Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise – MBA elective courses
Building Businesses in China
Introduction to the current and emerging issues in China’s dynamic environment
This course introduces students to the unique challenges and opportunities faced by entrepreneurs who build businesses in China, with particular attention to the political, economic and social context. It is designed for those who want to understand what kind of great enterprises will come out of China in the next 10 or 20 years, and why some entrepreneurs build successful businesses in China and others don’t. It is appropriate not only for those who are considering starting companies themselves but also for those who want to understand how the current entrepreneurial activities in China will shape the investment opportunities in China and the global competitive advantage of China’s firms in the near future.
China has emerged as a world economic super power, forcing all players to consider new economic models. This fieldtrip provides an opportunity to learn about the unique opportunities and obstacles faced by entrepreneurs in China, who will play an even bigger role in China’s economy in the future.
During your visit, you will be exposed to a wide variety of entrepreneurs and executives who are building companies in China. They will discuss with you a particular aspect of building businesses in China, and you can learn from them through interaction, discussion, and questioning. You will also have an opportunity to meet with alumni to gain additional insights into living and working in China.
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Building Businesses in India
Learning how businesses are being built and developed in the Indian context
The course will enable you to develop deep insight into three questions:
What opportunities and obstacles face those who would build a company in India? How does an entrepreneur build a growth venture in India?
How does the context shape growth ventures coming out of India? What characteristics and mind-sets will you encounter in the next great generation of Indian companies that grow out of today’s ventures?
What ideas can you borrow from India’s entrepreneurs that can help you build a company or work effectively with company builders wherever you go in your career?
The best way to address these three questions is to go to India, meet the people active in the Indian entrepreneurial community, and learn through interaction, discussion, questioning. We will spend a week in India - initially in Bangalore (India’s tech venturing capital) and then travel to Gurgaon (a suburb of New Delhi & an emerging entrepreneurial hotbed) during the break between periods, interacting with key players.
India has a centuries old entrepreneurial tradition among certain ethnic and social groups. Entrepreneurship was ingrained in one’s family, and many of India’s greatest enterprises in the modern era are still family enterprises. Yet starting in the 1980s and 1990s, a new strand in the thread of Indian entrepreneurship emerged. As the regulatory structure of India’s economy changed, entrepreneurs such as Narayana Murthy began building companies like Infosys in order to exploit the country’s remarkable pool of human capital, and they often fused ideas from East and West as they built their companies. Today, India’s business landscape is far richer because a new generation of entrepreneurs has emerged, some of whom came from families with a rich entrepreneurial heritage and others who did not.
India has emerged as one of the world’s hotbeds of growth entrepreneurship, a trend that is accelerating thanks to several factors. Non-resident Indians (NRI’s) who left the country are returning as investors and/or executives, both because India offers an outstanding pool of affordable talent and because they want to help build the country of their birth. Multinational firms have located many facilities in India, so there is a growing pool of experienced managers who know how a global enterprise operates. Entrepreneurial ecosystems are flourishing, both established centres such as Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai and fast-growing hubs such as Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai.
Building Businesses in India is designed for those who want to understand what kind of companies will come out of India’s entrepreneurial explosion, how the Indian context will shape the great enterprises that are founded in India over the next ten or twenty years. It is suitable for those who are considering starting companies themselves, who want to understand what kind of advantages and opportunities India will offer.
Ideal for careers in New Ventures, Business development, General management, Management Consulting.
Case studies with guest speakers from companies covered in cases
Extensive access to guest speaker
Building Businesses in Silicon Valley
Learning how to succeed as an entrepreneur or Venture Capitalist in Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is the most influential place for entrepreneurship in the world and it operates to a large extent according to its own sets of rules, which are starting to be adopted in entrepreneurship hubs elsewhere. It is more a culture than a place. How can you “break into” entrepreneurship, be successful in building a business and succeed as an entrepreneur, general manager, or venture capitalist there? The purpose of this course is to offer insights into that question. The only way to understand fully Silicon Valley is to be there and interact face-to-face with some of its key actors. Hence this one-week mini-elective takes place in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Each day will include a mix of guest speakers and visits. Each session will be hosted and run by a key Silicon Valley actor - an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, an executive in a large company, or by Professors Haslett and Rangan. Through INSEAD’s connections in Silicon Valley, participants will meet key players in the Bay Area. The course will focus on Internet, e-commerce, social media, and hardware technologies, although its lessons are universal. An engineering background is not needed to enrol. A strong motivation to engage with Silicon Valley guest speakers is a distinct advantage.
