The School of Business believes that just like artists and musicians in the studio, business students must “practice” their abilities in order to improve their skills. The Entrepreneurship and Service Practicum provides just such an environment for this kind of practice. The objective of the experience is to begin to break down the “silo mentality” that is present in traditional approaches to business education and help students develop a more cross-disciplinary view of business. The ESP also provides a laboratory for application of the learning that occurs in the pre/co-requisite courses of management, marketing and accounting.
While participating in the ESP, students will form their own company, write a business plan, obtain a loan, implement their plan, make a profit and close down operations all within one semesters’ time. While running their company, students choose a local nonprofit organization, where they will provide a minimum of 10 hours of volunteer work per student and give their profits at the end of the semester. This service experience provides a tangible motivation to “give back” to our local community.
The result is real world experience in the creation and operation of a truly student run micro-business. This experience will be something that goes onto the students’ resume and will greatly enhance the ability to obtain internships while in school as well as full-time jobs after graduation. Employers are increasingly expecting practical application of theory learned in the classroom, and the ESP provides that opportunity. It also allows the student to “try out” their major and begin to hone their skills and abilities as they progress through their academic program.
The three credit hours earned for this experience will count as academic credit toward graduation as well as satisfying three hours of Applied Learning credit.