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MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship (Fall 2019)

MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship (Fall 2019)

Course Outline

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 projects). 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 and our class to either further develop your advanced own startup or join a startup with a student team ist MAN 633. 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. We will discuss in lecture settings and have 3 to 4 additional case study sessions in which student teams will present their solutions and advice to startup challenges. Thus, theories presented will be combined with real-life cases. Additionally, guest speakers (i.e., entrepreneurs and/or academics) may come to class to shed light on specific topics of interest or how they have overcome challenges. 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. Case presentations will be a team effort. Beware of the following upsides and downsides: The course is tons of fun and highly rewarding but challenging and demanding in terms of its self-study elements and the case study team efforts. If your expectation is a class with lectures to randomly attend, this might not be your first choice.

What you can expect from us is a fun and rewarding atmosphere in class paired with optional Founder Talks and Startup Lounges (evening events) throughout the semester to get in touch with lots of role models, business models and a fair chance to develop your networks. Overall, you can expect a perfect introduction to central theories in entrepreneurship and the Startup Ecosystem at and around the University of Mannheim and beyond.

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 case solutions thoroughly (team effort). 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.

Side note on choosing MAN 630 vs. alternatives:

You should choose MAN 630 if you...

  • are interested in combining insights from lectures with readings at home and with insights gained from speakers in Startup Lounges, Founder Talks and in class to maximize your learning.
  • are interested in startups and entrepreneurship in general and want to gain a top-level view on both entrepreneurship in theory and practice.
  • like the practical world but do not want to lose sight of the underlying academic foundations.
  • love aiming for the big picture and love discussing topics of interest from a variety of angles.
  • do not like courses based on keywords and phrases to learn but on concepts to put into perspective and forming your own sophisticated line of argumentation.

You should, however, not choose MAN 630 if you...

  • expect this to be a multiple-choice-style course of memorizing material and then jotting buzzwords down on the exam. Our interactive style of teaching and a wealth of readings will get you frustrated – focus is set on understanding concepts rather than memorizing them.
  • expect teaching staff to tell you what to learn and what to forget – this is up to you (see point above).
  • want to develop or advance your own startup project in class. Apply for MCEI courses MAN 631 or MAN 633 Own Venture Track instead.
  • want to advance an existing startup project and get the feeling of what it is like to work in a startup with all the responsibilities this brings along, join MAN 633 Inside the Venture Track instead.


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, students will have...

  • 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)
  • will have improved their case solving and presentation skills
  • 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



Interested students must register via the Student Portal ( within the general registration period. Please note that attendance is restricted to 120 participants. In the unlikely even that there are more registrations than spots available, spots will be assigned randomly and those not obtaining a spot will be assigned to a waiting list (due to fairness criteria we cannot perform first-come first served). By the second day of class, your decision to stay in the class must be final, so that students on the waiting list have a fair chance. Usually, all students are granted a spot after the registration process consolidates and the Dean's Office has taken into account your course and module priorities. 

In case you lack a UM student number (Matrikelnummer) please send an e-mail to the course coordinator (see contact below). You will be added manually to the class once you have obtained and provided us with your student ID. However, please make sure to register and obtain your Ecum card immediately after your arrival in Mannheim. You can only be officially added when you are fully enrolled in the University. Students who encounter Portal² problems are kindly requested to contact RUM Support

Registration for Case Study Sessions

You might be able to register for Case Study Sessions via the Student 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 MAN 630 Course Group once the course enrollment is final. You will form teams for this course and each team has to pick a Case Study Group. You can swap groups by Case Study Session given your availability if there are open time slots to present or teams who move to your session. Students who miss the Case Study team formation in Session 2 and the subsequent team effort will fail this part of the course (50% of their grade). Students may (by exception) miss out on individual sessions if they have engaged in the team effort of preparing the presentation and the team is okay with their absence. Dropping the class after team formation is not possible (see introduction lectures), as this would lead to fricticon and unnecessary strain on the teams. 

MCEI Platform registration next to Portal² (no ILIAS being used) 

Next to your Portal² registration, we kindly request you to join our course group on the MCEI platform ( Instructions will also be provided throughout the first sessions and via e-mail to all students who have registered via Portal². In this class, we will not work with the University of Mannheim ILIAS system. You need the MCEI course group to obtain your study material and stay up to date regarding all course information and relevant discussions. In case of trouble signing up, please contact the course coordinator.

