You are here: MCEI | Teaching | Master | MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship

MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship (2016)

MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship (2016)

Course Syllabus

Founders and co-founders of startups such as Amorelie, contagt, Coffee Circle, Leaf Systems, Stocard and many others are students or alumni of the University of Mannheim. They all are examples of successful entrepreneurs, who have pursued new business opportunities in an innovative and path-breaking way. This course is about gaining a general understanding of entrepreneurship and its underlying theoretical foundations (lectures) combined with more applied elements (case studies + business model project). Dealing with current and classical theories on entrepreneurship, the theory part aims at giving students a solid insight into the early stages of the startup lifecycle. The applied elements give students the possibility to train their skills and enhance their entrepreneurial toolkit. In the applied part, students will e.g. gain familiarity with the POCD (People Opportunity Context Deal) framework, business model analysis, identifying key value drivers of a new venture, customer acquisition cost (CAC), customer lifetime value, marketing in the early stage of a startup, basic financial modeling of a startup, and a basic introduction to seed financing and venture capital. Founders and experts will come to our Startup Lounges and Founder Talks - these inspirational events go hand in hand with this class and your attendance of these  open to public inspirational events is strongly recommended. Overall, the course is intensive and requires students to carefully prepare, read and understand the course material (remember that 6 ECTS are a total workload of up to 180hrs). Active attendance and participation is strongly recommended. Even though we will have some hands-on elements in MAN 630, our applied class to found your own business is MAN 631. If you like theory and reading next to some practical insights or just want to obtain a solid foundation in what is entrepreneurship and see where the inspiration will take you, MAN 630 is the proper class for you. MAN 630 sets focus on the nascent stage of startups up to seed and pre-Series A stage. Generally, our course is designed to enable you to get a grasp of the big picture - we work with a variety of theoretical lenses, literature and practical insights. This requires you to connect the dots and to engage in substantial self-study to read and reflect. This is not a class to learn things (i.e., slides) by heart and just jot them down on the final exam - just to prevent a mismatch of expectations.

Course Outline

The lectures will introduce students into classical and modern economic, psychological and sociological theories of entrepreneurship. Different types of entrepreneurship will be discussed and its importance for economies will be highlighted. Further topics covered are business model creation, financial evaluation and financing the start-up. Our Startup Lounges and Founder Talks will bring in lots of practical insights and networking opportunities. The Case Study Sessions follow an applied approach and complement the theory that you learn during the lectures. We are of the opinion that you can only fully understand and master theory (e.g. how to plan, finance and operate entrepreneurial start-ups), if you apply theory to its relevant practical context. Accordingly, we strongly recommend 100% attendance and kindly ask you to prepare cases thoroughly prior to the sessions. Case Study Sessions are fully exam relevant. The purpose of this course is to provide students with both theoretical knowledge of entrepreneurship and practical skills for setting up businesses. Dealing with current and classical theories and recent empirical evidence on entrepreneurship, the lectures aim at giving students a solid insight into entrepreneurship research. The Case Study Sessions put students into situations in which they have to apply their knowledge and train their entrepreneurial skills. Note that we will not write any business plans in this class but learn, e.g., how to get LTV, CAC and cash flow management right while also looking at entrepreneurship from various scientific lenses. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students

  • will have gained fundamental insights into theoretical perspectives on entrepreneurship
  • have learned tools that facilitate starting a business
  • have some idea on how investors look at new ventures
  • will be acquainted with case study training and elements of problem-based learning (PBL)
  • have a solid foundation for, e.g., a seminar or master thesis at our chair - especially theses "Inside the Venture"
  • have improved their problem solving capabilities

Registration 2016:

Please register via the Student Portal during the central registration period (September 5-11). Make sure to login with Portal² before you click on the link. In case of excess demand for a class, there will be a central lottery/ spot allocation conducted by the Dean's Office of the Business School of the University of Mannheim. We cannot influence the outcome of this student allocation. Please do not ask us for exceptions or waiting list positions before the course allocation has been completed. In general, as this class is predominantly lecture-based, we can usually accommodate all candidates. Approach us in class after the central registration period if your desired course choice for MAN 630 did not work out.  


