Art (and Science) of Entrepreneurial Thinking

The School of Business is offering a 1-credit hour block class during the Spring 2019 semester. Here’s a preview of the course syllabus.

BSAD 470 – The Art (and Science) of Entrepreneurial Thinking

BSAD 470 Special Topics in Business – The Art (and Science) of Entrepreneurial Thinking, 1 Credit hour


None, except for some form of passion to learn how to “think outside the box” to solve significant problems (for profit or charity).


Doug Villhard: successful St. Louis entrepreneur, founder, investor, philanthropist, and Truman alumnus who actively manages, invests, and serves on the boards of “for profit” companies and “nonprofit” organizations.

The course meets during the first block of the Spring 2019 semester and will meet two hours per week. Approximately four hours of out-of-class work is expected each week. A one day field trip to St. Louis is a required component of the course.


Virtual office hours to be determined


By the end of the course students will be able to:

  •  Identify problems facing a significant market
  • Gather feedback on potential solutions
  • Estimate the investment necessary to take the solution to market
  • Present a concise pitch to potential investors


  • This course is simply about learning to “think” like an entrepreneur
  • We’ll focus on the 6 key steps to entrepreneurial thinking:
    • Recognizing problems faced in a growing market
    • Brainstorming potential solutions for those problems
    • Differentiating those solutions from competitors
    • Soliciting (lots of) feedback from potential customers
    • Revising and testing solutions based on feedback
    • Estimating the investment necessary and returns possible to scale to the next level
  • And then we’ll wrap it all up into a 2-minute “elevator pitch” for your original business or charitable idea


The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimal Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback by Dan Olson. Available at Amazon.


  • Wednesdays from 8:30 to 10:30, VH 1412
  • 1 In-person 2-Hour “Kick Off” on campus on January 16, 2019.
  • 5 Weekly Virtual 2-Hour Class Video Discussions
  • 1 Day-Long Field trip to visit St. Louis entrepreneurs on January 23, 2019
  • 1 In-person 2-Hour “Wrap Up” on campus on March 6, 2019.



  • Attendance.
  • Weekly assignment: quiz, reflections, or projects related to the 6 steps to entrepreneurial thinking.
  • Reflections on takeaways from guest entrepreneur speakers and St. Louis field trip.
  • Class Final: A short write up and video recording of a no longer than 2-minute “elevator pitch” for an original business or charitable idea (based on the 6 steps and meeting the Truman Bulldog B.I.T.E Elevator Pitch Competition submission criteria).


  • Class and field trip attendance equates to 25%.
  • 7 weekly assignments combined equate to 50% of the grade.
  • The Final equates to 25%.

Technology Necessary

  • Students will need a Google gmail account login.
    • All assignments will be turned in via Google Docs
    • All virtual discussions will be conducted via Google Video Hangouts
  • Out of class discussions and office hours will be conducted via Slack (an instant messaging tool)
  • These technologies above (in addition to email) are essential for modern entrepreneurs.

Students are expected to attend and be prepared to actively participate in each class. In spite of best intentions, however, sometimes absences occur. For planned absences, please notify me via email at least one week before the absence, and attach appropriate documentation (for example, athletes will provide a letter from the coach). For unplanned absences, please notify me via email as soon as reasonably possible. If you are not sure what is considered appropriate documentation for your particular situation, please don’t hesitate to ask me. Students who miss class are responsible for contacting the instructor or a classmate to receive updates on any changes to assignments, quizzes, due dates, etc.

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