Field Course: Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Field Course: Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship

Course Number 6619

Senior Lecturer Steven S. Rogers
Fall; Q1Q2; 3 credits

Course Overview

African-American business leaders successfully have contributed to the growth of the American economy for centuries. This course is not only for black students, but for every student interested in learning about great business leaders who might be a black entrepreneur, intrapreneur (entrepreneur in a corporate setting), union leader or social entrepreneur.

Most of the case studies will concentrate on protagonists who are HBS alums, including Corey Thomas '02, who led his cybersecurity company to a successful IPO in 2015; Earl Gordon '08, who attempted to buy a company a few years after graduation; and Otis Gates, who was the only African American in his HBS graduating class of 1963 and went on to be co-founder of a Black newspaper and real estate entrepreneur.

There also will be case studies highlighting non-alums including Dr. Eve Hall, the founder of an African-American investment fund; John H. Johnson, the founder of Ebony magazine; Valerie Daniels-Carter, owner of one of the world's largest number of Burger King franchises; Vicki L. Fuller, the chief investment officer of New York's $180 billion pension fund; and John Rogers Jr., the founder of Ariel Investments, the largest black-owned asset management firm in America.

The course also will examine the great business opportunities that have emerged from identifying underserved markets of black consumers, and the unique interplay between, and intersection of, race and successful entrepreneurial ventures.

Course Content and Organization

The course will be taught once a week during a 3-hour period. It is a 3-credit course with a final project. Two-thirds of the course will be devoted to classroom work and the balance to a team project outside the classroom. Fifty percent of the final grade will be derived from class participation and the remainder from the final project.