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Course to focus on financial ventures

The class will teach students how to put together their own business plans.
Monday, January 30, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:56 p.m. CDT, Monday, June 30, 2008

MU graduate student Brian Adams has an idea for a business venture: He wants to grow biomass for biological refineries and power plants to create bioenergy.

Adams, who is working toward his master’s degree in business administration, is taking his idea to a new graduate-level course on entrepreneurship being taught through the College of Business.

“Fundamentally, this is about entrepreneurial leaders, and it’s focused on providing the skills necessary to launch a high-growth venture,” said Jake Halliday, adjunct assistant professor of management, who is teaching the class. “This is not about starting a small business on the corner.”

“Launching a High-Growth Venture — The Business Plan” focuses on creating a working business plan that students will design.

Adams, for example, will create a business plan to see whether he can make his idea work. He and his team will work through the semester refining the plan to make it viable. Adams said that if used properly, the biomass can replace about 20 percent of the coal burned to create energy.

“If it’s not a good venture, we’re not going to invest in it,” Adams said. “If it is a good venture, I might try to pursue it.”

Early on in most MBA students’ careers, they will encounter some form of entrepreneur leadership, Halliday said.

“Irrespective of what job they took, by 10 years later 70 percent of MBAs find themselves on the leadership of a high growth business venture,” Halliday said.

Courses in entrepreneurship are common at business schools around the country. Halliday stated that similar programs are in use at the University of Texas, Carnegie Mellon, Purdue and Stanford as well as most other Big 12 Conference schools.

“I think this course and other initiatives put us on par with leading business schools,” Halliday said.

At the beginning of the semester the students will split into venture teams — the management, Halliday said. The teams will pick from a list of eight possible ventures — four of which were submitted by Halliday, four by the Office of Technology and Special Projects and one by Adams.

The students will assess the venture to determine whether they will be successful. A few weeks into the course, the teams will start work refining their business plan, a process that will span the rest of the semester.

In March, one team will be chosen to compete in the Big 12 Business Plan Competition in Dallas. The competition will coincide with the Big 12 basketball tournament, and the winner will be honored on the court and be invited to the Moot Corp Competition, known as the Super Bowl of business competitions.

Halliday, who is also the president and chief executive officer of the Missouri Innovation Center, said his students will have another opportunity to compete against their classmates and other business teams from the region in the center’s Show-Me Business Plan Competition. The Innovation Center, a nonprofit organization set up to stimulate entrepreneurship in the region, will award $5,000 to the first-place winner of the April competition.

“If it’s not a good venture, we’re not going to invest in it,” Adams said. “If it is a good venture, I might try to pursue it.”

Early on in most MBA students’ careers, they will encounter some form of entrepreneur leadership, said Halliday.

“Irrespective of what job they took, by 10 years later 70 percent of MBAs find themselves on the leadership of a high growth business venture,” said Halliday.

Courses in entrepreneurship are common at business schools around the country. Halliday stated that similar programs are in use at the University of Texas, Carnegie Mellon, Purdue and Stanford as well as most other Big 12 Conference schools.

“I think this course and other initiatives put us on par with leading business schools,” Halliday said.

At the beginning of the semester the students will split into venture teams — the management, Halliday said. The teams will pick from a list of eight possible ventures — four of which were submitted by Halliday, four by the Office of Technology and Special Projects and one by Adams.

The students will assess the venture to determine whether they will be successful. A few weeks into the course, the teams will start work refining their business plan, a process that will span the rest of the semester.

In March, one team will be chosen to compete in the Big 12 Business Plan Competition in Dallas. The competition will coincide with the Big 12 basketball tournament, and the winner will be honored on the court and be invited to the Moot Corp Competition, known as the Super Bowl of business competitions.

Halliday, who is also the president and chief executive officer of the Missouri Innovation Center, said his students will have another opportunity to compete against their classmates and other business teams from the region in the center’s Show-Me Business Plan Competition. The Innovation Center, a nonprofit organization set up to stimulate entrepreneurship in the region, will award $5,000 to the first-place winner of the April competition.


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