Scaling a Business: How to Build a US$1 Billion+ Unicorn

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Course Dates

STARTS ON

August 3, 2022

Course Duration

DURATION

6 weeks, online
4-6 hours per week

Course Fee

Overview

Achieving unicorn status — a valuation of $1 billion or more — is no simple feat. But preparing your business for scaling success early on can help ensure your company joins the unicorn ranks. This program is designed to help business leaders and entrepreneurs unlock the secrets of unicorn success and discover what it really takes to scale companies to billion-dollar valuations. You’ll learn the characteristics of a unicorn and how to recognize one as well as explore the challenges that come with building and scaling a unicorn to help you grow your own startup or business initiative.

900+

There are currently more than 900 unicorns globally, with a collective value of approximately $3 trillion.

SOURCE: Crunchbase

90%

Approximately 90 percent of all startups fail.

SOURCE: Investopedia

40%

Only about 40 percent of startups achieve profitability.

SOURCE: Small Business Trends

Key Takeaways

Wharton’s Scaling a Business: How to Build a US$1 Billion+ Unicorn program explores the concept of unicorns, from what they look like and how they prepare for growth to how they deal with failure and crisis along the way. This program will enable you to:

  • Identify the characteristics of unicorn organizations
  • Design a well-structured business experiment
  • Analyze organizational resources and constraints to scale technology
  • Examine the processes and structure of a growing organization
  • Examine effective frameworks and metrics of an organization’s readiness to scale
  • Evaluate the personnel and cultural needs within an organization

Program Modules

Module 1:

Characteristics of a Unicorn — Yes, They Are Real

Begin by gaining a broad understanding of the program’s key concepts: the main characteristics of unicorns, myths of unicorns, growth limiters, and common mistakes.

Module 2:

Experimentation: Scaling the Organization

Learn how small companies can succeed even without all the resources large organizations have, and examine the latest research on conducting business experiments, how to make them successful, and how you can use them to continue to grow your organization to unicorn status.

Module 3:

Scaling Technology and Operational Resources

Discover the ways you can prepare to invest in the right operational and technological resources, including how to move from short-term to long-term considerations and how to think about modeling uncertainty.

Module 4:

Scaling Processes and Structure

Understand what problems processes solve and learn the advantages and disadvantages of formalizing processes. Then create a road map to identify and design processes that scale.

Module 5:

Metrics and Financials

Explore the framework for determining your organization’s readiness and ability to scale, as well as the metrics necessary before and after scaling to ensure that expansion is successful and sustainable.

Module 6:

Scaling Culture: Rewards, Hiring, Incentives, and Interviewing

When the time comes to scale, many companies realize internal factors are slowing their scaling process. Delve into scaling internally by focusing on your organization’s culture and people.

Module 1:

Characteristics of a Unicorn — Yes, They Are Real

Begin by gaining a broad understanding of the program’s key concepts: the main characteristics of unicorns, myths of unicorns, growth limiters, and common mistakes.

Module 4:

Scaling Processes and Structure

Understand what problems processes solve and learn the advantages and disadvantages of formalizing processes. Then create a road map to identify and design processes that scale.

Module 2:

Experimentation: Scaling the Organization

Learn how small companies can succeed even without all the resources large organizations have, and examine the latest research on conducting business experiments, how to make them successful, and how you can use them to continue to grow your organization to unicorn status.

Module 5:

Metrics and Financials

Explore the framework for determining your organization’s readiness and ability to scale, as well as the metrics necessary before and after scaling to ensure that expansion is successful and sustainable.

Module 3:

Scaling Technology and Operational Resources

Discover the ways you can prepare to invest in the right operational and technological resources, including how to move from short-term to long-term considerations and how to think about modeling uncertainty.

Module 6:

Scaling Culture: Rewards, Hiring, Incentives, and Interviewing

When the time comes to scale, many companies realize internal factors are slowing their scaling process. Delve into scaling internally by focusing on your organization’s culture and people.

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Program Experience

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Discussion Boards

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Industry Examples

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Assignments

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Live Office Hours

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Try-It Activities

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Knowledge Checks

Industry Examples

This online program provides real-world learning examples to help you understand the realities of building a unicorn startup through the experiential lens of leading global brands.

