Tech MBA Curriculum

At Mercatus we believe that knowledge is just the beginning — and that it’s the practical application of knowledge that’s important. That’s why we create lecture-free, totally immersive learning environments, laser focused on real-world applications – developed by successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.

FOUNDATIONS

The module begins with a blended learning experience during the first semester of our program. During this initial four-month period, you’ll engage in a series of interactive online courses – including cash and valuation, operations, customers and discovery – to prepare you with a strong foundation to take into the pit on day one of the in-class semester of the program.

Students typically spend about 20-25 hours per week with the material during Pre-Matriculation. The classroom portion of the program begins the next semester and takes place in Kiev, Ukraine.

These courses cover three central concepts that are key to running a business:

finding customers with an intense need (“How do I sell it and to whom?”),
building a way to meet that need for less than you sell it for (“How do I make and deliver it?”), and
counting the cash at the end of the day so you know you won’t run out (“Will it add value?”).

The courses were created by the master entrepreneur-teachers from Acton’s award-winning MBA program.

  • Finance

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  • Customers: Sales & Marketing

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  • Operations

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  • Life of Meaning

    All courses also integrate questions central to living a life of meaning and challenge to develop the habits, values, and judgment that lead to long-lasting success and fulfillment.

  • Personal Growth

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CORE COURSES

Individual Preparation
Our classes are focused on cases, each of which requires hours of individual concentration and preparation beforehand. Plan on devoting between five and eight hours of study to analyzing each case in depth.

Study Groups
Study Groups are like prototypes for class. You’ll arrive at Study Group each morning fully prepared to stand in the shoes of the case’s entrepreneur. Your group will choose a peer to open the case, and for over an hour you’ll describe and defend your positions with them. If you haven’t prepared, it’ll show.

Classes
Classes begin with a “cold call,” a challenging question the teacher poses to a single student to open the case. What comes next is eighty furious minutes of analysis, argument, and fervent persuasion. Individual contribution is critical.

  • Cash and Valuation

    In Cash & Valuation you will learn to coordinate, control, and fund the sales and operations of a business. By the end of the course, you will know how to write a strategic plan, craft a budget, design responsibility centers for an organization, and understand how different incentive systems affect behavior.

  • Customers

    In Customers, you will learn how to sell, recruit, motivate, manage a sales force, set prices, and segment a market.

    Sales Challenge: Understanding sales is one of the most critical skills for any entrepreneur, yet most of the MBA programs in the world doesn’t teach you how to sell. In the Sales Challenge, you and your classmates will sell a real product to real customers. You will learn firsthand what it takes to design and deliver a sales plan, meet a sales quota under competitive pressure, and work under a demanding sales manager.

  • Operations

    Operations & Costs teaches you to design, operate, and optimize an assembly line or service process; to analyze tradeoffs among customization, batch, and continuous-delivery systems; and to calculate throughput, cycle times, and the costs of bottlenecks. By the end of the course, you will be able to break any business into a series of discrete steps and understand what it costs to make and deliver what your customer wants.

    Manufacturing Simulation
    You will spend two weeks designing an assembly line for the Shad Exercise, a hands-on operations simulation from the Harvard Business School. You will see firsthand what it takes to plan, build and run a manufacturing process as your team competes to make and deliver products of the highest quality of the lowest cost.

  • People

    People are the hardest part of any business. In the People course you’ll learn how to attract, select, hire, coach and communicate with your team.

  • Life of Meaning

    Companies cannot survive unless they make money, but life is about more than just maximizing cash flow. Throughout our program you will learn how to balance the demands of family, business, and community while working to discover your calling in business and in life.

  • Career and Personal Growth

    Crafting a career is a tough challenge. In this course you will

    • discover your marketable skills and what it takes to build a great career.
    • learn how recruitment works and what tech companies value in a candidate.
    • develop your action plan and engage the process.

