15.S21 | January IAP 2014 | Graduate

Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans

Instructor Insights

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 15.S21 Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans as it was taught by Joseph Hadzima and Joost Bonsen in IAP 2014.

This course explores the nuts and bolts of preparing a business plan and starting a new venture, and is open to members of the MIT community and to others interested in entrepreneurship. It is particularly recommended for persons who are interested in starting or are involved in a new business or venture. Because some of the speakers are judges of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, persons who are planning to enter the competition should find the course particularly useful.

January 2014 was the twenty-fifth anniversary of this course.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

For people who have never taken a course in entrepreneurship, the goal is to learn how to go about conceptualizing and starting a company.

For people who are ready to start new ventures, the goal is to give them the set of tools needed to conceptualize their companies and to put their teams together. We want them to catch the entrepreneurial virus!

Possibilities for Further Study/Careers

Participants in this course often go on to enter the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition.

Instructor Insights

"Why do we keep doing this? Because I get emails, five and ten years after participants have taken the course from people saying, ‘I started a company, and I remembered something from the course.’ There’s some enduring value here."
—Joseph Hadzima

Below, Joseph Hadzima describes various aspects of how he teaches 15.S21 Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans.

Curriculum Information


Permission of the Instructor

Requirements Satisfied



Every IAP


MIT students may take this course for 3 units of Pass/Fail credit. Attendance at each session is required and the writing requirement must be fulfilled.

Student Information


58 students

Breakdown by Year

This is a graduate-level course.

Breakdown by Major

Typically, students from the Schools of Engineering, Science, Architecture and Planning comprise 50% of the class, while students from the Sloan School of Management make up the remaining 50%.

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 21 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

  • Met 3 times per week for 3 hours per session; 6 sessions total; mandatory attendance.
  • Sessions featured experts from the field who spoke about different aspects of business plans and new ventures.

Out of Class

Course Info

As Taught In
January IAP 2014
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Written Assignments
Lecture Notes
Instructor Insights