Professor Emeritus of Economics
Michael Claudon is a teacher and academic entrepreneur. Having a particular passion for the art of starting and growing new business concepts into successful enterprises, he has taught applied economics and competitive strategies ever since joining the Middlebury College faculty in 1970. For over three decades, he has mentored Middlebury students, entrepreneurs and emerging leaders from Vermont and beyond. Innovating strategies for extending learning beyond the classroom to the real world of live problem solving and entrepreneurial endeavors has consistently been the driving force of his career.
In 1987, Claudon co-founded the Geonomics Institute. He successfully grew it into an internationally respected, independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that helped accelerate economic and political transition, focusing on enterprise restructuring and business development in the Former Soviet Union. After serving as Geonomics’ president for eight years, and dedicating most of that time to teaching and mentoring emerging business leaders in the region, Claudon returned to his first love, teaching Middlebury College students.
In January 2000, Claudon organized a January term course that explored the emerging digital economy. Riding the excitement and momentum generated by students and alumni working and learning together, what was to be a one-time event has become a multi-faceted Middlebury College initiative. DigitalBridges2.0™ currently creates and facilitates programs that help people transition and propel thought into action. In addition to the annual January course and conference, DigitalBridges2.0™ has expanded to include the Middlebury Solutions Group, an undergraduate venture consultancy dedicated to helping Vermont’s entrepreneurs grow ideas into viable enterprises.
Most recently, Claudon introduced an experimental teaching paradigm, a business boot camp as it were, to the liberal arts. MiddCORE enriches the liberal arts, empowers students to pursue their intellectual and academic passions and prepares them for success in their personal and professional lives. It is taught in a hands-on, experiential learning manner by engaging executive, entrepreneur and innovator mentors who create an intensely interactive and rich learning experience.
MiddCORE drives students out of their comfort zones as they acquire skills and experience using creativity, opportunity identification, risk-taking and entrepreneurship; engage in problem-solving and decision-making at levels far beyond any previous experience; and sharpen their analytical, presentation and writing skills in collaborative and competitive settings.
The author or editor of two-dozen books and over a dozen research articles, Claudon earned his BA in economics and zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD in economics from The Johns Hopkins University.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
ECON 0150 - Intro Macroeconomics
An introduction to macroeconomics: a consideration of macroeconomic problems such as unemployment and inflation. Theories and policy proposals of Keynesian and classical economists are contrasted. Topics considered include: banking, financial institutions, monetary policy, taxation, government spending, fiscal policy, tradeoffs between inflation and unemployment in both the short run and the long run, and wage-price spirals. 3 hrs. lect.
Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010
ECON 0356 - Competition & Strategy
Competition and Strategy
This course addresses issues relevant to the central questions of competition among and strategies used by successful business and social organizations. We will focus on how firms achieve and sustain superior performance in the face of competitive pressures. The course couples the introduction of relevant concepts and analytical tools for industry and competitive analysis with their application to real-world case studies in a variety of industries. Students will be expected to develop a sophisticated understanding of the forces that drive competition and success through applied economic analysis, extensive public speaking and presentation practice and venture consulting engagements with early-stage Vermont-based organizations. (ECON 0150 and ECON 0155). 3 hrs. lect., 1.5 hrs. lab.
ECON 0455 - Competitive Strategy
What drives sustainability and market success in business and social organizations? How do competitive forces within and among industries shape competitive strategy? We will focus on the dynamics of how organizations create, execute and evaluate competitive strategies in diverse competitive environments using real-world cases. A premium will be placed on improving your writing and public speaking skills. Your Middlebury Solutions Group engagement will give you critical applied analysis and teaming experience in developing paths to profitability for early-stage enterprises. (ECON 0255) 3 hrs. sem., 1.5 hrs. lab
Fall 2009, Fall 2010
ECON 0500 - Individual Special Project
Individual Special Project
If you choose to pursue an area that we do not offer or go in depth in an area already covered, we recommend the Individual Special Project option. These ECON 0500 proposals MUST be passed by the entire department and are to be submitted to the chair by the first Friday of fall and spring semester, respectively. The proposals should contain a specific description of the course contents, its goals, and the mechanisms by which goals are to be realized. It should also include a bibliography. According to the College Handbook, ECON 0500 projects are a privilege open to those students with advanced preparation and superior records in their fields. A student needs to have a 3.5 or higher G.P.A. in Economics courses taken at Middlebury in order to pursue an Individual Special Project. ECON 0500 does not count towards one of the 10 courses for the major.
Fall 2009, Winter 2010, Spring 2010, Fall 2010
INTD 1074 - MiddCORE 2013
Midd CORE 2013
MiddCORE’s mentor-driven leadership and innovation immersion program builds skills and confidence through collaborative, experiential, impact-focused learning. Through daily, weekly and month-long challenges, students gain experience in leadership, strategic thinking, idea creation, collaboration, persuasive communication, ethical decision-making, conflict resolution and crisis management. By working with mentors from diverse backgrounds, students leverage their liberal arts background to address real challenges faced by both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Students leave MiddCORE empowered to pursue their passions and better prepared for success in their personal and professional lives. (See MiddCORE website for more details- www.middcore.com) (Pass/Fail)
INTD 1089 - Middlebury Entrepreneurs
Many people have great ideas for new products or services, but few are willing and able to take the steps necessary to make these ideas a reality. Entrepreneurship is the mindset and skill set that allows passionate people to execute business plans and create lasting, influential companies. Through lecture, class discussion, and hands-on mentoring, students will bring a project proposal from concept to launch quickly and effectively. Key concepts that will be taught include: opportunity analysis, financial planning, team building, and fundraising. Classwork will be supplemented with guest visits from notable entrepreneurs. To qualify for this class, each student must have a business idea—for profit or not for profit—for which they care passionately and are willing to commit the time and energy necessary to give the startup a real chance at success. Students must submit a project proposal describing in less than 500 words: 1). the problem or opportunity they will address; 2). the product or solution they propose to solve this problem; and 3). why they are well suited to tackle this project. Please submit proposals to MiddEnt@middlebury.edu (Approval Required; Pass/Fail)
Winter 2010, Winter 2011