News at Smith


Nov 18, 2013
Experiential / Reality-based Learning


Associate Professor Brent Goldfarb’s research indicated that mere business plans don’t help entrepreneurs looking for venture funding. So he ditched the curriculum in his business plan course. Instead, his MBA students start and run a real business--in just seven weeks.

In Real660, named for the experience and the course number, students face challenges related to marketing, strategy, social media, and teamwork. Students who can’t turn their idea into a moneymaker have to join another business. At the end of the semester, one winning business stands supreme.

It is an intense, frustrating, enlightening experience for Smith students, and one of the most innovative entrepreneurship courses around. See the highlights from the spring 2013 REAL660 in a five-episode Web series at

Episode 1: Students pitch their businesses, recruit team members, and launch. Eat Fleet and District Delivery both propose to bring lunches to Van Munching Hall. Can both teams survive?

Episode 2: Teams struggle to get a prominent entrepreneur or businessperson to post a video of support on social media and make their first-week sales goals.

Episode 3: With the competition narrowed to four teams, students pitch their businesses to Dingman Center judges.

Episode 4: Operational challenges and team dynamics create problems for the remaining three teams as the course nears its end.

Episode 5: Profits are counted, epiphanies recounted and the winning team is crowned.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.