Silicon Valley essentially consists of five types of actors that together comprise its unique “eco-system”:
Professional Services firms (law firms and management consultants)
Important to note: The course is part of P4 bidding. It takes place towards the end of the P4-P5 break. Students are responsible for getting to Silicon Valley (including obtaining a visa several weeks before the trip), booking accommodation in San Francisco and for all costs associated with the trip.
Ideal for careers in:
Corporate Venture funds
Course takes place in San Francisco/Silicon Valley
Open to students at both campuses
Many sessions of the course will be hosted and run by SV executives
No exam, but active participation is required and graded
Alumni Mixer/Networking event
Interviews and outside company meetings are not permitted during
Learning how to successfully build a new business inside a corporation
This course helps students recognize and overcome the challenges unique to building a new business inside an established firm. Creating a successful new business inside a corporation is often a critical early step in the careers of many successful corporate executives. Thus, this course is ideal for students planning to work in established firms where they will be expected to identify and build new businesses or to provide support for new businesses, as well as students who plan to work for consultancies advising these firms. Corporate Entrepreneurship is also an excellent “springboard” for students with longer-term aspirations to launch their own ventures.
Corporate entrepreneurship is in essence about building new businesses inside established firms. This includes starting new lines of business or new product units, setting up new practice areas, launching offices in new geographies, managing spin-offs, or creating new joint ventures—as well as establishing processes to ensure the successful development of new businesses.
This course is designed to help students recognize and overcome the challenges they will face when building new businesses inside established firms. Corporate entrepreneurship is important for firms because it is crucial to achieving sustainable growth. Moreover, successfully building a new business for the firm can make a manager’s career—but multiple failures to do so can harm a career. Thus, in short, this course is about how to start a new business inside a corporation without “getting yourself killed in the process.”
Corporate entrepreneurs trying to build a business inside an established firm encounter a set of challenges that are different from those faced by stand-alone entrepreneurs. Examples of the challenges we address in his course include the followings:
You need resources to build the new business but getting the resources involves taking them away from existing business activities. How can you make sure you will get the resources you need to build the business?
You want to make sure that the culture and processes of the existing business do not hamper the new business. What are the more appropriate organizational design and structural arrangements for the new business that can shield it from the politics of the parent firm but allows it to draw critical resources from the parent?
The types of employees that will excel at starting a new business inside a firm—i.e., corporate entrepreneurs—are often different from those that perform well at running the existing business. Do you have what it takes to be a corporate entrepreneur? How do you select, manage, and motivate corporate entrepreneurs?
Ideal for careers in:
- General Management
- Business Development
- Country Manager
- Management Consulting
Case analysis and discussion
Using Software Technologies to Start New Ventures and Transform Established Enterprises
We are living in an era of digital disruption. Companies like Amazon, Airbnb, Zillow, and Uber and are upending traditional industries like retail, hotels, real estate, and taxis and creating new opportunities for value creation and investment. Capitalizing on these opportunities involves creating new ventures or corporate ventures that leverage digital technologies to create and exploit new markets. This process is called Digital Entrepreneurship (DE).
What’s Unique About This Course?
This Digital Entrepreneurship course provides a series of frameworks for innovating and managing ventures founded around digital technologies. A central idea of this course is that although DE shares some features of traditional new venture management – forming founding teams, business model analysis, board management – it also differs in important ways because of the accelerated growth potential of these technologies.
A key insight is that DE involves less capital, more flexibility, leaner organization, and more illusive strategic objectives than regular entrepreneurship, but also a more detailed understanding of various digital technologies and the opportunities they generate for creating markets, disrupting competitors, and creating value and growth.
This course is ideal for students interested in founding new ventures, joining corporate ventures in established companies, or taking on analyst or investor roles in venture capital or private equity.
The course mixes fundamental lessons of venture management and innovation strategy grounded in entrepreneurship research with emerging practical wisdom from entrepreneurial clusters like Silicon Valley, Seattle, Seoul, and Singapore with which every digital entrepreneur must have familiarity. These include key lessons on digital disruption, minimum viability, experimentation, network effects, bootstrapping, leveraging web services, foundries & crowdsourcing, and strategies for increasing ecosystem impact with platform-owners and other big partners. The technological foci of this year’s DE course include AI, deep learning, augmented reality, social media, prediction markets, mobile apps, automation, and big data analytics.
Digital entrepreneurship has become the central driver of wealth, growth, and job creation in the new millennium, and this course seeks to provide an introduction so that INSEAD students can participate more fully in this digital revolution. This course is scheduled as an MBA mini-elective in 2017.
