Curriculum

Our students start with the honesty to see things as they are, the courage to make tough
decisions, and the drive to persevere until they have made a difference.

Year 1


Semester 1

The MBA Toolkit

Entrepreneurial Journey

Operations & Costs Toolkit

Customers Toolkit

Life of Meaning

Semester 2

Operations & Costs

Customers

People

Year 2


Semester 3

Diving into the Numbers

Cash & Valuation

Opportunity Recognition & Analysis

Semester 4

Acton's Shark Tank

Launch

Growth

Harvest


(+) 1 Week to Austin, Texas

Year 3


Semester 5

Raising Money

Graduation

Integrative Courses

Tool Courses

The Messiness of Real Life From the Start

The integrative courses will take you through the entire lifecycle of a business. In each case, you are an entrepreneur facing one or more serious decisions that require you to bring together tools and skills from every business discipline.

From Simple Skills to the Messiness of Real Life

These courses deliver the tools and skills as you would experience them as an entrepreneur starting a simple business that grows into a more complex enterprise.

Toolkits and Bootcamp

Acton´s Shark Tank

Graduation

Disruptive Innovations

Integrative Courses


The Entrepreneurial Journey takes you on an adventure, from evaluating an opportunity in pre-launch, to launching a business, growing it, and finally to harvesting the profits. From the first day of class, you will be challenged by complex predicaments regarding customer selection, pricing, production methods, financing, and hiring, often as unarmed as the real-life entrepreneurs who star in the cases. At each stage of the journey, you will stand in the shoes of an entrepreneur and make tough decisions, squeezed by the demands of your customers on one side, and the need to make and deliver your product cheaply enough on the other.


For any given opportunity you have an almost infinite set of choices with regard to customers, cost structure and competitive positioning, all within an ever-changing context. Only by examining these choices discretely, and experimenting with different combinations, can you choose the arrangement likely to give you the most money, for the smallest investment, in the least time, with the lowest risk.  Moreover, for an opportunity to be attractive to you as an entrepreneur, it must also fit well with your skills, risk preference, patience, values and aspirations.


The Launch course is all about starting a business with limited resources, often under extreme time pressure, and through trial and error building a sustainable business model. By the end of the course you should be able to determine the minimum commitment of time and money it will take to launch a business and reach critical mass, clearly define, through trial and error and selling to customers, who will make up your first “niche”, learn to prototype and stage investments when sales volumes are low, while retaining the option to efficiently ramp up production if sales soar; recognize which assets can be rented or borrowed and which must be owned, craft deals that “make the pie bigger” by finding investors who bring more than money, learn to avoid “self-employment traps” and more.


In the Growth course, you will experience what it is like to stand in the shoes on an entrepreneur who is facing the overwhelming pressures of growing a company, and take action. You will see how the pressures and decisions facing an entrepreneur change as the size and complexity of a company grows. You will learn how to shift from doing everything yourself, to simple delegation and finally installing processes and systems to manage a more complex company.


The Raising Money course provides the tools, skills and judgment you need to supply your business with the right amount of external funding, on the right terms, with a deal structure that adds value. By the end of the Raising Money course, you should be able to evaluate an opportunity and clearly explain to a financier the reason you need money, define how much you will need and how likely it is that any or all of the investment will be lost; decide if you should raise funds in the form of debt, equity or a hybrid form; establish who you should approach to raise the right amount of money, in the right form at the lowest total cost; craft a robust deal that adds value; and make a compelling presentation to potential investors.


Selling or exiting a business is never easy. It is an emotional time. The business is part of you and your identity. You have long lasting and important relationships with customers, suppliers and employees. The stakes are high. You are fearful about what you should do next with your life. But all good things must come to an end. And it is your responsibility to know when it is time to harvest, and not overstay your welcome.

Tool Courses


Acton’s Operations and Costs course (OPS) prepares you to determine what you need to make and deliver to satisfy customers, analyze and design production processes, estimate the cost per unit and how it will change with volume and anticipate the effects of variability and uncertainty on quality and costs in the real world.

