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Stanford Business School's class on women entrepreneurs taught by VC Fern Mandelbaum is so popular that it has a waiting list

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Stanford grad school is now 42% women.

About ten years ago, when a male Stanford Graduate School of Business professor first created a two-week seminar on female entrepreneurship, his goal was simple: “We thought it was really important for students to see a multitude of entrepreneurship examples,” recalls Garth Saloner, the professor.

Today, a prominent female VC teaches the course, and “Entrepreneurship from the Perspective of Women” is so popular that it has a waiting list, and Stanford Business School decided to turn it into a full, quarter course, beginning in 2015, according to Saloner, now the business school’s dean.

Fern Mandelbaum, managing partner at Vista Venture Partners, became the class instructor last year after having been a guest speaker in the course for five years. She dubs the course “You Can Do It” because “that’s really what the class is all about,” she says.

Unlike many MBA classes, which focus on developing ideas, raising money, and corporate strategy, Mandelbaum’s course examines creating a diverse culture, managing emotions and expectations, building balance in your life, and handling risks.

“Many women come up with reasons why they shouldn’t do something,” she says. “Many women have self-doubt. They lack confidence, and they’re afraid to take risks and don’t believe they can create companies.”

The goal of the class is to present both successes and failures.

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