Bard MBA

Business Pragmatics

Spring 2014

The key learning objectives for the course are:
  • Understanding how to start your own business—the nuts and bolts entrepreneurship
  • Understanding sources of capital
  • Learning how to develop networks and mentors for your personal and professional growth
  • Learning how to assess and manage acquisition opportunities
  • Understanding how intellectual capital can often hinder collaborations and innovation, particularly in sustainability
Student Outcomes:
The class is designed to be a practical course, going deeper on topics covered in the rest of the MBA program. We will help students dive into a number of areas critical to their future career development as well as focus more broadly on entrepreneurship and continued personal development after graduation.

  • Bamburg, Jill, Getting to Scale, Berret Koehler, 2010.
  • Hirsh, Michael, Michael Peters and Dean Shepherd, Entrepreneurship, McGraw-Hill, 2009.
  • Elkington, John, Pamela Hartigan and Klaus Schwab, The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets that Change the World, Harvard Business Press, 2008.
  • Strine, Leo E., Jr., “The social responsibility of boards of directors and stockholders in change of control transactions: is there any ‘there” there?”, Southern California Law Review v.75, 1169-1188, 2002.
  • Gollin, Michael A., Driving Innovation: Intellectual Property Strategies for a Dynamic World, Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • Additional readings will regularly be assigned from a number of other books, academic and journal publications.
The course will be a combination of lectures, case studies, group discussions, and student projects. Active participation in class discussions will be essential. Grading will be determined by participation in in-class exercises, case analysis, group presentations, completion of homework, and exams.

Course Outline:
The Bard MBA curriculum is modular, with each module topic corresponding to a residency. The outline below provides the Business Pragmatics set of topics for each of the semester’s modules, with each set of topics corresponding to three to four weeks of conventional instruction.

Module Topics
Intrapreneurship Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship: Starting a SME. We focus here on the nuts and bolts of starting your own business: choice of business form; boards; tax and labor issues. We consider a final time the skills and capabilities that differentiate entrepreneurs from their corporate counterparts and the steps to get your new idea off the ground 
Decision making: Experience-based vs. Information-based M&A assessment. We look at the rationale for acquisitions and diversifications, common pitfalls, stakeholder perspectives on M&A, and how to manage acquisitions. 
Getting to Scale Accessing capital. We focus on understanding the different sources of capital and the roles of various institutions from banks to insurance to microfinance. We will look at the benefits and drawbacks of each of the models. 
The Edge of Innovation Managing intellectual property. The role of IP is evolving. In some parts of the world, such as China, IP is often at risk, while in certain areas of innovation and growth, IP management can be a stumbling block to collaboration. We focus on how to manage your IP to promote collaboration but also protect your organization from theft.
Celebrating Success Continuous personal development. We consider how to foster a personal and professional network for continuous growth in your career and as an individual. We look at the topic of mentorship and how to identify and work with mentors and mentees.