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MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship (Fall 2017)

MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship (Fall 2017)

Course Syllabus

Founders and co-founders of startups such as Amorelie, contagt, Coffee Circle, Leaf Systems, Stocard and many others are students or alumni of the University of Mannheim. They all are examples of successful entrepreneurs, who have pursued new business opportunities in an innovative and path-breaking way. This course is about gaining a general understanding of entrepreneurship and its underlying theoretical foundations (lectures) combined with more applied elements (case studies + business model projects). Dealing with current and classical theories on entrepreneurship, the theory part aims at giving students a solid insight into the early stages of the startup lifecycle. The applied elements give students the possibility to train their skills and enhance their entrepreneurial toolkit. In the applied part, students will e.g. gain familiarity with the POCD (People Opportunity Context Deal) framework, business model analysis, identifying key value drivers of a new venture, customer acquisition cost (CAC), customer lifetime value, marketing in the early stage of a startup, basic financial modeling of a startup, and a basic introduction to seed financing and venture capital. Founders and experts will come to our Startup Lounges and Founder Talks - these inspirational events go hand in hand with this class and your attendance of these open to public inspirational events is strongly recommended. Overall, the course is intensive and requires students to carefully prepare, read and understand the course material (remember that 6 ECTS are a total workload of up to 180hrs). Active attendance and participation is strongly recommended. Even though we will have some hands-on elements in MAN 630, our applied class to found your own business is MAN 631 and our class to either further develop your advanced own startup or join a startup with a student team ist MAN 633. If you like theory and reading next to some practical insights or just want to obtain a solid foundation in what is entrepreneurship and see where the inspiration will take you, MAN 630 is the proper class for you. MAN 630 sets focus on the nascent stage of startups up to seed and pre-Series A stage. We will discuss in lecture settings and have 3 to 4 additional case study sessions in which student teams will present their solutions and advice to startup challenges. Thus, theories presented will be combined with real-life cases. Additionally, guest speakers (i.e., entrepreneurs and/or academics) may come to class to shed light on specific topics of interest or how they have overcome challenges. Generally, our course is designed to enable you to get a grasp of the big picture - we work with a variety of theoretical lenses, literature and practical insights. This requires you to connect the dots and to engage in substantial self-study to read and reflect. This is not a class to learn things (i.e., slides) by heart and just jot them down on the final exam - just to prevent a mismatch of expectations. Case presentations will be a team effort. Beware of the following upsides and downsides: The course is tons of fun and highly rewarding but challenging and demanding in terms of its self-study elements and the case study team efforts. If your expectation is a class with lectures to randomly attend, this might not be your first choice.

What you can expect from us is a fun and rewarding atmosphere in class paired with optional Founder Talks and Startup Lounges (evening events) throughout the semester to get in touch with lots of role models, business models and a fair chance to develop your networks. Overall, you can expect a perfect introduction to central theories in entrepreneurship and the Startup Ecosystem at and around the University of Mannheim and beyond.

Side note on choosing MAN 630 vs. alternatives:

You should choose MAN 630 if you...

  • are interested in combining insights from lectures with readings at home and with insights gained from speakers in Startup Lounges, Founder Talks and in class to maximize your learning.
  • are interested in startups and entrepreneurship in general and want to gain a top-level view on both entrepreneurship in theory and practice.
  • like the practical world but do not want to lose sight of the underlying academic foundations.
  • love aiming for the big picture and love discussing topics of interest from a variety of angles.
  • do not like courses based on keywords and phrases to learn but on concepts to put into perspective and forming your own sophisticated line of argumentation.

You should, however, not choose MAN 630 if you...

  • expect this to be a multiple-choice-style course of memorizing material and then jotting buzzwords down on the exam. Our interactive style of teaching and a wealth of readings will get you frustrated – focus is set on understanding concepts rather than memorizing them.
  • expect teaching staff to tell you what to learn and what to forget – this is up to you (see point above).
  • want to develop or advance your own startup project in class. Apply for MCEI courses MAN 631 or MAN 633 Track 2 instead.
  • want to advance an existing startup project and get the feeling of what it is like to work in a startup with all the responsibilities this brings along, join MAN 633 Track 1 instead.

Course Outline

The lectures will introduce students into classical and modern economic, psychological and sociological theories of entrepreneurship. Different types of entrepreneurship will be discussed and its importance for economies will be highlighted. Further topics covered are business model creation, financial evaluation and financing the start-up. Our Startup Lounges and Founder Talks will bring in lots of practical insights and networking opportunities.
The Case Study Sessions follow an applied approach and complement the theory that you learn during the lectures. We are of the opinion that you can only fully understand and master theory (e.g. how to plan, finance and operate entrepreneurial start-ups), if you apply theory to its relevant practical context. Accordingly, we strongly recommend 100% attendance and kindly ask you to prepare case solutions thoroughly (team effort). The purpose of this course is to provide students with both theoretical knowledge of entrepreneurship and practical skills for setting up businesses. Dealing with current and classical theories and recent empirical evidence on entrepreneurship, the lectures aim at giving students a solid insight into entrepreneurship research. The Case Study Sessions put students into situations in which they have to apply their knowledge and train their entrepreneurial skills. Note that we will not write any business plans in this class but learn, e.g., how to get LTV, CAC and cash flow management right while also looking at entrepreneurship from various scientific lenses.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students

