Final Synthesis Paper on Entrepreneurship (500 words)

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Writing/Format Guidelines

For the paper, there is a minimum word limit of 500 words (excluding your title page, abstract, diagrams and tables, references, and appendices and a maximum of 600 words. Please use vigorous and concise writing -- use strong and effective words that provide meaning. Determine first your message, and articulate that message in your paper. Avoid at all costs the tendency to simply provide information. And always remember that graduate-level coursework requires graduate-level effort.

Citations/References (optional): If students choose to use references they must be prepared in accordance with the standards set forth in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition, or a similar style manual (i.e. APA style). 

Format: Please ensure that you incorporate margins of 1 inch on all four sides of pages; 12 point Times New Roman font (or similar font); single-spaced body text; and page numbers centered at the bottom of each page, including the title page.

Note: The intent of the 500-600 max word count is to encourage students to write something that is insightful and meaningful -- and in doing so demonstrate insight and the ability to communicate a high level of comprehension. In this course students are rewarded for focused effort and thoughtful engagement. Please understand, the assignment is to write a meaningfully thoughtful and powerfully concise paper. Yes, we all understand that compressing all the material and all your thoughts into 500-600 words is DIFFICULT. It is intended to be. 
Synthesis Paper Topic: The Nature of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity

The subject matter of this course is narrow relative to the broader field of business. As a result, we will take a deep dive into this narrow topic of Entrepreneurship. By the end of the semester, we will have examined issues involving (1) entrepreneurship, new venture creation, and small business management; (2) innovation and market disruption; and (3) creativity and the design school. In addition, we will explore how the role of functions interact and contribute to their larger social, legal, and business environments.  You will have read and discussed various theories relating to self-employment, entrepreneurial intentions, the startup process, value creation, sustainability, market acceptance, opportunity recognition and exploitation, intellectual property, entrepreneurial performance, the nature of technology, the future of work, and the management of creativity and innovation. You will have completed assignments requiring research and personal reflection on entrepreneurship and related topics.  This Synthesis Paper is your opportunity to demonstrate your command of the course’s subject matter.

As graduate students you are expected to demonstrate a high level of critical thinking – an ability to transcend knowledge and truly understand – an ability to connect the dots and make sense of otherwise seemingly disparate information. Most importantly, you are expected to have an opinion, an evidence-based and logical defensible position. This Synthesis Paper is an opportunity for you to express your position on the Nature of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity. The Socratic Skill Builders assignments throughout the semester have been designed to provide ideas and material for your synthesis paper.

As we will discover, Entrepreneurship can be complex and confusing. For example, does entrepreneurship require innovation? Or maybe it requires novelty? Or maybe simply new venture creation? For example, if you start a hot dog stand business, are you an entrepreneur? There is nothing innovative about a hot dog stand, but maybe this is your first experience with hot dog stands, so the business and market are NOVEL to you. But what if you then start a second hot dog stand business? Now it's not innovative, and not novel. But you did create a new venture, so does starting the second hot dog stand business qualify as entrepreneurship? And what if you buy into a hot dog stand franchise as a franchisee - are you an entrepreneur?

Your paper might encompass the entirety of the course, attempting to synthesis the essence of entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity. Your paper might attempt to synthesize the different paradigms of entrepreneurship presented in the course. Your paper may speak to your personal experience starting your own new venture, or your ambitions and emotions related to becoming an entrepreneur. Or you may attempt to focus on one of the following questions. What is entrepreneurship, and how does it relate to financial wealth creation or personal happiness? What are the most important issues, advantages, and challenges facing wantrepreneurs (nascent or incipient entrepreneurs). The specific topic is yours to choose.

This Synthesis Paper represents YOUR view of entrepreneurship and innovation.  While you should use the concepts and language developed in this course to demonstrate your command of the subject, this is not an exercise in regurgitation. I want to know your thoughts.

Examples of what is NOT ACCEPTABLE:

The following are examples of the kinds of MBA submissions that have earned a failing grade on the synthesis paper (many of these examples lead to a score of less than 10%):

  1. A random brain dump, or compilation of all the topics covered in the course. These types of summaries are entirely worthless. They make no sense.
  2. A personal documentary, such as a detailed description of your own experience as CEO, without substantial reference to the theories and concepts presented in the course.
  3. An opinion editorial document that is simply your opinion, with no reference to the materials presented in the course.
  4. A childlike and timid writing about what you think, void of confidence and command of the concepts and ideas presented in this course. These filled-with-apprehension papers often sound like, "I think this, and I believe that, and in my opinion..."
  5. A narrow topic that does not incorporate a significant number of concepts and ideas presented in this course.
  6. A paper (or portion thereof) written for another class. Enough said - this Synthesis Paper must be original.
  7. A critique and summary of the "Lean Startup" book, that could have easily been lifted from the web, or written by someone outside of this class.
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