Course: ENT497
Instructor: Derek Lidow
F 2019

Description of Course Goals and Curriculum

Entrepreneurship Leadership aims to teach you concepts and techniques that are important to forming an entrepreneurial team and being an effective leader. The class covers leadership broadly starting from startups to grown enterprises. The goal of the class is not only to help you understand how to lead for profits, not for profits, or board committee’s but also to have you understand your own leadership style and how to accomplish ambitious visions that you set. This class is not about the nuts and bolts of raising money or incorporation of a business, rather it tries to teach you how leadership impacts organizational success. The main leadership topics and concepts covered by Professor Lidow in this class are:

  • What is an entrepreneurial leader
  • What is your leadership style and how to lead yourself
  • Stages of Enterprise Maturity and Process / Project Management
  • Motivating Others and Relationship Building
  • Organizational Culture
  • Ethics and Crises
  • Leading Teams
  • Hiring and Firing

Learning From Classroom Instruction

There are two hour-and-half lectures in a week. About a third of the lectures feature prominent entrepreneurs that Professor Lidow brings in to speak about their own journey as entrepreneurial leaders and managers and to answer questions from the students. The speakers are usually quite accomplished and interesting, so it definitely benefits you to quickly research each person before they come in and prepare any specific questions that you want to ask. Professor Lidow usually makes you submit 3 questions for each speaker as part of the homework and he will choose a couple of questions to ask during class.

The rest of the lectures involve Professor Lidow teaching leadership frameworks and the Harvard Business School cases that you read beforehand as assignments. He will sometimes cold call on students to answer basic questions about the cases and class is participation based. Because non-speaker lectures are all discussion, make sure to read the cases beforehand. Lectures will usually try to connect the case studies to concepts about leadership and frameworks that come from Professor Lidow’s book, so make sure to also read any chapters of the book that are assigned. You don’t need to do a lot of rote memorization to succeed but be careful to remember to larger concepts that you read about. The key to doing well in class is to participate and ask questions. I took a few notes on the most important concepts that came up during class to help me bring them into discussions later.

Learning For and From Assignments

Since this class aims to teach about leadership, you work in teams throughout the semester. Professor Lidow will assign you to 3 different teams where you will need to complete an assignment and usually turn in two short powerpoint deliverables and meeting notes each week. There is a rotating leader that prepares an agenda for the meetings along with a scribe to take the meeting notes. The assignments sometimes require you to do a little bit of research and a lot of the time require you to do team activities ranging from describing your strengths together as a team to building block structures together. The team assignments do not usually take long, and my teams all just did both assignments for the week in one sitting. You should plan to allot around 2 hours per week to meet together for the team assignments.

The other regular assignments are reading HBS (Harvard Business School) case studies before every lecture. Professor Lidow assigns 3 questions per a case study that you have to answer before midnight on the day before lecture. He is super lenient on the questions and gives you credit as long as you write about a paragraph for each answer. Overall, the assignments for this class I found super lightweight. The cases are not usually too long so make sure to read them since class focuses on discussing the cases. I found the cases to be quite useful to think about the leadership concepts talked about in class.

There are also two books that you must have for the class assignments. One is the book published by Professor Lidow, Startup Leadership, which you will occasionally read chapters from and discuss in class. The other book is Gifts Differing which talks about the Myers Briggs personality types and there is one section of class where you go over how your personality type plays into your leadership style.

There are no traditional kinds of exams for this class. For the midterm, Professor Lidow had our teams compete in a strategic block building game during class. Winning requires a bit of creativity and luck, however Professor Lidow mainly grades each team on effort and conceptually on how they created the building strategy as a team. The final is partly building a mini bootstrap company with your team and also writing a 1600 word Personal Leadership Strategy (PLS). For the company portion, to get a good grade you need to make sure to cover all the requirements that Professor Lidow lists and make sure you have at least one customer. For the PLS, I found that as long as you are reflective and genuine and used the strategies from class to set your goals, the paper is well received.

External Resources

This class does not require outside resources at all to do well. Just make sure that you get access to the HBS cases from the beginning since you have to read two every week. Otherwise, Professor Leader also makes references to his own book Startup Leadership occasionally which he requires that you buy for this class. If you are confused about any of the objectives of the team projects, you can email Professor Lidow and he usually responds quickly or you can go to his office hours.

What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection

Even though this course is a higher level entrepreneurship course, I took it as my first ENT course and did well without any background knowledge. You will do well if you just read all the case studies, engage in class discussion and complete the team assignments the best you can. The course is valuable for understanding leadership on a conceptual level and I think it’s a good and relatively low-demand class to have in your repertoire if you are planning on getting the Entrepreneurship Certificate.
Entrepreneurship Leadership

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