The I&E Keystone was a foundational course in my Duke career. I know feel as though I have the basic tools to start my own venture. The course delved into the concepts of human centered design, the lean methodology, valuation, and funding. By practically applying the skills we were learning to real case studies, we were able to really see the importance of our new knowledge. When evaluating the businesses involved in these case studies, I really learned how to think critically about a venture and analyze all aspects of its methods of pricing, scaling, team building, marketing, and financing. From the case study assignments as well as our pitch assignment, I became really comfortable with creating a portfolio of a company and presenting it in a clear and effective manner.


My technical competencies were especially built in this class. The skills I learned would be useful in any career I pursue. In terms of value propositions, valuation and corporate finance, marketing metrics, legal considerations, venture capital, and building business models, I gained an immense amount of knowledge when it comes to starting a company. I also learned to be a little bit imaginative and creative when designing recommendations for the ventures we analyzed and it was interesting to see how my recommendations compared to the route the managers ended up taking.


Being able to hear from some professionals in the field made the process that much more tangible. Hearing about their incessant failures before success made it clear that resilience and persistence are key in being an entrepreneur. We were all also paired with mentors who we could discuss key concepts with. Hearing about the experiences that our mentor, David Garfinkle, had as an entrepreneur, specifically in the entertainment business, was riveting and our conversations always went on for over an hour. He was enthusiastic about teaching us about his venture and was excited for us and our futures after Duke. I have linked both the mentoring assignments my group completed as a result of our conversations with David Garfinkle where we reflect on our discussions with him. Enjoy!


Throughout the duration of the course, I sometimes felt like I was not understanding the case studies or that the metrics and concepts were over my head. However, I maintained determined and collaborated with my professor and classmates until I made sure I understood the material for myself. There was no formula to completing the case studies and there were always differences across the ventures. It was an exciting way to learn about the phenomenon of innovation and I gained so much from the course. I have linked 2 examples of case study slides, enjoy!

Artifact: Case Study Slides, Mentor Assignments

Rent the Runway Slides

Envirofit International Case

Garfinkle Mentor Assignment 1

Garfinkle Mentor Assignment 2