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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG - 05/08/2007 - While gaining business experience they can bank on when they enter the job market, students involved in the UCM's Integrative Business Experience program raised $14,049 for charities and donated 438 hours to community service during the spring 2007 semester.
The spring IBE program concluded recently with three student-led companies announcing their end-of-the-semester totals. IBE included two groups from the Warrensburg campus and one group from the UCM Summit Center in Lee's Summit.
Learning by Doing
Established in 2003, IBE on the Warrensburg campus is a semester-long program which supplements business concepts in core courses with hands-on experience. Students who take part are required to take three junior-level business courses – marketing, management and computer information systems - that run concurrently, as well as an entrepreneurship and a community service practicum course. Students spend the first seven weeks of IBE forming their own companies, developing a business plan, determining a product to sell, selecting suppliers, and securing a bank loan for up to $5,000. They have less than nine weeks to generate enough revenue to pay off their loans, and any profits are donated to local organizations. Since the program's inception, students have raised more than $44,979 for charity and provided a total of 2,463 hours of community service.
Bobblehead "Mo" a Hit
Bobblehead "Mo" was marketed by one of the spring semester IBE groups.
Incorporating the school mascot into their company name, the group known as Raise Mo' Money produced a bobblehead "Mo" the mule, which sold 1,000 units and produced revenues of $12,050, the most of the three companies. The company donated $3,401 in profits to the Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg, and provided another $750 for development of a concrete picnic area at Knob Noster State Park. The students also devoted 218 service hours to building that facility and worked on a bike trail at the park.
Keepin' It Kool Yields Record Profits
A UCM cooler marketed by the student-led company Keepin' It Kool resulted in $6,871 in net profit, the largest of any IBE company since the program was formed. All of these profits benefit the Show-Me Christian Youth Home in LaMonte. This is in addition to 170 hours helping to develop the Knob Noster State Park bike trail.
Glass with Class Benefits March of Dimes
Students enrolled in IBE at UCM Summit Center formed a company known as Glass with Class and sold a tall, high-quality glass with the university's new logo. Because most of the students have full-time commitments, they actually were involved in the program over two semesters. In the fall, they took marketing and management classes and built a business plan. It was executed during the spring semester when they also enrolled in the computer information systems class. After taking out the smallest loan of any of the companies, $1,200, Glass with Class had $6,868 in revenues, and raised $3,775 for the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes also benefited from students who contributed 40 service hours to planning a fund-raising walk.
A Leap of Faith
Skye Edwards a member of Raise Mo' Money from Excelsior Springs, sums up her IBE experience noting that that the group she worked with actually took a risk on the Mo bobblehead. Although the research supported a different product, they stuck with Mo and ordered 500 more units than the bank loan supported. Their faith in the product won out, and the group pre-sold 600 before they arrived from the supplier, and out within days.
"It's a real winner. The whole campus is buzzing about it," said Larry Michaelsen, professor of management.
Program Introduces Students to Real Concepts
Michaelsen initiated the program within the UCM Harmon College of Business Administration, and teaches IBE students with Mary McCord, professor of computer information systems, and Larry Haas, professor of marketing.
"The best thing about teaching in this program is that it changes the relationship between you and the students and between the students and the subject," he remarked. "Because they have to do something real, they are very interested in how the (course) content relates to what they are doing, and that is very different from trying to get ready for a test…the lessons they learn are so valuable.
Experience That Will Pay Off
Edwards is convinced she can take her IBE experience will pay off when she goes job hunting.
As she put it, "With the IBE class, you learn to do everything, and you can tell that to your employer. If they see that, what else can they say but, 'When can you start?' "