Professor Jeffrey Bussgang has played a critical role in
expanding Harvard Business School’s entrepreneurial offerings over the last few
years. A Senior Lecturer at HBS and a General Partner at Flybridge Capital
Partners, he is an expert in lean startups as well as strategy and management
challenges for founders. At HBS, Professor Bussgang has taught the Launching Technology Ventures course.
I came to HBS six years ago at a time when the school was
ramping up its entrepreneurial programs on all fronts. The EiR (Entrepreneurs in Residence) program was my first entry point, allowing me to spend time with
students and coach them on their new ventures and emerging careers in
I then helped Professor Tom Eisenmann create a class for
second year students who were either starting their own companies or looking to
join startups in product management or business development roles. That class,
called Launching Technology Ventures, is dedicated to helping train executives
in the art of launching, building and scaling startups.
Some people wonder whether entrepreneurship can be taught.
The extraordinary success that many of the 500 students that have gone through
my class is pretty strong evidence that it can, particularly using the case
The case method uniquely puts the student in the role of the
decision-maker – e.g., the VP of Products, the VP of Sales, or the entrepreneur
themselves. The student then has to make a difficult decision, based on
incomplete information, where there is no obvious "right answer." The
focus of the class is more practical than strategic – in other words, students
develop the practical tools required to conceive, launch, and build their
If you're an aspiring entrepreneur, there are three main
reasons I would point to that suggest HBS might be a good fit:
1) HBS has the absolute best entrepreneurship curriculum and
faculty in the world. The breadth of coursework and the resources available
between the i-Lab, the Rock Center, and the University at large are nothing
short of amazing.
2) Because of its diversity and breadth, the HBS community is
more than just a collection of great tech-based entrepreneurial talent but also
the best and brightest in other fields (e.g., social entrepreneurship, finance,
marketing, operations, leadership to name a few). This means there is an
opportunity for stimulating cross-discipline learning and collaboration.
3) HBS is situated in Boston, one of the top three startup
and innovation ecosystems in the world, which means that you have opportunity
to interact with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs and a deep set of
startups to draw from across technology, life sciences, energy and whatever
else you might be passionate about.
As a full-time practicing venture capitalist, teaching at
HBS is an amazing opportunity for me. The learning environment here,
particularly in the entrepreneurship field, is fundamentally two-way: I learn a tremendous amount from my students
and bring those lessons back to my portfolio companies…and vice versa, working
through thorny issues in real time. This industry is so fluid and fast-paced that
I can't imagine doing it any other way.