Ecosystems & Business development
Managing entrepreneurial ecosystems, from both the venture and the corporate viewpoints
This course will show you what vice presidents of business development do in both established and entrepreneurial firms, preparing you to work in that role or with others who occupy it. Business competition pits not only firm vs. firm, but ecosystem vs. ecosystem. For example, when people choose among competing models of cars, they beyond what the car manufacturers offer to consider entire solutions whose value depends on offerings from a web of third-party complementors. Vice presidents of business development do not manage supply or distribution chains; they are accountable for the health of the third-party ecosystems around their firms and in which their firms participate.
The course will focus on:
Analyzing what makes ecosystems that established firms and entrepreneurial ventures more or less healthy. What is the best strategy for winning in ecosystem co-opetition? Which ecosystems should you join and invest effort into if you are a large firm? A startup venture?
Assessing prospective ecosystem members. What are the most important roles, and how do you choose the most desirable members to bring into your ecosystem?
Managing multilateral ecosystem relationships, including hub-spoke, member-to-member, and multi-lateral linkages. How can established firms get the most out of working with ventures and vice versa?
Assessing the role requirements of a company’s chief business development officer. Since business development is a key function in both ventures and established firms, what are the critical things people in this role must do well, and how can you position yourself for career success working in this role or with others who occupy it?
Many INSEAD alumni have “business development” in their title or job description, and this is often one of the earlier executive roles in a startup venture. The primary purpose of this course is to prepare INSEAD MBA’s to thrive when occupying such roles or faced with business development challenges. The course draws extensively on research with INSEAD alumni and brings many of their experiences into the classroom. The cases for this course all involve INSEAD alumni who visit the course for the day to interact with you.
The course will prepare you to analyse the ecosystems of competing firms, assess their relative health, and chart a strategy for improving ecosystem health by attracting the best third-parties to your ecosystem, and making your ecosystem a competitive differentiator for your firm. It will then help you execute that strategy by understanding why large and small firms magnify or hinder one another, so that each can get the most from other. In your future career, if business development is part of your role, or if you work with business development executives, you’ll benefit from a strong platform of lessons learned from alumni experience. The course prepares you to strategize business development from the perspective of both a venture and an established firm that works with ventures.
Ideal for careers in:
Case studies with guest speakers from companies covered in cases
Extensive access to guest speaker
Entrepreneurial Field Studies
Develop an entrepreneurship-related project
This elective provides a forum for students interested in conducting their own entrepreneurship-related project, alone or in teams of two. Projects can include a venture feasibility study for a start-up, evaluation of an existing company in conjunction with a venture capital or private equity firm, or original research with an entrepreneurship theme. The common element is that the work should provide original value and include some element of field research (e.g. focus groups, interviews, surveys, etc.).
The course works like an independent study in that there are no formal class sessions. Rather, enrolees work directly with the professor to frame the project and to check in once or twice during the term to ensure that the project is progressing.
Field studies should involve original field research and should speak to some aspect of entrepreneurship: start-up, venture capital, private equity, turnaround/buyout, corporate entrepreneurship, or family enterprise.
Course participants are welcome to choose and work on their own project. Indeed, this is the option commonly pursued. If you would like to do a field studies project but have not identified a suitable subject, the Professor may suggest a collection of pre-approved projects submitted by alumni, selected INSEAD partners, and professors.
Each field study should demonstrate that the project team member(s) have created original value and application to a specific situation. This usually involves the application of frameworks, models, theories or methods encountered in prior courses, or found in the literature, to a study question or problem at hand. It may also involve the original creation of such a framework, model or method, tailored to the relevant entrepreneurship context.
Ideally, field studies not only allow course participants to solve a problem, but also enable them to establish contacts with important industry professionals.
Deliverables for internal projects are negotiated with the professor. Deliverables for external projects are negotiated with the external professionals who have submitted a project proposal.
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Entrepreneurship in Action
Experiencing the early days of a new business start-up: A simulation
Entrepreneurship in Action uses a business simulation that puts participants in the shoes of an entrepreneurial team that is competing in a consumer durable market. The course objective is to simulate the management of a new venture in the critical second-round financing stage. The simulation begins after the successful launch of the company has demonstrated the existence and growth potential of a market, but before the business is established enough for an IPO or some other ‘exit’ vehicle for the initial investors and/or founders. During the course of the simulation, entrepreneurial teams develop their company’s strategy, including brand and market positioning, physical and human capital and manage operations in order to sustain profitable growth in an increasingly competitive market.
The highlight of this course is its relentless focus on action – participants take dozens of strategic and tactical decisions under enormous time pressure, significant uncertainty and intense competition to build their business.
