in the past century are changing and constantly disrupting the global competitive landscape. We will learn about patterns of innovation and economic development across countries and over time. We will ask what makes some countries more entrepreneurial (and richer) than others; can government regulation increase the number of entrepreneurs in society; is entrepreneurship always productive and good; and is social entrepreneurship inconsistent with market profits.

Once we establish the value of entrepreneurship to our lives, we will then ask who are the entrepreneurs; what is it that they do; how they think; and, at the end of the day, what makes them “tick.” To do this, we will study the entrepreneurial mindset by looking at the stories of different entrepreneurs and identifying the skillset that helped them achieve success. Along the way, we will dispel some common myths about entrepreneurship and build skills and knowledge that can help us develop a growth mindset that can help us be more successful in our own lives.

We will then look at the process of starting a new business. We will ask where do creative ideas come from; how can we identify new business opportunities; what makes some business ideas better than others; why some businesses fail and others succeed; what is the best way to create value; and how to more effectively grow a business. Here, we will examine whether business planning can help you succeed and practice how to give an effective presentation.

We will end the class by reflecting on the future. What are the most important technological and social trends that will shape our lives in the next 30 years? Are robots going to take our jobs? Can we transition to a more sustainable (zero) society? How will new technologies change the way we relate to each?

Finally, I can’t promise you that by the end of the semester you will know how to become a successful entrepreneur. As Oscar Wilde once said “education is an admirable thing, but it is worth to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” This is true for entrepreneurship as well – identifying, building, and enhancing the skills that can help you succeed as an entrepreneur (and life in general) is something that will inevitably happen outside of the classroom. However, this does not mean that we should discard the study of entrepreneurship completely. On the contrary, studying entrepreneurship can provide us with valuable insights about how people make choices and how these choices affect our own lives every day. It can also challenge us to examine the meaning of social progress, our own place in a constantly changing world, and critically evaluate the values and beliefs that we hold the closest to our hearts. What I can promise you, then, is that if you are motivated and spend the necessary time to explore new ideas and ways of thinking, you will make one more step towards an educated and flourishing life—and this is something valuable in itself. After all, you will have to make all kinds of choices—for yourself, your family, business, or your community—and this is something you can do either intelligently or not.


A. Examine modern socio-economic progress by studying patterns of (disruptive) innovation over time and across countries.
B. Understand the critical role of institutions, culture, and geography in promoting entrepreneurship.
C. Identify skills that can help you develop a growth (entrepreneurial) mindset by learning about the lives of successful entrepreneurs.
D. Dispel some common myths about entrepreneurship.
E. Build confidence that you don’t need to be an expert to start a business; and that failure (and how you react to it) is one of the key ingredients of success.
F. Learn how to effectively communicate your ideas through writing and giving presentations.

Overall, our goal will be to focus on the breadth of knowledge, connecting ideas, and applying them to the real world and our own lives while in your more advanced business classes you will learn more technical skills such as writing a business plan.