Student Recommendations

Our students are encouraged to join our Startup Lounges and Founder Talks on a regular basis - it is part of your entrepreneruial experience. 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 discussions. Readings are important to understand applications and follow the lectures and class discussions. All students are expected to participate in the case discussions and presentations. Your active participation will benefit you significantly in preparing for the exam, which is a continuous learning endeavor in this class rather than 1 week of learning materials by the end of class. Students, if applicable, purchase the case studies themselves and prepare them upfront (Harvard Business School Publishing). MCEI cases will be provided via the course group.


Place & Time 

  • Lecture: September 5 - December 5 (Thursdays) from 3:30pm - 5:00pm, Place: M003 (Schloß, Ostflügel-Wilhelm Müller Hörsaal)
  • Case study presentation sessions will be coordinated at your team's convenience once enrollment is completed. The sessions will be 3x1h each (i.e., 4hrs in total). 
  • Our MCEI DesignLab in L9 1-2 will offer you lots of space - just in case you want to put your own ideas into practice next to class or want to develop your case solutions like a startup.



Written exam (50%), Presentations (40%), Peer Evaluation (10%). Please note that dropping the class after team building in Session 2 is not possible and will lead to failing the class. 


Persons in Charge

Professor: Prof. Dr Michael Woywode

Course Coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Course Load and Language


Language: English


Readings & Resources

Readings & Resources:

  • See detailed course outline below.

Additional Resources:

Course Materials: 

All course material (where applicable) will be provided via the MCEI Group 'MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship HWS 2019'.
We will not use ILIAS at any point in this class. Please do not be irritated by the ILIAS option not being available.


Additional Information

Please note: We will be taking pictures in some of the sessions of the course for documentation and future marketing measures in the context of future courses and our MCEI formats. You will be asked to sign a relief form during the first session. If you do not want to sign the relief form, we kindly ask you to stay out of the camara focus. We will annouce, when we are taking pictures. 


Preliminary Schedule (Fall 2019) please check back for updates!

Session 1 | September 5 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Entrepreneurship in the Mannheim Master in Management (MMM) - General Introduction for all students
  • Course Introduction MAN 630
  • What is Entrepreneurship?

Core Readings:

  • Shane (2003): Chap. 5.
  • Bhide, A. (1996) "The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer" Harvard Business Review, November-December 1996, pp. 120-130.
  • Welter, F. (2011) “Contextualizing entrepreneurship - Conceptual challenges and ways forward” Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 35(1), 165-184.

Recommended Readings (over the entire course):

  • Ries, E. (2011). The Lean Startup. New York: Crown Business.


 Session 2 | September 12 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Who is the Entrepreneur
  • Who is the Entrepreneur is the Wrong Question
  • Understanding Entrepreneurship
  • Forming Case Study Teams (attendance is crucial - coordinate via MCEI Group upfront if you cannot attend!)

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.

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 1, 2 

Homework: Prepare Case Study


 Session 3 | September 19 | L9 1-2, 210

1st Case Study Session

  • Group 1: 10.15-11.15 (4 teams, 15min. each)
  • Group 2: 11.30-12.30 (4 teams, 15min. each)
  • Group 3: 12.45-13.45 (4 teams, 15min. each)


Session 4 | September 19 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Defining and Measuring Start-Ups
  • Analyzing & Measuring Business Growth
  • Growing the Business

Core Readings:

  • Morrison, A., Breen, J., & Ali, S. (2003). Small business growth: intention, ability, and opportunity. Journal of small business management41(4), 417-425.
  • Welter, F., Baker, T., Audretsch, D. B., & Gartner, W. B. (2017). Everyday entrepreneurship—a call for entrepreneurship research to embrace entrepreneurial diversity. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice41(3), 311-321.
  • Wyld, D.C., & Maurin, R. (2011). What Matters More in Growth Companies: The Leader or the Idea? Academy of Management Perspectives, 23(2), 95-96.

