|Semester & Location:||
Summer 2023 - DIS Copenhagen
|Type & Credits:||
Internship - 3 credits
Business, Entrepreneurship, Consulting
Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Europe (Summer Session 1)
|Kristian B. Knudsen-Current student please use Canvas inbox|
See syllabus below
Startups in Copenhagen + DIS classroom F24-302 + various
Description of the course
Over the course of your stay in Copenhagen, you will get an opportunity to work closely with a Danish Startup, and to experience first-hand what challenges young companies are struggling with in getting their products and services to market.
The internship will both focus on the specific challenges faced by your assigned startup, and its competitors in their respective spaces, but also very much on your own personal journey into the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Furthermore, the internship will give you the opportunity to build a network in Denmark.
Over the past several years starting your own company is increasingly seen as a legitimate and viable option available to college students. In most universities and business schools entrepreneurship courses are being developed, and student engagement in the community is encouraged. This program should be seen as an extension of this global trend.
The appeal of the entrepreneurial lifestyle is very often based on stereotypes and preconceived notions based on success stories and dreams about the free and creative life, where one is free from self-serving bosses, corporate politics, formal dress codes, constraining cubicles and repetitive tasks.
The truth is however that the likelihood of success with a new startup is small, the working hours long, the pay limited, and the insecurity very tangible. Added to this one could say that the startup culture, which is often put in opposition to the constraining corporate culture, is not as easy to navigate as it seems. Virtually everything about the startup environment is different than the corporate environment. Where the corporate model is about efficiencies and execution, the entrepreneurial model is about business model search, constant iteration, and “managed chaos”. One requires a certain kind of resilience and attuned networking skills to excel in this environment. This is an important part of what this internship will expose the students to.
Learning objectives of the internship
By the end of this internship you will:
- Be familiar with the practical challenges of working in a startup setting
- Have a balanced view of the pros and cons of working in a startup environment vs. a corporate environment
- Have an understanding of the structure of the space that your startup is operating in, its competitive landscape, and changing dynamics
- Be aware of how to add value to your assigned startup by leveraging your academic strengths, your personality, and your personal network
- Have experience working in a startup environment characterized by fluid job descriptions, changing priorities, flat hierarchies, and high requirements on flexibility and engagement
- Have experience with the difficulties in managing time and expectations, negotiating trade-offs, and prioritizing tasks in an ever-changing environment
- Know to take on multiple roles and manage a fluid job description
- Be able to reflect on your personal abilities, and your self-efficacy as an entrepreneur
Kristian Bernt Knudsen is a member of the International Business and Global Economics faculty at DIS.
On top of his teaching duties with DIS, Kristian owns and manages a number of companies. He is the Owner and Managing Director of a boutique style business consulting company, providing advisory on management, business development, financing/investing, and strategic matters. Furthermore, he handles his own Private Equity company and has among other portfolio investments recently acquired a watch-and-fashion company.
Prior to this, Kristian has progressed his career through 15+ years into accomplished executive leadership positions combined with financial and strategic advisor roles while working internationally in highly esteemed public and private equity companies in various industries.
Kristian is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder and holds a Masters degree in Finance/Management from the University of Aarhus, Denmark.
Phone: +45 28102441
Texts and resources
Various, which will be posted on Canvas.
Approach to teaching & expectations of the students
We are approaching the practicum process as a professional consulting company would approach project management. You will get to work on specific assignments with your designated startup, which will need to be solved and managed in a structured and dedicated way. With significant consulting and startup experience under my belt, I will help and guide you during the process, while however you will need to take full responsibility for the value you get out of the practicum course
This internship is made up of time at your assigned start-up (up to 20 hours per week), as well as regular reflection and feedback sessions. The majority of the learning will take place in your interaction with your startup.
The reflection and feedback sessions will primarily be to frame the real-life experience. This will be done on two levels: (1) framing the content of your experience through an introduction to the different startups, their competitive landscape, and challenges, and (2) framing your personal journey through status reports and peer-to-peer workshops where you can share your experiences, and give each other advice.
The startups with whom we will be partnering fall into many different categories, both tech, and non-tech. You will be matched based on your interest and profile. There will typically be one, two or three students assigned to each startup.
You will be required to contribute up to 20 hours per week to the startup, and to manage this time efficiently. Your exact function will be determined on a case by case basis, and in dialogue with the startup. It is important that you are proactive, and take part in determining your tasks, setting expectations, and deciding on the tangible output to be expected at the end of the program. Since startups are not (yet) corporations, you should not expect a set schedule, and guided supervision. These functions are simply put not available at this early stage of company growth. HR departments, and industrial working hours, are NOT what characterize startups. In other words, it will be up to you, and your interpersonal skills to forge out a place for yourself in the startup, and to make yourself useful to the best of your abilities. The engagement with the startup will be a combination of physical presence at their office facilities (if applicable), remote collaboration, and possible participation at networking events and sales meetings.
I personally live by the motto "what's worth doing is worth doing right". I strive to always do my best and consider properness, commitment and responsibility taking as natural virtues. I expect nothing less from you in this class.
Percentage of final grade
Various blog discussions
Project manangement, proactiveness and commitment
Performance assessment by the company (The grade will be given after feedback from the assigned company)
Students are expected to:
- Understand that you are fully responsible for the value you get out of the practicum course - you cannot lean back and free-ride while expecting results.
- Contribute up to 20 hours per week to the startup - for a total of approximately 100 hours for the entire practicum collaboration.
- Take lead in determining the high level goal, the detailed tasks, setting expectations, and deciding on the tangible output to be expected at the end of the program.
- Take lead, be proactive, manage project and time professionally.
- Show up for all class prepared and participate actively. Missing classes, activities, visits and assigned work without a legitimate excuse will result in a lower final grade
- Complete all assigned work prior to each deadline and each class
- Be punctual and attend all assigned activities
- Contribute actively and engaged during all activities (classes, visits, activities, study tour, etc) and make sure to always speak up and contribute to our knowledge production each time we are together
- Shut off or silence cell phones during class - use of phones during class will have a negative impact on your participation grade.
- Only use laptop and tablets during class and visits for note-taking and presentations. If you fail to meet this expectation, it will have a negative impact on your final grade.
- In this course your grade starting point is low, and then you build your way up. To be eligible for a passing grade in this class you must complete all of the assigned work
- Taking leadership and being proactive throughout the course. There are always students on the waiting list for this course who are dreaming of getting enrolled, so if you made it in, consider yourself lucky and take a genuine interest in the class and opportunity! Involve yourself, and get all the value possible out of the course.
- Active and professional project leadership is a prerequisite to qualify for a good grade.
- I realize that grades are important to you. I do not grade to punish or reward you just as my grade is not an indication of my evaluation of you as a person. I grade you to give you my honest assessment of your academic performance.
Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:
The syllabus page shows a table-oriented view of the course schedule, and the basics of course grading. You can add any other comments, notes, or thoughts you have about the course structure, course policies or anything else.
To add some comments, click the "Edit" link at the top.