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Freshman Business Experience Gives Students Real-Life Entrepreneurial Opportunity

by Katie Bradley | Mar 16, 2015

The winners of last fall’s Freshman Business Experience competition are now on campus selling specialty glass mugs.

Each fall, first-year students in the Byrum School of Business BUS109 nine-credit course create a business idea, develop a business plan, and pitch it to a panel of local business executives who make up the Board of Visitors.

In December, 95 students, divided into 19 teams, pitched their business plans to a panel of judges from the BOV. The competition came down to four teams and included plans to develop an online buying and selling community, sell crocheted winter hats in the shape of a Knights’ helmets, sell sport socks with the university logo on them, and sell special glass mugs with the Knight logo on it and the option to add a personal message.

The Marian University Glass Shoppe (M.U.G.S.) won the competition and received a $2,400 investment to turn their plan into reality. Winners Michael Annee ’18, Alan Contreras ’17, Dean Kennison ’18, Angelina Palermo ’18, and Dominic Ravotto ’18 immediately implemented their plan and saw great results.

"We're now running our own business and I'm expanding my management skills," says team member Contreras.

Michael Crawford, assistant professor in the Byrum School of Business and instructor of the course explains what students gain from this experience, “The students learn how business works, and why they should apply basic accounting and economic principles to their business plans. They also spend a lot of time up in front of the class, presenting their ideas. The result is a student who is capable and confident of their abilities to analyze business ideas and present to intimidating audiences. We are excited by the results,” said Crawford.

With pre-orders exceeding their first shipment, M.U.G.S. did not take long to pay off their investors and were even able to donate five percent of their profits to the Marian University scholarship fund.

“This experience is just the beginning of our unique, high engagement curriculum that exposes every student to actual business people, projects, and opportunities,” said Russ Kershaw, Ph.D., dean of the Byrum School of Business.

M.U.G.S. are available for purchase online

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