Spotlight on Lab Courses at Booth

Entrepreneurial Discovery

Entrepreneurial Discovery students (from left) Greg Johnston ’18, Brittany Genelin ’18, Erica Watkins Ryan ’18, and Aviv Shalgi ’18 discuss next steps on an assignment while in class.

Entrepreneurial Discovery students (from left) Greg Johnston ’18, Brittany Genelin ’18, Erica Watkins Ryan ’18, and Aviv Shalgi ’18 discuss next steps on an assignment while in class.

While most of my fellow Autumn 2016 entrants in the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Programs have focused their first quarters on completing Foundation Courses, I’ve been mostly heads-down in electives. Aside from the Creative Writing class I wrote about before, I am also enrolled in Entrepreneurial Discovery.

Entrepreneurial Discovery was established to service the first “D” in the D4 innovation process for entrepreneurship at Booth (i.e. Discover, Design, Develop, Do) and doubles as an initial step on the road to the Edward L. Kaplan ’71 New Venture Challenge. In fact, several former students of the course have gone on to be part of winning teams at NVC, including the 2016 winner, Transparent Career.

Since its creation, Entrepreneurial Discovery has been taught or co-taught by Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and Polsky Entrepreneur-in-Residence Mark Tebbe. Tebbe is a veteran entrepreneur—having sold two successful tech companies post-IPO, an angel investor, and a highly regarded tech industry leader who is now sharing his wisdom with aspiring entrepreneurs at Booth.

Now at seven weeks in, I have to agree that the learning experience is worthwhile for any student with entrepreneurial inclinations (and can make it down to Hyde Park for a daytime class during the week).

Responsible Leadership Through Choice Architecture

New to this academic year is the Responsible Leadership through Choice Architecture lab course. Co-taught by Professor Heather Caruso and behavioral economics thought leader Professor Richard Thaler, RLCA provides students with the opportunity to engage in a yearlong consulting-based learning experience with real clients.

I had a chance correspond with Professor Caruso earlier in the quarter to check in with her and get her thoughts on the course.

Q&A with Professor Caruso

KA: How did the course come together and why the lab format?

HC: Trying to keep our own teachings in mind, Richard and I realized that leaders won’t automatically become effective and responsible choice architects just because we give them Nudge, Misbehaving, and other information about the usefulness of behavioral science. It is critical to also create an environment that helps our present and future leaders actually start using choice architecture as a tool, and by bringing students and real organization leaders together in a hands-on laboratory course, we aim to do just that.

KA: How has the student reception of the class been so far?

Klariza Alvaran, Class of 2019

Klariza Alvaran, Class of 2019

HC: We’ve been delighted to see the enthusiasm of so many students—both at Booth and across the university—for our new course. Although it was hard to have to turn many of these students away in order to keep class size appropriate to the complexity and intensity of the workload, we have been glad to see that our enrolled students are deeply and earnestly engaged, benefiting not only from the greater attention we are able to provide as a teaching team, but also from the balanced scope and scale of partner organization projects, and the intimacy and camaraderie of the small class size.

Klariza Alvaran works at Curiosity.com and does freelance marketing. She enjoys writing sci-fi, crocheting hats, and making music.