  • will have gained fundamental insights into theoretical perspectives on entrepreneurship
  • have learned tools that facilitate starting a business
  • have some idea on how investors look at new ventures
  • will be acquainted with case study training and elements of problem-based learning (PBL)
  • will have improved their case solving and presentation skills
  • have a solid foundation for, e.g., a seminar or master thesis at our chair - especially theses "Inside the Venture"
  • have improved their problem solving capabilities

Registration 2017

Please register via the Student Portal during the central registration period. In case of excess demand for a class, there will be a central lottery/ spot allocation conducted by the Dean's Office of the Business School of the University of Mannheim We cannot influence the outcome of this student allocation. Please do not ask us for exceptions or waiting list positions before the course allocation has been completed. Approach us in class after the central registration period if your desired course choice for MAN 630 did not work out.

Registration for Case Study Sessions

You might be able to register for Case Study Sessions via the Student Portal but should ignore this option - make sure to apply for the core course. The reason why the class also pops up as an "exercise session" (in German: "Übung") is solely for internal room booking purposes. It is not necessary to register for case study sessions upfront. We will coordinate case study groups via the MCEI pages when the course enrollment is final. You will form teams for this course and each team has to pick a Case Study Group. You can swap groups by Case Study Session given your availability if there are open time slots to present or teams who move to your session. Students who miss the Case Study team formation and the sessions will fail this part of the course (40% of their grade). Students may (by exception) miss out on individual sessions if they have engaged in the team effort of preparing the presentation and the team is okay with their absence. Dropping the class after team formation is not possible (see introduction lectures), as this would lead to fricticon and unnecessary strain on the teams. 

Student Recommendations

Our students are encouraged to join our Startup Lounges and Founder Talks on a regular basis - it is part of your entrepreneruial experience. Transferring insights from class to the real world by learning from real startups and their challenges forms a substantial part of your learning. Remember that networking is an enabler of amazing opportunities. In general, the course is intensive. It requires students to carefully prepare all cases, read and understand a lot of material, and participate actively in class and case discussions. Readings are important to understand applications and follow the lectures and class discussions. All students are expected to participate in the case discussions and presentations. Your active participation will benefit you significantly in preparing for the exam, which is a continuous learning endeavor in this class rather than 1 week of learning materials by the end of class. Students, if applicable, purchase the case studies themselves and prepare them upfront (Harvard Business School Publishing). MCEI cases will be provided via the course group.

Place & Time

Please do not blame us for varying dates and rooms for the case study sessions - we have to request the rooms and this is what we got. If you cannot accommodate a case study session with your schedule, please switch groups with your team. Our new MCEI DesignLab will offer you lots of space - just in case you want to put your own ideas into practice next to class or want to develop your case solutions like a startup.

Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Michael Woywode, Dr. Jan Zybura, Nora Zybura

Assessment: Final examination (60%) and 4 team Case Presentations (40%)

Notice for repeat students (3rd sit): We strongly recommended you fully retake this class with regular attendance - we have changed the grading scheme and some content. 


Language: English

Readings & Resources:

Readings & Resources:

See detailed course outline below.

Course Material:

All course material (where applicable) will be provided via the MCEI Group 'MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship HWS 2017'.
We will not use ILIAS at any point in this class. Please do not be irritated by the ILIAS option not being available.


Tentative Schedule (subject to change)

Session 1 | September 7 | M003 | 15.30-17.00

  1. Entrepreneurship in the Mannheim Master in Management (MMM) - General Introduction for all students
  2. Course Introduction MAN 630
  3. What is Entrepreneurship?

Core Readings:

  • Shane (2003): Chap. 5.
  • Bhide, A. (1996) "The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer" Harvard Business Review, November-December 1996, pp. 120-130.
  • Frederiksen, D. L., & Brem, A. (2017). How do entrepreneurs think they create value? A scientific reflection of Eric Ries’ Lean Startup approach. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal13(1), 169-189.

Recommended Readings (over the entire course):

  • Kressel, H. & Winarsky, N. (2015). If You Really Want to Change the World. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.
  • Ries, E. (2011). The Lean Startup. New York: Crown Business.

Session 2 | September 14 | M003 | 15.30-17.00

  1. Who is the Entrepreneur
  2. Who is the Entrepreneur is the Wrong Question
  3. Understanding Entrepreneurship
  4. Forming Case Study Teams (attendance is crucial - coordinate via MCEI Group upfront if you cannot attend!)

Core Readings:

  • Gartner, W. (1989) “’Who Is an Entrepreneur?’ Is the Wrong Question”, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 3.
  • Shane & Venkataraman (2000). The Promise of Entrepreneurship as a Field of Research. The Academy of Management Review, 25.