Registration for Case Study Sessions

You might be able to register for Case Study Sessions via the Portal but should ignore this option - make sure to apply for the core course. The reason why the class also pops up as an "exercise session" (in German: "Übung") is solely for internal room booking purposes. It is not necessary to register for case study sessions upfront. We will coordinate case study groups via the MCEI pages when enrollment is final. 

Place and Time

The course will start on Thursday, September 8, 2016 in room M001 (Castle). The lecture units will be always be held on Thursdays from 15.30-17.00 in M001. The Case Study Sessions vary in dates and time. Note: Please do not blame us for varying dates and rooms for the case study sessions - we have to request the rooms and this is what we got. If you cannot accommodate a case study session with your schedule, please switch groups. 

Our new (still to be re-designed) DesignLab will offer you lots of space to be creative an be available as of October - just in case you want to put your own ideas into practice next to class. 



Dr. Jan Zybura, Andrew Isaak, Nora Block 

Student Obligations

Our students are expected to join and support our Startup Lounges and Founder Talks on a regular basis - it is part of your homework. Transferring insights from class to the real world by learning from real startups and their challenges forms a substantial part of your learning. Remember that networking is an enabler of amazing opportunities. In general, the course is intensive. It requires students to carefully prepare all cases, read and understand a lot of material, and participate actively in class and case discussion. Readings are important to understand applications and follow the lectures and class discussions. All students are expected to participate in the case discussion and students will be frequently (cold) called upon to illuminate their view on the topic, both theoretical underpinnings and applications. Even though the class is evaluated on a 100% final exam basis, your active participation will benefit you significantly. Students purchase the case studies themselves and prepare them upfront (


Final examination (100%) [Please note that Case Study Sessions are exam relevant and 100% attendance is recommended])



Readings & Resources



  • see detailed course outline below
  • additional recommended readings
    • Storey & Greene (2010): Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Pearson Education, Harlow. (Some books (about 35) will be available in the university library (Lehrbuchsammlung).These readings are mostly supportive rather than essential. 
    • Shane (2003): A General Theory of Entrepreneurship: The Individual-Opportunity Nexus. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham  (course readings available).
    • The Lean Startup (Portfolio Penguin), Eric Ries
    • If You Really Want to Change The World (HBR), Kressel and Winarsky

Course Material:

All course material (where applicable) will be provided via the MCEI Group 'MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship HWS 2016'. We will not use ILIAS at any point in this class. Please do not be irritated by the ILIAS option not being available. 

Tentative Timetable (subject to change)


Title and Contents

Session 1

September 8th


1.     Entrepreneurship in the Mannheim Master in Management (MMM)

2.     Course Introduction

3.     Who is the Entrepreneur?

Core Readings:

  • Shane (2003): Chap. 5
  • Bhide, A. (1996) “The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer"
    Harvard Business Review, November-December 1996, pp. 120-130.

September 13th



Session 2

September 15th


1.     Who is the Entrepreneur is the Wrong Question

2.     Understanding Entrepreneurship

Core Readings:

  • Gartner, W. (1989) “’Who Is an Entrepreneur?’ Is the Wrong Question”, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 3.
  • Shane & Venkataraman (2000). The Promise of Entrepreneurship as a Field of Research. The Academy of Management Review, 25
  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 1, 2 (skim-read)

Homework: Prepare Case 'Apple's Core'!

Session 3

September 22nd


1.     Defining and Measuring Start-Ups

2.     Analyzing & Measuring Business Growth

3.     Growing the Business

Core Readings:

  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 11 & 12 (just skim literature)
  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 13+14+15 (just skim literature)

Session 4

September 26th

Case Study Session

1st Case Study Session: Apple's Core

1.     What makes a true founder?

2.     How to evaluate a founding team?

Session 5

September 29th


1.     An Economist Perspective & Subjectively Expected Utility

2.     Ecology Perspective

Core Readings:

  • Shane (2003): Chap. 4
  • Kirchhoff, B.A. (1991). Entrepreneurship‘s Contribution to Economics. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 16 (2): 93-112
  • Aldrich, H.E. (1990). Using an Ecological Perspective to Study Organizational Founding Rates. Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Spring 1990.
  • Ruef, M. (2006),"Boom and Bust: The Effect of Entrepreneurial Inertia on Organizational Populations” (skim-read article)

Session 6

October    6th


1.     Nascent Entrepreneurship and Social Networks

2.     Social Networks, Opportunity Recognition & Resource Mobilization

Core Readings:

  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 6 & 7 (skim literature)
  • Stuart & Sorenson (2005): Chap. 10

Homework: Prepare Singulus Case!