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Blue Apron

Premature scaling can be dangerous for a company. Discover the critical mistakes Blue Apron made during their scaling phase and how that affected their growth.

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Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Underestimating and overestimating are both common in the startup world, but maintaining adequate resources and processes is essential to any startup's growth. Learn how Amazon Web Services (AWS) attempted to stay nimble even after becoming a large enterprise.

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Casper

Most founders consider operational scalability a high-class problem — but it’s still a problem. Discover how operational scalability affected the mattress firm Casper due to inaccurate demand forecasting.

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Tesla

Learn how Tesla overestimated in their plans to build a Gigafactory in 2014. While the company was capable of producing batteries for 500,000 cars, the actual car sales were 5,000.

Faculty

Faculty Member Ethan Mollick

Ethan Mollick

Ralph J. Roberts Distinguished Faculty Scholar; Associate Professor of Management; Academic Director, Wharton Interactive

Ethan Mollick is an associate professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studies and teaches innovation and entrepreneurship. He is also author of The Unicorn’s Shadow: Combating the Dangerous Myths that Hold Back Startups, Founders, and Investors.... More info

Faculty Member Gad Allon, PhD

Gad Allon, PhD

Jeffrey A. Keswin Professor; Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions; Director, Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, The Wharton School

Gad Allon is the Jeffrey A. Keswin Professor and Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions, and the director of the Management and Technology Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his PhD in Management Science from Columbia Business School in New York.... More info

Certificate

Example image of certificate that will be awarded after successful completion of this program

Certificate

Upon successful completion of the program, you will earn a digital certificate of completion from the Wharton School.

Download Brochure

Note: After successful completion of the online program, your verified digital certificate will be emailed to you in the name you used when registering for the program. All certificate images are for illustrative purposes only and may be subject to change at the discretion of the Wharton School.

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FAQs

  • How do I know if this program is right for me?

    After reviewing the information on the program landing page, we recommend you submit the short form above to gain access to the program brochure, which includes more in-depth information. If you still have questions on whether this program is a good fit for you, please email learner.success@emeritus.org,and a dedicated program advisor will follow-up with you very shortly.


    Are there any prerequisites for this program?

    Some programs do have prerequisites, particularly the more technical ones. This information will be noted on the program landing page, as well as in the program brochure. If you are uncertain about program prerequisites and your capabilities, please email us at learner.success@emeritus.org for assistance.


    Note that, unless otherwise stated on the program web page, all programs are taught in English and proficiency in English is required.


    What is the typical class profile?

    More than 50 percent of our participants are from outside the United States. Class profiles vary from one cohort to the next, but, generally, our online certificates draw a highly diverse audience in terms of professional experience, industry, and geography — leading to a very rich peer learning and networking experience.


    What other dates will this program be offered in the future?

    Check back to this program web page or email us at learner.success@emeritus.org to inquire if future program dates or the timeline for future offerings have been confirmed yet.

  • How much time is required each week?

    Each program includes an estimated learner effort per week. This is referenced at the top of the program landing page under the Duration section, as well as in the program brochure, which you can obtain by submitting the short form at the top of this web page.



    How will my time be spent?

    We have designed this program to fit into your current working life as efficiently as possible. Time will be spent among a variety of activities including:



    • Engaging with recorded video lectures from faculty
    • Attending webinars and office hours, as per the specific program schedule
    • Reading or engaging with examples of core topics
    • Completing knowledge checks/quizzes and required activities
    • Engaging in moderated discussion groups with your peers
    • Completing your final project, if required

    The program is designed to be highly interactive while also allowing time for self-reflection and to demonstrate an understanding of the core topics through various active learning exercises. Please contact us at learner.success@emeritus.org if you need further clarification on program activities.



    What is it like to learn online with the learning collaborator, Emeritus?

    More than 250,000 professionals globally, across 80 countries, have chosen to advance their skills with Emeritus and its educational learning partners. In fact, 90 percent of the respondents of a recent survey across all our programs said that their learning outcomes were met or exceeded.

    A dedicated program support team is available 24/5 (Monday to Friday) to answer questions about the learning platform, technical issues, or anything else that may affect your learning experience.