This course combines a variety of approaches (case discussions, simulations, problem sets, help sessions and plan tours) to help you master the tools and develop the perspective and intuition of a skilled entrepreneur.


The Cash and Valuation course delivers the financial tools, skills, and judgment you need to maximize the value of a firm and your equity in it.  At Acton, we believe that the main purpose of financial skills is to help you make better operational decisions. We see accounting as a discipline that collects data for finance. As such, the main focus of the Cash and Valuation course is how investments and operational and financial decisions affect the free cash flows to the owner of a  business. The value of your company will soar if you measure cash, invest it wisely, and continually increase free cash flows by serving customers well. Run out of cash and your business dies.


At Acton, we believe that each of us has special gifts, personality traits, and ways of seeing the world that are best suited for certain types of companies. Systems and processes are important. So is the ability to motivate people. The People course helps you understand your gifts, ambition and views on human nature so you understand what type of opportunity best fits with your talents. In addition, it will help you define a compelling vision, a clear mission, and the concrete Key Success Factors your employees need to execute for the business to thrive. By the end of the course, you will be able to describe whom you need “on the bus” to make your business succeed, create a process that attracts, screens, hires, coaches, and rewards the right people and reassigns or fires those people who are in the wrong place; build an efficient organization that serves your customers‟ needs and celebrates honesty, transparency, and accountability and construct systems to monitor your progress and keep people headed in the right direction.


The single most important step in launching an entrepreneurial venture is finding, attracting, qualifying and closing customers who have intense, unmet needs. The Customers course delivers the tools you will need to identify your customers’ needs, price products appropriately, and locate customers and convince them to buy your product or service. By the end of this course you will be able to question and listen to a customer and discover his or her unmet needs, use the sales techniques you’ve learned to close an individual sale, segment your customers and set prices and design and run a sales funnel in an efficient and effective manner that attracts higher and higher quality customers, while lowering the average cost per sale.


Living a life of meaning is about living life with intent. It’s about deeply, honestly knowing ourselves. And it’s about developing the wisdom to appreciate that this brief spark of consciousness of ours is an enormous, rare privilege—one in which we’re capable of extraordinary things. As such, Acton’s Life of Meaning Course (LOM) is designed to help you know yourself—your strengths, your passions, even your dark side—and to help you chart a course forward and blueprint those extraordinary things. 

LOM provides what few—if any—business schools do: the tools and resources to evaluate and take stock of your life and to view it in the context of your entrepreneurial aspirations. It doesn’t matter which leg of your adventure you’re on—upon meeting a big milestone, after selling your business for more money than you’ll ever need, during the middle of a rut, or looking back at the end of life—the diagnostic tools you’ll earn in this course will be invaluable.

More


Toolkits and Bootcamp are designed to expose you to the philosophies that are the foundation for the Acton MBA curriculum and prepare you with the vocabulary and “nuts and bolts” tools and skills you will need in your case classes. After completing each toolkit, you will have a clear understanding of the quantitative skills delivered in the accounting and finance materials, a firm grasp of the frameworks and a thorough understanding of the concepts covered in the assigned readings.


For the Acton´s Shark Tank, you will make an individual or team presentation to potential investors. This assignment tests your ability to analyze an opportunity, identify a promising source of financing, pitch your case persuasively, and handle tough questions from prospective investors. You will love this experience!


Our goal is to educate a new kind of MBA: one who is equipped to add value from day one, build successful businesses, raise a healthy family, and give back to his or her community. If you work hard learning to use the tools and ask the difficult questions, by the end of the Acton MBA Program, you will have: learned how to learn, learned how to make money and learned how to live a life of meaning. For more information about the graduation ceremony, visit: http://graduacion.ufm.edu/


This course will prepare you to harness innovation, lead breakthrough change, and sustain enterprise success by:

  • Creating and sustaining a strong position in an evolving industry
  • Driving innovation
  • Making better decisions through strategic analysis and predictive frameworks

The Acton MBA is an internationally acclaimed business school designed, led and taught by successful entrepreneurs, dedicated to inspiring and equipping the next generation of principled entrepreneurs.