Our curriculum is designed with the whole campus in mind. The entrepreneurial journey for students from any major begins sophomore or junior year by taking courses described below. These courses are designed to challenge students through applying entrepreneurial approaches to problem solving, recognizing and organizing viable new venture opportunities in the marketplace. Inspired by these courses, students may also engage in a variety of co-curricular activities while assessing opportunities to explore in our capstone BUS340 Entrepreneurship course during their senior year. Although this course has a limited number of seats available for non-Williams School students, individuals from other majors may participate as part of a team taking the course. Take a look at these exciting new opportunities:
This capstone course provides the opportunity for students to explore their own business startup ideas through writing a comprehensive business plan. Students participating in this course will participate in the W&L Business Plan Competition. Taught by Jeff Shay.
An interdisciplinary course that focuses on studying individuals and organizations that measure success based on social impact rather than the financial bottom-line.Technology Entrepreneurship
Technology Entrepreneurship is a spring term course that introduces students to relevant technology and entrepreneurship topics through readings and case studies on campus before heading to Silicon Valley to experience both first hand. While in Silicon Valley students will visit entrepreneurial companies, venture capitalists, and other parts of the entrepreneurial community and in doing so bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world. In 2014 Silicon Valley company visits included: Artis Ventures (Mike Hardin), Zillow (Amy Bohutinsky), Google (Hal Bailey), Realta Entertainment (Peter Hunt), Grow Marketing (Gabrey Means, Linsly Donnelly (Wine.com), Devon Rothwell (Conde Nast), and Susan George), Amazon (Drew Denbo), JobScience and Salesforce (Ted Elliot), TokBox (Jack Leeney), Facebook (Brian Boland), and Yahoo (Michael Kronthal).
iStartup is designed to provide students at any stage in their college career and from any major on campus with not only a solid foundation in “the basics” of entrepreneurship, but also a sense of what it “feels like” to start and sustain new venture. As a cocktail, iStartup would be one part Entrepreneurship 101 and one part Amazing Race. Course content includes readings, brief lectures, case discussions, and a semester-long simulation of a startup venture—from idea to exit and the stages in between. Taught by Drew Hess.
The Wicked Problems course is available to students from all departments across the campus. Student teams combine knowledge and skills acquired in previous courses with the entrepreneurial methods and mindset engaged in this course to research and design solutions to society’s ”wicked” problems—e.g., hunger, poverty, energy, disease. Taught by Drew Hess.
Students interested in entrepreneurship are encouraged to enroll in a variety of complementary courses. For example, faculty offer courses on creativity, innovation, financing new ventures, business journalism, e-commerce, and environmental studies.
Future Spring Courses
Washington and Lee’s Spring Term provides the opportunity to explore many unique opportunities for courses. Below is a sample of some of these course ideas:
Entrepreneurial Case Studies
This course would begin by training students in Lexington how to write case studies and teaching notes. Once this training is complete, students would travel onsite to Washington and Lee alumni businesses and spend 2-3 weeks writing a case study and teaching notes. This would provide the opportunity for students to work closely with entrepreneurs, learn the challenges and opportunities associated with pursuing an entrepreneurial career track, and provide rich classroom materials for the program. During the onsite portion of the course students would be required to have weekly conference calls with the professor to discuss progress on the project.
Similar to the Washington Program, this course would place students in entrepreneurial ventures where they would work on projects approved by the company and the professor. Students would interact with the professor through interactive, web-based platforms such as NetMeeting.
Entrepreneurship Field Studies
Students would spend the first week in Lexington researching several companies in a specific entrepreneurial hotbed such as Silicon Valley or Boston. The next 2-3 weeks would be spent on the road visiting these companies and interviewing various members of the entrepreneurial team. Companies would include both entrepreneurial ventures and the companies that assist entrepreneurs such as VC’s, angels, and lawyers.