Mays Business School students are “learning business by doing business” through the integrated business experience (IBE) course, designed to teach Master of Science (MS) in Business students the ins and outs of the major business disciplines by running a startup of their own. The program aligns with the Mays Grand Challenge of Entrepreneurship.
Five teams of students in the MS Business program have spent the semester identifying a product or service they would like to sell, conducting market research to determine how the product would be received, developing a business plan and requesting start-up funds. In October, Aggieland Credit Union donated up to $2,000 per company. Since then, the teams have been developing their businesses and partnering with nonprofit organizations who will receive the profits of the businesses after they close at the end of the semester.
“They are all giving back money and service hours to a nonprofit in the area,” said ‘Jon Jasperson, academic director of the MS Business program. “This is the perfect opportunity to get Mays students connected to and more involved with the local community.”
In December, the IBE course will culminate in the Student Showcase Event, when students will present about the startups they created to faculty, staff and students. The event will include a 45-minute presentation followed by a networking social with table poster presentations in the Mays Business School Cocanougher Center. The presentation will be shown on Facebook Live via the MS Business Facebook page.
This semester the five teams are Endure, Flourish, Pack-tical Essentials, SKNZ and Hang’n Chill.
- Endure is a clothing company featuring shirts with inspiring messages meant to create hope for customers. Endure partnered with The Wells Project.
- Flourish sells minimalistic jewelry with biodegradable packaging embedded with flower seeds. It supports The Sandbox at Madeline’s Place in Houston.
- Pack-tical Essentials caters to the busy college student short on time to deliver packages of living essentials such as snacks, toiletries, etc., as well as the option to donate a package to the local charity, Twin City Missions.
- SKNZ offers modernized koozies, sustainably designed silicones sleeves that are grippable, stretchable and interchangeable to fit multiple personal bottles and cups. The company is donating to The Move Initiative.
- Hang n’ Chill hopes to enhance social interactions with hands-free drink holders. The company has teamed up with the Bryan-College Station Habitat for Humanity.
In its inaugural year, the MS Business program is the newest graduate program offered at Mays Business School. MS Business is a 36-hour, 11-month general business graduate degree offered to students who do not have a business undergraduate education.
The program focuses on imparting core business knowledge, solid critical thinking skills and a basic understanding of leadership best practices – with emphasis on experiential learning, teamwork and career preparation. It includes coursework in each functional area of business as well as business acumen courses such as business communications, value creation, career management, leadership and ethical decision making.
Monica Priwin, an International Studies ’15 graduate who worked on the Flourish team, said the IBE has been an incredible experience. “Six months ago I never thought I’d be an ‘entrepreneur,’” she said. “Previously I had zero interest in running my own business, but the process of creating our company has taught us about teamwork, hard work and patience. We have gotten to experience every part of business, from accounting to market research to sales. IBE has infected me with the entrepreneurial bug and given me the confidence to make the ideas in my head a reality.”
Update: By the end of the semester, students donated a total of $6,284 and 309 service hours to their charities.