SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Kevin Jackson

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The course that’s missing from every MBA curriculum

“How to outsource” – a course where you have to build something (that actually works) using only offshore teams or individuals.

Syllabus is simple. Give each student $500 in credit on eLance/oDesk and let ‘er rip. Students can pool resources to build bigger/cooler stuff or they can go it alone. Throw in a mentor or two who have run some serious but scrappy outsourced dev projects to help people when they start flailing.

Benefits to the students are huge:

- They learn how to hire, fire, and manage freelancers. Lots of MBAs have zero management experience so this is a good training ground for those all important ‘HR’ like functions.

- They learn some of the tools of distributed development (e.g. Github, Trello).

- They’ll learn what is possible to build based on the $ constraints (i.e. What can $500 ‘really’ buy you).

- There will be wide variance in the quality and cost of the final products. Therefore, lots of ‘lessons learned’.

- Just maybe they build something super cool that they can keep working on or build into a real venture.

Benefits to the startup ecosystem: More ideas that can be tested, more products that can be built, and less people giving up on entrepreneurship.

 


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More Stories By John Gannon

John Gannon is an Associate at L Capital Partners, a $165-million fund looking to advance companies with the potential to take groundbreaking products to market. He blogs at http://johngannonblog.com. Prior to joining L Capital Partners, John worked with Highland Capital Partners and Chart Venture Partners to identify and evaluate new opportunities in the enterprise IT sector. He also served as a consultant advising startup companies on business development, product strategy and venture capital fundraising. He currently sit on the board of advisers of VAlign Software.

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