Using the SIGMA ChallengeTM, participants will be immersed in an intensive business simulation that covers the different aspects of entrepreneurship in an international business setting. This course uses several techniques to accurately replicate the “pressure-cooker” environment that is typical of start-ups. First, the course is short and intense, lasting four days, anchored around a single weekend. Second, the class “sessions” run for a long time, sometimes lasting up-to 12 hours. Third, decision periods are time compressed and require immediate action in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity. Fourth, at all points in time, the management team needs to manage its cash position carefully to avoid getting into bankruptcy.
This environment enables participants to learn, experientially, the key skills and competencies that will let them hit the ground running when they execute their own venture idea or join a high-growth venture’s management team.
Ideal for careers in:
No final project but long days (just like in a real start-up!)
Family and Privately Owned Businesses
The unique dynamics and strategy of family firms
Family Business Management explores the how unique management, leadership, and governance challenges of a family firm arise from a set of key assets and constraints that are similar across firms, countries and cultures. The course applies thinking from multiple disciplines of economics and management research to address the fundamental decisions of ownership, succession, and exit in family firms. It uses a variety of teaching approaches that include case studies, lectures, benchmarking, exercises, class discussion, and guest speakers (depending on availability), and aims to deliver a set of tools to identify and execute efficient management and governance strategies that improve the well-being of the firms and the families behind the firms.
An important benefit from taking the course is the interaction between participants who have a family business background and participants who do not. The course is of interest to anyone who seeks a role in family business management or finance, including:
- Individuals who are members of families who operate a business
- Individuals with an interest in a career that includes employment in family businesses or other closely held firms, or consulting, banking, or other advisory roles for them
- Individuals with an interest in taking ownership or governance roles in family businesses, including buying or selling family firms either through a future management buy-in or through working in investment banking and/or private equity
Business schools have now recognised that family-controlled firms are both the prevalent form of business organisation around the world and that they create unique competitive advantages and challenges. Well-known companies like Bertelsmann, BMW, Cargill, Michelin, Tetra Laval, Hermes, Roche, Wendel, LVMH, GAP, Peugeot, Ford, Heineken, the Swire Group, Henkel, Kikkoman, Timken, Wal-Mart, Solvay, Lego, Yamaha have a family or families as controlling shareholder. They represent one third of the S&P 500 list in the US, between 80 and 90% in Europe and over 90% of the businesses in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Family firms are the most common firms participating in mergers and acquisitions all over the world.
The key points covered in this course include specific family business content but also process thinking that applies in any context:
- Acquiring long term planning tools to analyse and improving the sustainability of the current ownership and management structure of a family firm.
- Understanding the unique dynamics of family firms and the recurrent themes of family dynamics, business strategy, governance, ownership, finance, succession, and conflict.
- Developing new personal insights about you, your family of origin and your career (whether you are from a family business or not).
- Sharing experiences and interacting with other participants, guest speakers about the opportunities and challenges that family firms face, including challenges of family members or non-family employee, consultants, professionals or service providers working with a business family.
Ideal for :
Buying into entrepreneurship: Learning some of the strategies for success in a buy-out
This elective provides an introduction to the principles of leveraged buy-outs. It explores the main value creation strategies involved in successful leveraged buy-outs, and helps students evaluate the risks and rewards involved in each of them. The course has a strong practical focus, covering specific examples from the real world of buy-outs. There will be a heavy emphasis on case studies. Ideal for students seeking a career in private equity, corporate finance, management consulting or investment banking, but has overall relevance for those working in industry giving the increasing importance of private equity as an asset class.
This elective provides the opportunity to examine all aspects of leveraged buy-outs from both the point of view of the equity provider and other stakeholders – the management team, the banks, and the vendor. The course contains a strong flavour of the practical aspects of doing buy-outs both through the case-based nature of the programme and the use of visiting speakers who have been involved in the cases directly.
The introductory phase of the course will briefly cover how buy-outs work including mechanics and key issues, and will provide some contextual background to the industry to help participants understand the realities of buy-outs. This part will in particular emphasise that, in an increasingly “perfect market”, it is imperative that buy-outs must be based on a well-thought-out value creation hypothesis.
The specific cases in the course will illustrate some of the different value creation strategies implemented, using real life examples and focussing in detail on the key issues involved. In each of them, the class will work together to explore the risks and returns involved in each of the potential investments, and attempt to develop a common framework for analysing buy-out investments. To get most value from the course, you must read and be prepared for the discussions, both in terms of having completed the well-targeted preparation work and having an attitude determined to join the class discussions.