Recommended Readings:

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


Session 5 | September 26 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • An Economist Perspective & Subjectively Expected Utility
  • Ecology Perspective

Core Readings:

  • Baumot, W.J., & Strom, R. J. (2007) Entrepreneurship and economic growth. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 1(3-4), 233-237.
  • 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.

Recommended Readings:

  • Ruef, M. (2006),"Boom and Bust: The Effect of Entrepreneurial Inertia on Organizational Populations” (skim-read article)


Session 6 | October 10 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Nascent Entrepreneurship and Social Networks
  • Social Networks, Opportunity Recognition & Resource Mobilization

Core Readings:

  • Davidsson, P., & Honig, B. (2003). The role of social and human capital among nascent entrepreneurs. Journal of Business Vemturing, 18(3), 301-331.
  • Garcia-Lorenzo, L., Donnelly, P., Sell-Trujillo, L., & Imas, J.M. (2018). Liminal Entrepreneuring: The Creative Practices of Nascent Necessity Entrepreneurs. Organization Studies, 39(2-3), 373-395.

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 6 & 7 (skim literature)

 Prepare CCNB Case (in class case Session 7) - Lecture Slides for Session 7 provide guidance. 


Session 7 | October 17 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Evaluating entrepreneurial opportunities
    • How do you evaluate a business opportunity?
    • Business model analysis
    • POCD, LVC, CAC
    • CCNB Case (in class case) to demonstrate application of frameworks

Core Readings:

  • Wood, M. S., & Williams, D. W. (2014). Opportunity Evaluation as Rule-Based Decision Making. Journal of Management Studies, 51(4), 573-602.
  • Foss, N. J., Klein, P.G., & Bjornskov, C. (2019). The Context of Entrepreneurial Judgment: Organizations, Markets, and Institutions. Forthcoming in Journal of Management Studiesk.

Homework: Prepare 2nd Case Study


Session 8 | October 24 | L9 1-2, 210

2nd Case Study Session

  • Group 1: 10.15-11.15 (4 teams, 15min. each)
  • Group 2: 11.30-12.30 (4 teams, 15min. each)
  • Group 3: 12.45-13.45 (4 teams, 15min. each)


Session 9 | October 24 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • The Institutional Context of Entrepreneurship

Core Readings:

  • Williamson, O.E. (2000). The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead. Journal of Economic Literature, 38 (3).
  • Pacheco, D.F., York, J.G., Dean, T.J., & Sarasvathy, S.D. (2010). The coevolution of Institutional Entrepreneurship: A tale of two theories. Journal of Management, 36(4), 974-1010

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey & Greene: Chapter 19 & 20 (skim literature)

Pre-Evaluation and Exam Q&A – What to improve?


Session 10 | October 31 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • International Entrepreneurship

Core Readings:

  • Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Global Report 2018 and selected elements of other years 
  • 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

Homework: Prepare Case!


Session 11 | November 7 | L9 1-2, 210

3rd Case Study Session

  • Group 1: 10.15-11.15 (4 teams, 15min. each)
  • Group 2: 11.30-12.30 (4 teams, 15min. each)
  • Group 3: 12.45-13.45 (4 teams, 15min. each)


Session 12 | November 7 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Innovation
  • Innovation Ecosystems

Core Readings:

  • Ahlstrom, D. (2010). Innovation and Growth: How Business Contributes to Society. Academy of Management Perspectives, 24(3), 11-24
  • 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.

Recommended Readings:

  • Storey & Greene (2010): Chap. 5

Homework: Prepare Financial Modeling case for next session!


Session 13 | November 14 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Financing the early stage venture
  • Building fast growing companies


Session 14 | November 21 | L9 1-2, 210

4th Case Study Session: Financial modeling for start-ups

  • Group 1: 10.15-11.15 (4 teams, 15min. each)
  • Group 2: 11.30-12.30 (4 teams, 15min. each)
  • Group 3: 12.45-13.45 (4 teams, 15min. each)


Session 15 | November 21 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • The first 100 days: Building a venture from scratch
    • Lessons learnt in building a venture based on the „Rocket Internet Blue Print“
    • Step-by-step process for the first 100 days 
    • Selected examples from InstaFreight experience
    • Presentation and Q&A (small breakout session, optional)


Session 16 | November 28 | M003 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm

  • Q&A opportunity regarding your exam preparation




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

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