by: Zeenat Potia
Burden Hall on the Harvard Business School campus was buzzing with excitement, and every so often, a roaring cheer would rise up from the auditorium packed with 900 first year MBA students. May 14 was IPO Day, where students as part of the FIELD 3 course had the opportunity to present their viable business to their entire MBA class. The ideas ranged from making single origin chocolates fun and accessible (DelectareChocolates.com) to a solution that ‘unshrinks’ woolen clothing (Unshrinkit.com). SpotRocket.co promised to help job seekers find the “hottest start-up to work for.” The entrepreneurial spirit in the air was catching.
In an innovative complement to the case method of instruction, the Class of 2015 had spent their 15-week winter term practicing what they were learning from their required courses as they worked in small teams to build viable microbusinesses. The students had two months to refine their ideas and develop a customer sales pitch, all leading up to Launch Day in mid-April, and teams with a viable idea advanced to IPO Day.
The business-building exercise capped the yearlong FIELD course. FIELD 3, the final module, thrust students into experiencing the real-world roles of entrepreneur, analyst, marketer, and investor. It challenged them to refine the leadership and teamwork skills they learned in FIELD 1 last fall, and the product or service development skills they practiced while working with global partner organizations during FIELD 2.
“Our objective with FIELD 3 was to provide students with an opportunity to apply and integrate the knowledge, skills, and tools acquired in the first-year curriculum,” says Senior Associate Dean Youngme Moon, chair of the MBA Program. “It exposed the entire class to the challenge and excitement of being an entrepreneur, creating an idea, and making it a reality.
“The focus was on taking action, learning from the response to that action, and making changes to improve your chances of success,” Moon continues. “Almost all successful ventures go through this ‘pivoting’ process multiple times as they probe and test their ideas. FIELD 3 uniquely challenged students to experience that process and learn from it.”
More on FIELD 3
This New Harvard Business School Startup is the Remedy to All Your Airline Headaches , BostInno
How An Unlikely Foursome Competed In Harvard’s Top Business Plan Contest, Poets & Quants