While the cases illustrate different aspects of the buy-out model they are also getting increasingly complex as the course progresses, culminating in a final practical team exercise. This last case will require the teams to submit a well thought out investment recommendation with a high degree of granularity around investment thesis, structuring and post investment value creation plan.
Ideal for careers in:
Managing Corporate Turnarounds
When times are good, nearly everyone can lead…
This course introduces students to the challenges of managing critical turnaround situations in corporations globally. It is known for its clear link to the Turnaround industry through recent case studies and the involvement of industry experts as guest speakers in class. The course not only teaches how to handle turnaround situations, but reveals the critical points in any company and thus making the lessons learned applicable to regular business practice as well.
To consistently preserve shareholder value throughout the ups and downs of the business cycle, it is vital to understand the reasons why companies slide into decline and what the mechanics of executing a successful turnaround are.
The course builds on the earlier classes in the MBA programme, is a natural follow on to courses in Entrepreneurship and Private Equity and is particularly relevant for those who are interested in working with investors in struggling companies or the management of distressed assets, and possibly (financial) consultants.
Course setting & overview
The current global economic crisis and recession will lead to a substantial increase in turnaround activities and demand for turnaround management expertise. The turnaround industry continues to attract new players such as private equity and hedge funds and is set to grow as the downturn plays out over the next two years.
The course discusses turnaround management by introducing the relevant theories, concepts & strategies with a close eye on best-practices in the industry. It gives up-to-date insights into the various stages and processes of turnaround management through the use of case studies and discussions with guest speakers from the industry and will be, where possible, set within the context of the present economic environment.
The following topics will be covered:
- The turnaround profession – who, what and how
- Turnaround management process – typical stages of a turnaround
- The role of Special Situations investment vehicles
- Managing internal and external stakeholders throughout the process:
- High level overview over the legal & financial aspects (Chapter 11 & bankruptcy laws)
- Marketing & operational aspects
- Change management & HR issues
- Communication with stakeholders
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Media and Internet
Asia in the Age of Digital Disruption
Media industries are in the midst of a fundamental transition from analogue to digital business models; it has become increasingly clear that a key result of digital disruption is an increase in the prevalence and importance of multi-sided platform business models in media and related industries. Indeed, the spread and extent of the disruption is already spreading beyond the immediate confines of traditional industry. Understanding the implications of complex platform business models for industry restructuring, business model and content innovation, true end-consumer orientation, and multi-channel, digitalized distribution platforms is becoming increasingly clear. At the same time, the growing markets of Asia have also emerged as an epicentre for understanding the implications of digital disruption and the emergence of business models to deal with it. Thus, the focus of the course will be on the Asian context and its implications for multi-sided platform business models. Regardless of size or location, understanding what is happening in Asia will help companies to create rather than destroy value as a result of digital disruptions.
In addition to discussing various sectors of the media industry, the course will focus on those core competences that will be needed to succeed in the future and apply them to the different media sectors. Much of the learning will come from guest speakers for specific topics who can talk about their experiences in the region and some implications for the accelerating globalization of media. The remaining learning will be more in a tutorial than lecture style, and a student defined project executed in consultation with the professor is the principal assignment.
The course will be taught in 7 sessions. In the first session, the professor will discuss the overall industry dynamics and key functional skills; the remaining lectures will be given over to expert guest speakers and panels discussing how they navigate these complex contingencies in the context of specific company situation.
New Business Ventures
Learning to build a business from scratch
This course assists students in understanding how to convert an entrepreneurial idea into an up-and-running revenue generating business. This is achieved through the analysis of key decisions that need to be taken to get the venture off the ground, as well as a discussion of frameworks and mind-set that entrepreneurs should adopt. Students will form a venture team, develop a business idea and finally pitch the idea to a panel of real angel investors. Historically, a number of projects have gone on to become real ventures.
This course is ideal for students who would like to start their own businesses at some point during their careers, students who intend to work with start-ups as employees, venture capitalists, consultants, fund managers as well as business developers in large enterprises. You will finish the course with the blueprint to start a new venture.
This course is also helpful for those students who don’t know if they are interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial career, but want to better understand what that would entail.
This course is designed to equip students with the tools required to set up a new business venture. Below are some of the questions the course will explore:
- How do you develop the initial idea for a venture? How do you test an innovative idea and ensure it isn’t too early for the market, or isn’t too risky? How can you successfully replicate ideas you have seen thrive in another market?
- Often, the management team is the most valuable resource that the new venture has. What kind of employees should the venture attract and how do you constructively manage the predictable tensions that start-up teams face?