LAB EXPERIENCES

To really understand how innovation and entrepreneurship work, you need to practice making new products, launching new businesses, solving growth problems, and making mistakes in a safe environment while working on real life challenges.

That’s why we offer three hands on experiences – Product Lab, Startup Lab, and Growth Lab – that will make knowledge and skills that you acquire in the program applicable to real-life problems.

Product Lab

Experiencing first-hand how the product development process works in the real world.

Startup Lab

Learn how to develop a new startup from ground up. Develop and evaluate hundreds of business opportunities.

Growth Lab

Learn the skills and judgment necessary to grow a company. Practice growth tools and techniques on real challenges.

PRODUCT LAB

What’s the best way to get to get real-world product development experience? Develop product ideas that respond to the strategic business needs of real companies and organizations.

And that’s exactly what you and your classmates will do in Product Studio as you develop digitally-enabled products that respond to challenges posed by businesses and nonprofits.

  • Product Management Course

    Learn about and develop product management skills by putting those abilities immediately to use on real projects. You will learn about a different aspect of product management, product design, or technology development.

  • Product Development Workshops

    Practice applying product development and management skills to real projects, working in the Lab with in teams and with the help and input of the practitioner instructors. By the end of the course, you will have developed and practiced many of the fundamental product management skills required to develop new technology products.

  • Product Challenge

    In Product Challenge you will experience first-hand how the product development process works in the real world. You and your classmates will develop and present new products, services and strategies that respond to challenges posed by companies and startups.

STARTUP LAB

Dreaming starting your own business? Or maybe leading technical innovation within an existing company? In any case, knowing how to identify and refine a good product idea, pitch it to investors, and bring it to market are essential tools of success. ​
  • Lean Startup + Startup Challenge

    Lean Startup will teach you how to start a business or a new product/service like they do in Silicon Valley.

    In the Startup Challenge you will come up with a business idea, defend it in front of your classmates, work in a team to explore the opportunity, and  make a team presentation to a panel of potential investors.

    The Challenge tests your ability to analyze an opportunity, identify a promising source of financing, pitch your case persuasively, and handle tough questions from prospective investors.

  • Opportunity Discovery

    In Opportunity Discovery you will learn how to discover and evaluate a business opportunity.

    We will do a deep dive into all major tech opportunities, like blockchain, AI, VR/AR, cybersecurity, gaming, etc. You will meet with industry and technology leaders and find out from them latest development in each field.

  • Raising Money

    Raising Money teaches you how raise the right amount of money, at the right price, from the right people. You will learn to calculate how much money your company needs, who is the perfect investor, and how to craft a deal that adds value for everyone.

GROWTH LAB

Growth Lab teaches you how to identify and execute a profitable growth strategy, including how to attract new customers and suppliers, discover and execute on growth opportunities.

All our lab experiences provide great opportunities to connect with the local tech community and build relationships within startups and established tech companies.  Also, one of the key learning objectives are for you to develop people skills and the professional attitude.

  • Growth Course

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  • Growth Hacking Workshops

    Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation to identify the most efficient ways to grow a business.

    The course is very practical and full of examples of best practices. You will be introduced to an abundant list of tools that are easy to use at a low cost and perform well. This course will show you cutting-edge techniques and help you develop a growth mindset.

  • Growth Challenge

    You will work with a tech company to solve a real business challenge. The benchmark of a successful assignment will be the satisfaction of the client’s needs.

TREK TO ISRAEL

Trek to Israel includes 1-week tour to the startup nation.

The trek’s main objective is to engage students in an active and meaningful way with firms in the digital economy; to understand the challenges they face; to interact and experience working with people and startups from different culture; and to gain insight that will help students in their professional life.

tudents work in teams on a consulting project with an Israeli startup to help solve some of the challenges the firm faces. During the trek itself, students visit the companies and present their solution to the startup; also students will visit other tech companies, RnD centers, other startups, venture capital firms, and innovation centers.

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