Social Entrepreneurship Courses at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

Core Courses:

Social Entrepreneurship

MGT 426

Social Entrepreneurship is about creating and leading organizations and companies that strive to advance social change through innovative solutions. Entrepreneurship is a high-risk endeavor in which 8 out of 10 new ventures are expected to fail.  Yet, against these odds, social entrepreneurs are trying to accomplish some very long-term and ambitious goals: end inner-city poverty, improve public education, reduce global warming, and improve healthcare around the world, to name a few.  How do successful social entrepreneurs achieve long-term, sustainable change and impact?  And how do social investors pick the best of them to invest in and nurture?

Corporate Social Impact Management

MGT 491

In this course, students will examine how corporations can become more effective at managing their social impact, improving the relationships they have with all of their stakeholders in the process. Many corporate social impact challenges will be addressed through-out the course. Recent debates about issues such as obesity, tobacco and alcohol marketing, the withdrawal of Vioxx, immigration, and gasoline prices will receive special attention.

Global Consulting Practicum


The Global Consulting Practicum (GCP) is a field study course for students enrolled in the full-time Master of Business Administration
(MBA) degree program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. As part of the GCP, Duke MBA students have the opportunity to learn about, visit, and actively engage with social enterprises and businesses serving base-of-the-pyramid markets in developing economies. Client organizations gain high-quality business consulting from teams of  talented young business leaders. Throughout the course, the student teams work from the United States, communicating consistently with the client organization via phone and email, and also have a two week, in-country field visit to gather information and work on projects. Faculty and staff work closely with the student teams to provide coaching, subject matter expertise, monitor  progress, and manage relationships with client organizations.

Advanced Seminar in Social Entrepreneurship

MGT 491

This course provides students an opportunity for a deeper exploration of the theory and practice of social entrepreneurship than is possible in a first course. Students will engage with Prof. Greg Dees to explore the role and limits of social entrepreneurship as a tool for creating sustainable and scalable social impact, paying particular attention to the tensions that surround the use of market-oriented approaches to address social problems and the implications of these tensions for the design of effective social ventures. In order to provide a concrete context for exploring these issues, the seminar will focus attention on the various problems associated with global poverty and the potential for social entrepreneurship to address these problems.

Entrepreneurial Finance


This course is aimed at students who are considering a career in the entrepreneurial sector. This includes students who wish to start or purchase new ventures, those who wish to join rapidly growing organizations, or those who wish to work in private equity, venture capital or business development in large organizations. This course is designed to complement FINANCE 457, Venture Capital and Private Equity. This course focuses on the perspective of the entrepreneur, while VCPE focuses on the perspective of the venture capitalist. As a result, this course covers many topics, like strategic alliances, joint ventures, and angel financing, that VCPE does not cover. Likewise, VCPE covers a number of topics, such as syndication, limited partners, and fund structure, that are distinct from this course. Neither course is a prerequisite for the other. Nevertheless, students who are deeply interested in entrepreneurship would benefit from being exposed to the material in both courses.

Mentored Study in Entrepreneurship


The course is designed for students who wish to experience an entrepreneurial career path (whether or not they plan to be involved with such a venture in the near future) and who are willing to invest the effort required for such an experience. Participating students are placed into part-time internships during the school year with local entrepreneurial start-up and early stage companies, non-profit organizations, real estate developers, venture capital firms, and other entrepreneurial ventures. There are no exams. Grades will depend on (1) evaluations of student work by the participating organizations and (2) the quality of the experience as evidence by written reports generated by each student. The time commitment is intended to be the equivalent of a normal one term course, but is spread over two terms to provide sufficient continuity to benefit both the student and the participating organization.

Entrepreneurial Strategy for Innovation-based Ventures


This course is intended to provide prospective entrepreneurs with information and tools for evaluating opportunities for starting a new firm how to choose markets for entry, when to enter, and what resources and capabilities it will take to enter and provide a platform for future growth. Although the course will focus especially on entry into innovation-intensive industries such as computers, software, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, communications equipment, it will provide background essential to entrepreneurial ventures of all types. The course is designed to address the needs of students who either hope to pursue start-up opportunities upon graduation or in preparation for entrepreneurial activities at later career stages.