Session 7

October  13th


1.     The Institutional Context of Entrepreneurship

2.     In-class case: Singulus

Core Readings:

  • Shane (2003): Chap. 7
  • Williamson, O.E. (2000). The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead. Journal of Economic Literature, 38 (3).
  • Storey & Greene: Chapter 19 & 20 (skim literature)
  • Homework: Prepare CNBC Case!
  • Pre-Evaluation and Exam Q&A – What to improve?

Session 8

October  20th


1.   Evaluating entrepreneurial opportunities

  • How do you evaluate a business opportunity?
  • Business model analysis

2.   In-class case: CNBC Evaluating entrepreneurial opportunities

  • How do you evaluate a business opportunity?
  • Business model analysis

Homework: Prepare DropBox Case!

Session 9

October  27th

Case Study Session

1.     Case Study Session: Drop Box 

  • Business model analysis
  • Profitability calculation
  • Identifying key value drivers & sensitivity analysis

Session 10

October  27th


1.     International Entrepreneurship

 Core Readings:

  • Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Global Report 2013
  • Jones, M.V., Coviello, N., Tang, Y.K. (2011). International Entrepreneurship research (1989–2009): A domain ontology and thematic analysis. Journal of Business Venturing 26:6, 632-659.

 Session 11

November 3rd


1.     Innovation

2.     Innovation Ecosystems

Core Readings:

  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 5
  • Stanford University’s Economic Impact via Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Isaak, R., Isaak, A., and Zybura, J. (2016). Replicating Silicon Valley: Talent and techno-management in a culture of serendipity. In Wang, H. and Liu, Y., editors, Entrepreneurship and Talent Management from a Global Perspective – Global Returnees, pages 149–187. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Homework: Prepare Zip Car Case!

Session 12

November 9th

Case Study Session

1.     Zip Car Case

  • Business Modeling
  • “Fishboning the business model”
  • Unit economics

Session 13

November 10th


1.     Financing the early stage venture

2.     Building fast growing companies

 Guest Lecture with Funding Expert

Homework: Prepare Financial Modeling case for next session!

Session 14

November   16th

Case Session

1.     Case Study Session: Financial modeling for start-ups

Session 15

November 17th


1.     From Nascent to Early Stage to Seed and Series A – reflections on the lessons learned.  

2.     Course Evaluation

Session 16

November 24th


1.     Course Wrap-Up, Exam Q&A

Please note that the final session may cover exam relevant material.

 We are looking forward to having you in class!


E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Related items

  • After a short Christmas break, MCEI successfully entered 2017 and the new semester. In the spring term 2017, MCEI launched its new courses (MAN 453 & MAN 633), continued our...
  • New format at herCAREER 2017: Male founders and start-up teams, who are looking for a co-founder, are given the chance to present their startup as well as the area and the tasks...
  • The bw:con: CyberOne-Roadshow offers a comprehensive program of events for founders and young companies with information and reports on entrepreneurial experience covering many...
  • Invitation to an exciting evening. Roundtable at MAFINEX, C4 for founders, managing directors, project managers, developers, explorers and more. The speakers are Dr. Petruta...
  • As part of the innovation strategy at Bayer, we are running the Dealmaker program for mature startups, companies, research institutions and/or universities. The program...


  • University of Mannheim
  • Institut für Mittelstandsforschung
  • Gründerverbund
  • ESF
  • Europäische Union
  • Baden-Württemberg - Ministerium für Finanzen und Wirtschaft
  • Absolventum