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Entrepreneurs Give Practical Experience to MBA Students

November 26, 2012 4:48 pm0 commentsViews: 182
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At this time last year, Adam Hewitt was about to begin his final semester of part time classes before earning his MBA. That is when he picked a new class on field study entrepreneurship, because he would not have to drive to the far away Georgia State University campus in Atlanta.

After eight months, Hewitt, a former high school teacher, is still doing the drive from his home in Alpharetta to the small company in Norcross where he worked as an intern. The company hired him, but it also wants to bring in another student from the same Georgia State University class in the spring of 2013.

GSU is one of several MBA programs in the country that have begun to use internship-type experiences in classes to give MBA students a good taste of what it is really like to work in an entrepreneurial environment before they leave school.

At the business school at Harvard University, approximately 900 students each year choose from a long list of small companies where they may work for class credit. Or, they can try to recruit their own company themselves.

At the business school at Georgia State, about 12 students each semester take the class in field study entrepreneurship. They delve into projects at businesses that agree to contribute about $1000 toward a scholarship. The MBA students get to retain the $1000 if they complete the work for the company and get a B or better grade.

For some of the students, including female MBAs,  the experience is truly life changing. They have the chance to see what it really takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.

One of the current students in this MBA program is an epidemiologist and veterinarian at the CDC. She has been spending part of her Fridays and off hours learning about entrepreneurship at RAISE Global Services. One of her jobs has been to do research on companies that do charitable giving. She is putting that data into a database and into an online marketplace called Raisemart. This is where customers are able to search for information on companies and charitable groups. It also is where people may shop for products that give contributions to causes that they support.

In other of her tasks, this student prospected at the showroom of AmericasMart in Atlanta so she could recruit vendors to join the RAISE Global Services Website.

Another student in the MBA program began to work part time at Integrated Media Association, which is a young organization for TV and public radio stations. He has been assisting the association in setting up an online info center to let members stay informed of some of the recent developments in media law.

He also will begin to work on a social media campaign in the near future to let member stations increase their awareness of the online knowledge base.

A marketing experience such as this could be very helpful in allowing this student to live his own dream as an entrepreneur. This is an urban agricultural idea called Second Story Gardens. He and two other students recently had an $18,000 award that they won from Georgia State for this concept. This new firm would set up aquaponics near urban markets. It would combine plants and fish tanks in a symbiotic environment. The hope is that the aquaponics would be able to produce fish, lettuce and other produce in an inexpensive way, which also would mean much lower shipping costs.

These types of real world experience really help to give these MBA students a head start in business success as they graduate and head off into the real world.