- An entrepreneurial team that wants to implement a venture idea could have many different ways of entering the market and positioning the venture. How do you pick the most promising entry strategy and devise a high-growth business model?
The main pedagogical objectives of the course are:
- Experience the process: initiate the process of launching a business by working with your team on the Venture Design for a business opportunity.
- Acquire the tools: learn the frameworks and insights that guide and foster the creation of new ventures.
- Meet practice: learn from the experiences of seasoned entrepreneurs and early stage investors.
- Manage your entrepreneurial career: how do you position yourself to work in entrepreneurial ventures and manage a career as an entrepreneur?
By the end of the course students will be able to develop a concept for a start-up business, design a compelling business model, recruit the necessary team, and embark with confidence on their entrepreneurial journey.
Transformation through Venture Capital, Minority Investments & Buyouts
This course offers a balanced overview over the private equity landscape, covering both early-stage (venture capital) and late-stage (growth and buyout financing) investments. It focuses on the perspective of the private equity partnership (the fund), while also highlighting the important roles of the entrepreneur and limited partners. The course is premised on the idea that private equity is a negotiated process between the relevant parties, and that private equity partnerships are in the business of building businesses rather than structuring purely financial transactions.
After completing this course, participants will be familiar with the current institutional and contractual practices in the private equity industry. Participants will also be able to evaluate an opportunity for investment in a privately held firm; analyse and structure the financial section of a business plan; analyse and structure the term sheet of a private equity transaction; understand the strategic issues that private equity partnerships face; and build constructive, value-creating partnerships between entrepreneurs and private equity financiers.
The course is targeted at students interested in careers in venture capital and buyout firms, entrepreneurial start-ups, high-growth and established corporations that ally with and seek to acquire start-ups, as well as the investment management and consulting industries. The course will also be of interest to students interested in making personal investments in privately held firms.
Private equity plays a central role in the entrepreneurial process. A strong understanding of this industry is thus critical to entrepreneurs, managers and investment professionals alike. While the private equity industry itself has grown significantly in recent decades (from $5 billion in 1980 to over $2 trillion today in terms of AUM), success has added new challenges: the recent tsunami of capital provides an even greater reason for those involved in the entrepreneurial process to have a strong grasp of the dynamics of this industry, especially entrepreneurs.
This course is designed to give participants an insightful overview and a solid understanding of private equity and its place among other asset classes. Participants in this course will be better prepared to (1) raise funds from private equity sources for their firms, (2) conduct a job search in the private equity industry, (3) hit the ground running upon taking a job in private equity, and (4) network with private equity firms as entrepreneurs, corporate managers, or consultants.
Ideal for careers in/ as:
Private equity and venture capital
Start-ups and other entrepreneurial firms
Established companies that ally with or seek to acquire start-ups
Growth equity and buyout firms
Professional services (e.g., consulting)
Family Offices & SWFs
Board members of large firms
Excellent opportunities for networking in the private equity industry
Potential for ‘real-life’ projects with leading firms in the industry (GPs; LPs & startups)
High-profile guest speakers from GPs and institutional investors
Realising Entrepreneurial Potential
Entrepreneurship through Acquisition
You would like to be an entrepreneur but don’t have a brilliant idea for a start-up? This course is for students who, rather than launching a new venture, wish to become entrepreneurs by acquiring an existing business. Known as Entrepreneurship through Acquisition, it is a form of entrepreneurship whereby one buys a small to medium-sized business to run, grow and develop as its CEO. Through a series of case studies and experiential exercises, students will get a realistic view of this exciting path to entrepreneurship, while fully understanding the challenges and success strategies of doing so. As part of the course students do a project, which entails finding a company they could potentially acquire and present the investment proposal to a panel of real investors. Over the past few years, at about two REP participants per year acquire a company within 24 months of leaving INSEAD. And some projects have even led to participants to make offers for a business during the course.
The course is ideal for students wanting to buy and run their own business, and anyone who will be involved in acquisitions of private companies during their career – but, in the past, it has also been found useful by students with no such aspirations. One recent participant commented: “the course helped tie in and consolidate a lot of the other stuff I’ve learnt whilst being at INSEAD.”
This course looks at the world of acquiring existing companies for oneself, through a series of case studies and experiential exercises that bring to life the strategies and tactics to do so successfully. Many of the cases are based on INSEAD alumni who have gone out and “done it” and who join us in class to provide added context and insight. We examine the process of Entrepreneurship through Acquisition in a very detailed manner, learning through exercises and from the successes and failures of our case protagonists. We will cover the following topics:
Building a search process, assessing and valuing targets, and selecting a company to buy
Financing and structuring a deal
Due diligence, valuations, and managing transactions
Post-acquisition issues of taking the reins and running the business
Creating value for you and your investors by exiting your business
Finally, the course project, starting with organising a search process to find a company to acquire, and ending with a presentation of an investment proposal to a panel of investors, provides an excellent opportunity to put the knowledge into practice, and potentially become a real entrepreneur.
