Our acclaimed curriculum
100s of real-life challenges, 0 fluff.
You’re a self-starter. You’re consumed by the big ideas that haunt you day and night. You’re fueled by a competitive drive to prove yourself.
Textbooks, mere theories, and meaningless electives? They’re not for people like you.
You want to be a big player in business—and that means you need a curriculum built by big players. A curriculum that’ll throw you squarely in the middle of entrepreneurial battle, force you to make tough decisions on the fly, and compel you to prove you’ve got the character it takes to make life-or-death decisions regarding your business.
That’s what you’ll find at Acton.
This is how the academic year looks like at Acton
|January / One week||Boot Camp|
|January - July / once a week||Cash & Valuation|
|January - April / twice a week||Entrepreneurial Journey|
|January - April / once a week||Opportunity|
|January - June / once a week||Life of Meaning|
|May - July / once a week||Launch|
|May - August / twice a week||Operations & Costs|
|July - September / twice a week||Raising Money|
|September - November / twice a week||Growth|
|August - November / twice a week||Customers|
|July - November / twice a week||People|
|November / twice a week||Harvest|
Don't miss your chance. Enroll today to Entrepreneurial Journey, Cash & Valuation, Life of Meaning and/or Opportunity!
Begin January 9, 2017
End April 27, 2017
Cash & Valuation
Begin January 9, 2017
End July 17, 2017
Life of Meaning
Begin January 20, 2017
End June 23, 2017
Begin January 11, 2017
End April 26, 2017
|Integrative Courses|| The Entrepreneurial Journey Course |
|Tools Courses|| Customers Course |
Cash & Valuation
Operations & Costs Course
Raising Money Course
|Life of Meaning||Life of Meaning Course|
Before classes start, you will receive an extensive package of materials, including our set of "great books on business and life," computer simulations, accounting and quantitative exercises, and tutorials on the case method.
A rigorous Boot Camp session introduces you to your classmates and prepares you for the first half of case discussions. Demonstrations of the case-study method, team-building exercises, quantitative sessions and Life of Meaning exercises round out an intense week.
The first half includes our flagship course, The Entrepreneurial Journey, the Life of Meaning course, and three Tools courses, Customers, Operations & Costs, and Cash and Valuation.
The three tools courses - Customers, Operations and Costs, and Cash & Valuation - deliver the tools, skills, and frameworks you need to sell products, make and deliver them, and count the profits.
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 no other MBA program in the world teaches you how to sell. In the Sales Challenge, you and your classmates will be assigned a geographic territory where you 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 & Costs
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.
You will spend two weeks designing an assembly line for the Shad Exercise, a hands-on operations simulation used only by Acton and 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.
The Waterloo Project is Acton's version of the Shad Exercise for a service business. The call center simulation replicates three different types of call centers-car rental, flight status, flight reservation-each with different handling processes and process times. You and your classmates must design a call center with the goal of maximizing the net income of the call center.
- Cash & 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.
- Entrepreneurial Journey
The Messiness of Real Life from the StartThe Entrepreneurial Journey course takes you through the entire life cycle of a business: from Opportunity Analysis to Gathering Resources to Launch, and then from Growth to Harvest. In each case you will stand in the shoes of a real entrepreneur facing difficult decisions that require you to draw on skills in sales, operations, finance, and accounting. You will learn to make real decisions under extreme pressure.
- The Entrepreneur's Lab
The Entrepreneur's Lab teaches that the trial and error approach develops and sharpens the skills needed in every Hero's Journey in entrepreneurship. This experiential learning course does not have its own logical course flow, but instead is a series of experiments and sessions sequenced to reinforce and support the other fall courses.
Presentation and Communication Coaching
You will get feedback from your peers on your communication style and coaching on how to connect more powerfully and effectively when you're selling an idea or persuading an audience.
Consumer Behavior Exercise
In this exercise, you will be decided into groups to interview real consumers about a particular product, in an attempt to get you "in the shoes" of a customer.
Making the SaleYou will be guided through a series of sales exercises so you can find and overcome your own selling "blind spots," or how you react in perplexing and irrational but predictable ways.
During the second half, four courses dig more deeply into each phase of business covered in The Entrepreneurial Journey course: Opportunity Analysis, Gathering Resources and Launch, Growth, and Harvest. A fifth course, Raising Money, delivers valuation, money-raising, and financial skills needed to fund your business. The People Management course arms you with the tools to effectively manage people and create a company mission and vision. Life of Meaning
- Opportunity Analysis
Opportunity Analysis teaches you how to evaluate a business opportunity. You will learn to attract customers, efficiently make and deliver products, deter competition, and determine the overall risk and reward of an opportunity.
- Gathering Resources and Launch
This class is about turning a good idea into a thriving company - how to gather the resources, find the right people, craft deals, and survive the first year of an entrepreneurial start-up..
Growth teaches you how to identify and execute a profitable growth strategy, including how to attract new customers and suppliers and raise money on attractive terms.
In Harvest you study all aspects of selling a business: attracting the right buyer, valuing your company, negotiating the right price, and closing the deal.
- 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.
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.