Field Course: Field Y: Projects in Business Management - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Field Course: Field Y: Projects in Business Management

Course Number 6334

Professor Randolph Cohen
Spring; Q3Q4; 3 credits
Weekly, 2 hour sessions 
Enrollment: Limited to 80 students

Field Y welcomes both students who have taken Field X and those who have not. If we reach the enrollment limit, preference will be given to students who took Field X.

Educational Objectives

The course is designed to enable students to develop and grow their businesses. Doing so while on campus has several advantages, including access to resources (faculty time and attention, library and computer access); advice from your peers in a structured environment; and devoted blocks of time during your EC year to move your business forward while your team is all in one location. The course will employ a combination of field methods, classroom exercises, cross-team interactions, and access to faculty, guest experts, and other advisors. The largest single allocation of time will be to working with your team to make meaningful progress on your own business.

About two dozen teams from last year are running their businesses full-time now, most or all of whom have received funding of $500,000 or more; in some cases far more.

NOTE ALSO: BECAUSE THIS COURSE HAS MANY CHARACTERISTICS OF AN INDEPENDENT STUDY, THIS CLASS, UNLIKE FIELD X, COUNTS TOWARD THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF IP CREDITS A STUDENT CAN RECEIVE. Thus if the rule is that you can do three IPs in your EC year, if you take Field Y you can only do a maximum of two other IPs (6 credits total).

Students can expect to:

  1. Summarize and critique their existing business, its strengths and weaknesses, and set priorities for moving the business forward, including the most pressing priorities to be addressed during the course itself.
  2. Develop a strategy for taking the business to the next level, including a plan for funding, and a plan and timeline for reaching scale.
  3. Give and receive feedback from other highly motivated student teams.
  4. Meet frequently as a team with the faculty advisor.
  5. Receive feedback and counsel from outside business advisors.
  6. Have opportunities to pitch your work to angel, seed, and venture capital investors.
This course can be thought of as occupying a space between an IP and a traditional course, giving you an opportunity to work on something of great interest to you, while preserving many of the benefits of a larger course, including opportunities for guest speakers, feedback from your peers, and clearly delineated deliverables and milestones that act as commitment devices to push the business forward. In terms of requirements, "in between an IP and a course" means that there will be some class meetings, but not every week. Coursework will be focused on improving and growing your business.

Who Should Enroll?

-Students who took Field X and who are still running and growing their businesses

-Students who are running businesses in Spring of their EC year and who did not take Field X

Course Deliverables

The main deliverable will be the team’s final presentation and the supporting slide deck and report. There will also be intermediate deliverables building up to that point. In short, expect to produce a Word document and a Powerpoint deck with descriptions of your business at the beginning of the course and a (perhaps similar, perhaps very different) version at the end of the course.

We will work hard in the course to connect students with sources of funding, including angel, seed, and venture investors. At the end of the semester there will be an opportunity for each team to present their business to a room full of such investors; in the past many fruitful relationships have been initiated through these presentations.

Cross Registration

Cross-registrants are welcome to take the course.