By the end of the course, participants should be fully aware of entrepreneurship through acquisition as a career option, should have a firm grasp of what is involved in this area of entrepreneurship, and most importantly, should have been able to assess his or her own comfort with it.
Ideal for careers in:
General management of SME’s
Final project (presentations in P5): Investment proposal presentations to potential investors seeking their backing in your proposed acquisition of a company you will run as CEO.
Understanding and engaging with the world of social entrepreneurship
This course is aimed at MBAs students who want to understand the key trends and innovations shaping the field of social entrepreneurship and impact investing worldwide. We will focus on topics such as business model innovation, managing organizations simultaneously for profit and for impact, the challenges of market creation, and the emerging area of impact investing. To help you discover how social entrepreneurship can contribute to your personal search for a more meaningful career and a positive impact in the world, the principal assignment for the class is an individual project that you define in collaboration with the professor. To facilitate this and make time for this assignment, the course is run in tutorial style, and two of the seven sessions are replaced by individual meetings with the professor. Because of the level of engagement required by the tutorial style, auditors are not allowed.
Social entrepreneurs are becoming a driving force for societal change and business innovation, leading the growing field of social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship is an approach to solving problems in society that is focused on value creation instead of value capture. It can occur in different organizational contexts and touches upon different sectors. The course will focus on advanced topics in social entrepreneurship.
On both campuses, the course is organized around guest speakers and the individual project; guest speakers bring valuable experience from the field that will have broad relevance for a variety of topics of relevance to the broad range of issues that students decide to address in their individual project.
Technology Venturing Practicum (Singapore)
Putting Innovation into Practice
This course focuses on the steps and considerations involved in developing a technology innovation from raw concept to market introduction. It is designed for MBA students interested in digital entrepreneurship and technology venturing in mobile app/SAAS/Web/Software sectors.
The course title – Technology Venturing Practicum (TVP) – reflects the experiential-learning, workshop nature of this offering. Due to scheduling constraints, the two campus offer TVP in different periods. SGP campus offers TVP – Digital Entrepreneurship in P5.
SGP: TVP in Singapore uses the Lean Start-Up model to teach the technology venturing process. MBA participants will form a TVP team with local students with coding skills to ideate a new venture opportunity in the digital space, and to build a working prototype (Minimum-Viable-Product or MVP) with initial market validation using the Lean Start-Up methodology. The 8 sessions will be conducted over 8 days where the team will undergo intense, hackathon-like sessions to build the prototype for initial customer discovery validation. The teams are expected to have a demonstrable working digital prototype of their web/mobile app and to “DEMO” the app to a panel of investors at the end of the one week. INSEAD MBAs are expected to be the business leads in the team, while the NP students are expected to design/build the MVP.
The key topics of Value Proposition, Customer Discovery, Business Model Canvas, Product Market Fit, Using Analytics to Validate New Businesses will be covered in the hackathon sessions. At the end of course, each team will have developed a working prototype and a pitch deck that can serve as the foundation for the project’s to pitch for investment. The expected format of this class is as follows:
Day 1: Session #1: Introduction & Class Structure
Day 2: Sessions #2/3/4: Team Formation with (NP students); Ideation; Lean Startup Methodology; Value Proposition; Business Model Canvas; Customer Discovery; Minimum Viable Product
Day 4: Sessions #5/6 UXD/Mockup of MVP app; Competitive Analysis; Beach Head Market; Market Sizing; Customer Acquisition
Day 6: Session #7 Customer Validation Progress; Product Market Fit; Growth Hacking; Pitch Deck
Day 8: Session #8 DEMO Day – Pitch to Investors
Ideal for careers in:
Business development advisory
Partner with local polytechnic students with coding skills (SGP campus only)
Technology Venturing Practicum (Fontainebleau)
Putting Innovation into Practice
This course focuses on the steps and considerations involved in developing a technology innovation from concept to market introduction. It is designed for MBA students interested in digital entrepreneurship and provides the essential tools for the commercialization process of app and software-based startups. The course focuses on the development and model creation of real innovations.