    How do I interact with other program participants?

    Peer learning adds substantially to the overall learning experience and is an important part of the program. You can connect and communicate with other participants through our learning platform.

  • What are the requirements to earn the certificate?

    Each program includes an estimated learner effort per week, so you can gauge what will be required before you enroll. This is referenced at the top of the program landing page under the Duration section, as well as in the program brochure, which you can obtain by submitting the short form at the top of this web page. All programs are designed to fit into your working life.

    This program is scored as a pass or no-pass; participants must complete the required activities to pass and obtain the certificate of completion. Some programs include a final project submission or other assignments to obtain passing status. This information will be noted in the program brochure. Please contact us at learner.success@emeritus.org if you need further clarification on any specific program requirements.


    What type of certificate will I receive?

    Upon successful completion of the program, you will receive a smart digital certificate. The smart digital certificate can be shared with friends, family, schools, or potential employers. You can use it on your cover letter, resume, and/or display it on your LinkedIn profile.
    The digital certificate will be sent approximately two weeks after the program, once grading is complete.


    Can I get the hard copy of the certificate?

    No, only verified digital certificates will be issued upon successful completion. This allows you to share your credentials on social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.


    Do I receive alumni status after completing this program?

    No, there is no alumni status granted for this program. In some cases, there are credits that count toward a higher level of certification. This information will be clearly noted in the program brochure.


    How long will I have access to the learning materials?

    You will have access to the online learning platform and all the videos and program materials for 12 months following the program start date. Access to the learning platform is restricted to registered participants per the terms of agreement.

  • What equipment or technical requirements are there for this program?

    Participants will need the latest version of their preferred browser to access the learning platform. In addition, Microsoft Office and a PDF viewer are required to access documents, spreadsheets, presentations, PDF files, and transcripts.


    Do I need to be online to access the program content?

    Yes, the learning platform is accessed via the internet, and video content is not available for download. However, you can download files of video transcripts, assignment templates, readings, etc. For maximum flexibility, you can access program content from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

    Video lectures must be streamed via the internet, and any livestream webinars and office hours will require an internet connection. However, these sessions are always recorded, so you may view them later.

  • Can I still register if the registration deadline has passed?

    Yes, you can register up until seven days past the published start date of the program without missing any of the core program material or learnings.


    What is the program fee, and what forms of payment do you accept?

    The program fee is noted at the top of this program web page and usually referenced in the program brochure as well.

    • Flexible payment options are available (see details below as well as at the top of this program web page next to FEE).
    • Tuition assistance is available for participants who qualify. Please email learner.success@emeritus.org.

    What if I don’t have a credit card? Is there another method of payment accepted?

    Yes, you can do the bank remittance in the program currency via wire transfer or debit card. Please contact your program advisor, or email us at learner.success@emeritus.org for details.


    I was not able to use the discount code provided. Can you help?

    Yes! Please email us at learner.success@emeritus.org with the details of the program you are interested in, and we will assist you.


    How can I obtain an invoice for payment?

    Please email learner.success@emeritus.org with your invoicing requirements and the specific program you’re interested in enroling in.


    Is there an option to make flexible payments for this program?

    Yes, the flexible payment option allows a participant to pay the program fee in installments. This option is made available on the payment page and should be selected before submitting the payment.


    How can I obtain a W9 form?

    Please email us at learner.success@emeritus.org for assistance.

  • What is the policy on refunds and withdrawals?

    You may request a full refund within seven days of your payment or 14 days after the published start date of the program, whichever comes later. If your enrolment had previously been deferred, you will not be entitled to a refund. Partial (or pro-rated) refunds are not offered. All withdrawal and refund requests should be sent to admissions@emeritus.org.



    What is the policy on deferrals?

    After the published start date of the program, you have until the midpoint of the program to request to defer to a future cohort of the same program. A deferral request must be submitted along with a specified reason and explanation. Cohort changes may be made only once per enrolment and are subject to availability of other cohorts scheduled at our discretion. This will not be applicable for deferrals within the refund period, and the limit of one deferral per enrolment remains. All deferral requests should be sent to admissions@emeritus.org.

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Flexible payment options available. Learn more.