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 1, 2 

Homework: Prepare Case Study

Session 3 | September 21 | M003 | 15.30-17.00

  1. Defining and Measuring Start-Ups
  2. Analyzing & Measuring Business Growth
  3. Growing the Business

Core Readings:

  • Morrison, A., Breen, J., & Ali, S. (2003). Small business growth: intention, ability, and opportunity. Journal of small business management41(4), 417-425.
  • Welter, F., Baker, T., Audretsch, D. B., & Gartner, W. B. (2017). Everyday entrepreneurship—a call for entrepreneurship research to embrace entrepreneurial diversity. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice41(3), 311-321.

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 11 & 12 
  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 13+14+15
The upcoming session is on a Tuesday due to room capacity constraints!

Session 4 | September 26 | L9 1-2, 210

1st Case Study Session

  • Group 1: 10.15-11.45
  • Group 2: 12.00-13.30
  • Group 3: 15.30-16.00 | DesignLAB

Session 5 | September 28 | M003 | 15.30-17.00

  1. An Economist Perspective & Subjectively Expected Utility
  2. Ecology Perspective

Core Readings:

  • Shane (2003): Chap. 4
  • Kirchhoff, B.A. (1991). Entrepreneurship‘s Contribution to Economics. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 16 (2): 93-112.
  • Aldrich, H.E. (1990). Using an Ecological Perspective to Study Organizational Founding Rates. Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Spring 1990.

Recommended Readings:

  • Ruef, M. (2006),"Boom and Bust: The Effect of Entrepreneurial Inertia on Organizational Populations” (skim-read article)

Session 6 | October 5 | M003 | 15.30-17.00

  1. Nascent Entrepreneurship and Social Networks
  2. Social Networks, Opportunity Recognition & Resource Mobilization

Core Readings:

  • Stuart & Sorenson (2005): Chap. 10

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 6 & 7 (skim literature)

Homework: Prepare Singulus Case!

No Lecture on October 12! Sesson 7 will be on October 19.

Session 7 | October 19 | M003 | 15.30-17.00

  1. The Institutional Context of Entrepreneurship
  2. In-class case: Singulus

Core Readings:

  • Shane (2003): Chap. 7
  • Williamson, O.E. (2000). The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead. Journal of Economic Literature, 38 (3).

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey & Greene: Chapter 19 & 20 (skim literature)

Homework: Prepare CCNB Case (in class)

Pre-Evaluation and Exam Q&A – What to improve?

Session 8 | October 26 | M003 | 15.30-17.00

  1. Evaluating entrepreneurial opportunities
    • How do you evaluate a business opportunity?
    • Business model analysis
    • POCD, LVC, CAC
  2. In-class case: CCNB Evaluating entrepreneurial opportunities
    • How do you evaluate a business opportunity?
    • Business model analysis
    • POCD, LVC, CAC

Core Readings:

  • Sahlman, W. A. (1996). Some thoughts on business plans. Harvard Business School Publ.
  • Hamermesh, R. G., Marshall, P. W., & Pirmohamed, T. (2002). Note on business model analysis for the entrepreneur. Harvard Business School

Homework: Prepare 2nd Case Study

Session 9 | November 2 | L9 1-2, 210

2nd Case Study Session

  • Group 1: 10.15-11.45
  • Group 2: 12.00-13.30
  • Group 3: 13.45-14.15

Session 10 | November 2 | M003 | 15.30-17.00

  1. International Entrepreneurship

Core Readings:

  • Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Global Report 2013 and selected elements of other years 
  • Jones, M.V., Coviello, N., Tang, Y.K. (2011). International Entrepreneurship research (1989–2009): A domain ontology and thematic analysis. Journal of Business Venturing 26:6, 632-659

Homework: Prepare Case!

Session 11 | November 9 | L9 1-2, 210

3rd Case Study Session

  • Business Modeling
  • “Fishboning the business model”
  • Unit economics
  • Group 1: 10.15-11.45
  • Group 2: 12.00-13.30
  • Group 3: 13.45-14.15 | DesignLAB

Session 12 | November 9 | M003 | 15.30-17.00 (moved from November 23)

  1. Innovation
  2. Innovation Ecosystems

Core Readings:

  • Stanford University’s Economic Impact via Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Isaak, R., Isaak, A., and Zybura, J. (2016). Replicating Silicon Valley: Talent and techno-management in a culture of serendipity. In Wang, H. and Liu, Y., editors, Entrepreneurship and Talent Management from a Global Perspective – Global Returnees, pages 149–187. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 5

Homework: Prepare Financial Modeling case for next session!

Session 13 | November 16 | L9 1-2, 210

4th Case Study Session: Financial modeling for start-ups

  • Group 1: 10.15-11.45
  • Group 2: 12.00-13.30
  • Group 3: 13.45-14.15 | DesignLAB

Session 14 | November 16 | M003 | 15.30-17.00

  1. Financing the early stage venture
  2. Building fast growing companies

Guest Lecture with Funding Expert

Session 15 | November 23 | M003 (moved from November 30)

  1. From Nascent to Early Stage to Seed and Series A – reflections on the lessons learned
  2. Course Evaluation

Please note that the final session may cover exam relevant material.


We are looking forward to having you in class!



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