The course title – Technology Venturing Practicum (TVP) – reflects the experiential-learning, workshop nature of this offering. On the Fontainebleau campus we will partner with app development schools to build cross-functional teams of MBAs and coders for the development of real apps to address real market opportunities. Over 8 sessions the MBAs of each team will be tasked with the product idea and with creating and validating a commercialisation plan for their innovation; coders will focus on app development. The Business Model Canvas will help frame your team’s understanding of the innovation’s value promise, features and evolution, market fit and size, partner and customer profiles, and validation strategy. The span of the course will give you time to validate assumptions and strengthen the model. A working prototype and compelling business model are expected from each team by the final class.
Class time will be reserved for teamwork on the app development and business model creation, and invited speakers will join the class when relevant. In all cases the digital innovations are being groomed for real start-up creation. At the end of course, each team will have developed a minimally viable product and comprehensive commercialization plan that can serve as the foundation for the project’s business plan or investment pitch materials.
Ideal for careers in:
Business development advisory
Work done in student teams or with coding teams
Commercialization plan presentations: Pitches on plan details to invited judges, who are either experienced technology entrepreneurs or investors in tech start-ups.
Winning in Emerging Markets
How to develop winning strategies in emerging markets
The objective of this course is to provide start-up and corporate entrepreneurs with a clear understanding of the unique challenges and practical strategies in emerging markets, through the cutting-edge research, corporate case studies, hands-on projects, and guest speakers. This course will help you gain critical knowledge and skills in developing winning strategies in emerging markets.
Emerging markets, examples of which are the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and many others, represent the fastest growing business opportunities in the 21st century. The BRIC countries now contribute about half of global consumption growth. In particular, China contributes almost 30% of global consumption growth, almost double that of the United States. Emerging markets are what both multinational and start-up firms cannot afford to miss.
How do you build a business in an emerging market, be it a corporate venture or a start-up? How do you know whether the strategies you typically use in mature markets are going to be effective in emerging markets? What are the unique challenges in emerging markets? How can you overcome these challenges and turn them into value propositions for your growth ventures?
This course is to address these questions. You will be challenged by and learn the cutting edge of entrepreneurship. It will provide you with a clear understanding of the major management challenges and practical strategies in emerging economies, through the frontier of research, corporate case studies, projects, and guest speakers. You will learn the foundational framework and tools to analyse the opportunities and risks in emerging markets, develop critical thinking, and practice assessing and designing strategies in a wide range of business issues crucial to building growth ventures.
Given the breadth of emerging economies, we will focus on China (about half of the cases) while also discussing other emerging markets such as Brazil, Russian, India, Indonesia, and Turkey. The assumption is that despite the diverse environments in these emerging economies, firms share some common risks and opportunities posed by the market transition.
The course is targeted towards students with relatively less work experience in emerging markets, and is a highly recommended precursor to fieldtrip courses on doing business in emerging markets (such as China, India, and Brazil).
This course is well-suited for the following career goals: (1) to build businesses (corporate ventures or new start-ups) inside emerging markets; and (2) to equip those who want to work with such corporate and start-up entrepreneurs. Business managers who work in consulting, investment banking, private equity, and business development functions within multinational companies frequently need to find the best entrepreneurs as suppliers, partners, or channels. Therefore they need to be able to assess the potential outcomes of the strategies employed by these entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
Ideal for careers in:
Your First Hundred Days
You wanted to own a company, so you bought one, now it’s yours….
But do you really have what it takes to run it? Welcome to the toughest 100 days of your life.
This elective is intended to provide a taste of what it is like to assume managerial control of a company you and your team of fellow managers have just bought. To this extent, it is a logical follow-on to the Realising Entrepreneurial Potential course.
After a preliminary session during which you will sign all the contracts, covenants etc. associated with your acquisition, the course really gets under way as you walk into your new company to take over the reins. It then takes you through a series of events and crises simulating what you might well experience in the real world. Your mission, along with your management team colleagues, will vary according to the event. Sometimes you will simply have to state what you as a management team propose to do. At other times, you will actually have to go and do it. Above all, you will need to react to each situation in such a way as to ensure that the buyout will succeed in the long run.
Your conduit of communication with whomever you wish to communicate with, including course management, will be special dedicated email addresses.
This is not a ‘simulation exercise’ involving the taking of decisions and the feeding of those decisions into a computer programme. It is more in the nature of a ‘reality show’, attempting to give you the sensation that you actually are living through the first hundred days in your newly acquired company, and as such there will be many surprises along the way.
The entire course will be done with participants split into management teams. Indeed, if you wish to take the course, you need to have organised yourselves into groups of five before signing up, as the sign-up process will be done by group. The teams must apply as a management team – with each person signing up to take on a specific role in the company, which they will stay in throughout the duration of the course.
Ideal for careers in: