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Career Track MBA News

Boise State Career Track MBA Student, Connor Sheldon, Awarded Fulbright Grant

Continuing Boise State’s tradition of being a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, two Boise State alumnae have been awarded Fulbright grants this year.

Kimberly Ruesch, (BA, English, ‘15) was awarded an English teaching assistant grant in Colombia and Connor Sheldon (BS, health science studies, ‘14) was awarded an English teaching assistant grant in Malaysia. Sheldon also is currently pursuing an MBA through the career track program in the College of Business and Economics.

Photo of Connor Sheldon.

Connor Sheldon

Sheldon will head to Malaysia in January 2017 and said her experiences as a tutor, workshop and summer camp facilitator, and youth running coach have prepared her for the unique requirements of the position in Malaysia.

“Through my educational background in health and current focus on sustainability I want to live and learn in a community confronting water pollution problems such as those Malaysia is experiencing in order to develop tangible solutions to address some of the world’s most pressing issues,” she said.

Photo of Kimberly Ruesch.

Kimberly Ruesch

Ruesch will leave for Columbia in July of this year where she will teach English at the University of Cordoba in Monteria and will be volunteering with a Colombian activist organization that works to protect the rights of indigenous cultures.

“I will be working on a project to reach out to some of Colombia’s many indigenous communities and create connections within the broader community through classes to share their culture and traditions with Colombian society more broadly,” Ruesch said.

Pei-Lin Yu, assistant professor of anthropology, also was awarded a Fulbright award this year. She will travel to Taiwan in December to study indigenous agricultural crops and techniques. You can read about Yu’s Fulbright award here.

Career Track MBA Students Win Financial Competition – Second Year in a Row

Ashleigh Andereson, Jessica Bottelberghe, Nam Do, Steven Gabrielsen, and Erin Ward.

Ashleigh Anderson, Erin Ward, Jessica Bottelberghe, Nam Do and Steven Gabrielsen

For the third year in a row Boise State students won the regional competition of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute’s Global Investment Research Challenge (GIRC). The GIRC is an annual competition that provides university students with an opportunity to perform a comprehensive financial analysis and valuation of a publicly traded company. The students present their research to a panel of CFA judges. The Boise State team worked on Micron Technology. The team members were Ashleigh Anderson, Erin Ward, Jessica Bottelberghe, Nam Do and Steven Gabrielsen. The annual competition includes teams from BYU-Idaho, Idaho State University, College of Idaho and Northwest Nazarene University.

Boise State’s victory will see the team travel to the Americas competition to be held in Chicago during April. Indicative of the prestige of the program, CFA Institute will pay airfare, three nights in the Hilton Chicago Hotel in downtown Chicago, food and all ancillary expenses for the teams and their faculty mentors.

Boise State Career Track Hult Prize Team Competes in Shanghai, China

Boise State University’s College of Business and Economics 2016 Hult Prize Team: Hannah Coad, Connor Sheldon, Haley Shaffer, and Taylor Reed (left to right) at the Hult Prize Competition in Shanghai, China.

Boise State University’s College of Business and Economics 2016 Hult Prize Team: Hannah Coad, Connor Sheldon, Haley Shaffer, and Taylor Reed (left to right) at the Hult Prize Competition in Shanghai, China.

The Boise State 2016 Hult Prize team recently arrived back from competing on the international stage in Shanghai China for a prize of 1 million US Dollars. The Hult Prize Competition, in collaboration with the Clinton Foundation, is the world’s largest social enterprise business plan competition. The annual, year-long competition begins on university campuses around the world and winners advance to one of the five regional Hult Business School locations. These locations include Shanghai, Dubai, and London with two locations in the U.S. Approximately 50 to 60 teams compete at each of the regionals with the winners advancing to the global competition in New York City after a summer-long incubator designed to cultivate their comprehensive business plan.

After holding a university-wide competition, this year Boise State University’s College of Business and Economics sent four MBA Career Tract students to compete for the Hult Prize: Haley Shaffer, Taylor Reed, Connor Sheldon, and Hannah Coad. These students, coming from diverse educational backgrounds of education, international affairs, health science, and biochemistry, respectively, harnessed their unique skills, ambition, and creativity to solve one of the toughest problems the world currently faces. This year’s theme, chosen by Bill Clinton states, “Can we build sustainable, scalable, and fast-growing social enterprises that double the income of 10 million people residing in crowded urban spaces, by better connecting people, goods, and serves and capital?”

The Boise State Team presented last month to an international panel of judges in Shanghai, China. The team pitched the idea of the Start Cart—a vehicle for change. The cart could be pulled by hand or by bicycle and could be utilized for business or personal use. Micro entrepreneurs could adapt this locally sourced cart for a variety of purposes such as a laundry service, food delivery, or mobile barber; the possibilities of such a cart are endless.

The team looks forward to utilizing the invaluable skills learned through this experience as they advance in their education and business careers.

Below the four team members share the impact of the Hult Prize experience:

“The Hult Prize was an incredible experience all around. However, the aspect of the experience I will always remember was the opportunity to meet and learn from my peers from every corner of the globe, all with a common goal. Everyone at the Hult Prize was downright passionate about making the world a better place using business as the catalyst.

It was truly inspiring to be in a room full of people with such diverse cultures and backgrounds. The difference of perspectives among our competitors was vast and the collaboration between cultures was powerful. The Hult Prize reminded me how big the world is and revealed that there is a generation of highly motivated social entrepreneurs on the rise.” –Haley Shaffer

“In Boise, the air is clean, the traffic isn’t too bad, and after a 15 minute bike ride I’m in the foothills where the sounds of sirens and cars are nonexistent. Competing in the Hult Prize pushed our team of four out of Boise’s bliss into the world of crowded urban spaces where hundreds of millions of people live each day without clean water, electricity, access to basic health care, and food. Digging into these messy intricate problems reminded me just how big the world is, and while Boise is one of my favorite places on earth, we must not become complaisant.” –Taylor Reed

“Competing in the Hult Prize was the best educational opportunity I have ever encountered. I was able to utilize the skills I have learned through the Career Track MBA program to create and present a solution that had the potential to solve one of the world’s most pressing issues.

Further, the support from COBE and the Boise community was phenomenal and I feel very blessed to have created great connections with local business leaders. Additionally, while competing in Shanghai, I was able to connect with students from around the world to learn about best business practices.

I highly recommend students take advantage of this opportunity.” –Connor Sheldon

“The Hult Prize opened my eyes to a world of social problems not far beyond our reach. Indeed, many of the issues people face living in crowded urban spaces face are prevalent within the United States. People around the world struggle to meet daily needs including food, water, sanitation, education and safety. Through the Hult Prize it was inspiring getting to meet many arising young business leaders who are utilizing the leverage of social enterprise to solve some of the world’s toughest issues. Through each of their innovative solutions was passion, creativity, and a deeply rooted motivation to change the world.”—Hannah Coad

Article written by Hannah Joy Coad

Career Track MBA Student on Winning Team for Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge

Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge

Fourteen teams of intrepid student entrepreneurs took home $100,000 in seed funding to bolster their businesses at the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge awards presentation April 1 at Trailhead in Boise.

All 22 colleges and universities in the Gem State were invited to participate in the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge, a statewide venture competition that aims to stimulate entrepreneurship. Of the 75 competitors from around the state, 23 teams were selected as finalists. The program is directed by Boise State University’s College of Innovation and Design and College of Business and Economics, and sponsored by Zions Bank.

Teams earned seed funding in the categories of Health, Technology, Agriculture Technology and Social Impact. Each of the four first-place teams earned $13,000 for their innovations.

In the Health category, first place was awarded to Safeguard Equipment for their product AC-Sentry, a patentable wristband that alerts personnel working near high-voltage electricity of nearby energized surfaces and conductors. Team members are University of Idaho students Brandon Bledsoe and Tim Ledford.

Shaw Mountain Technology earned first place in the Technology category for its micropump for the pharmaceutical market. The Boise State University team includes Career Track MBA student, Joe Runyan, and other team members Aaron R. Smith and Andrew Armstrong.

Hurd Tracking earned first place in the Agriculture Technology category for their innovation that helps ranchers protect their livelihood by providing them knowledge of where their cattle are, when they need to know it most. The Boise State University team includes Sheena Coles, Joshua Whitworth, Kenneth Lock-Smith and Jared Cooke.

First-place honors were presented to Revival Outlet in the Social Impact category. The business collects used bicycle tires from bike shops and turns them into fashionable belts. Revival Outlet is led by BYU-Idaho students Emerson Hammer and Mitchell Taylor.

“We were enormously impressed by all of our competitors this year, and we look forward to watching the winning businesses grow and thrive with the help of the seed funding provided by the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge,” said Mike Winder, director of Entrepreneurship Programs for Zions Bank. “Zions Bank is committed to enhancing Idaho’s entrepreneurial ecosystem because small businesses create jobs, strengthen our communities and make enormous contributions to the local economy.”

“With 75 ventures participating statewide, the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge is proof that the entrepreneurial culture is alive and well at Idaho’s universities,” said Gordon Jones, dean of Boise State’s College of Innovation and Design. “These students are using their skills, insights, and drive to solve problems of local, state and global importance. I can’t wait to see the positive impact they have on Idaho and beyond.”

Following is a full list of the awards presented:


  • 1st place: Safeguard Equipment, University of Idaho, $13,000
  • 2nd place: GuardLock, University of Idaho, $7,500
  • 3rd place: Vandal Ultraspeed, University of Idaho, $3,000


  • 1st place: Shaw Mountain Technology, Boise State University, $13,000
  • 2nd place: HydroGrip, University of Idaho, $7,500
  • 3rd place: Talent Cloud, BYU-Idaho, $2,000
  • 3rd place: Defkon Technology, Boise State University, $2,000

Agriculture Technology:

  • 1st place: Hurd Tracking, Boise State University, $13,000
  • 2nd place: The Feller Pump, University of Idaho, $7,500
  • 3rd place: Agritak, University of Idaho, $3,000

Mary Olson, Career Track MBA Instructor, Receives Golden Apple Award

image Mary Olson, Mary Olson, lecturer in business communication, has been honored with a Golden Apple award. Each year students from across campus nominate outstanding professors for this award sponsored by the Associated Students. Nominees have shown exceptional dedication to their students inside and outside the classroom. More than 380 student nominations were received for more than 70 faculty members.

Congratulations, Mary.

Career Track MBA students win a bid to change the world by competing in the 2016 Hult Prize

Team Stockdale group photoCongratulations to TEAM STOCKDALE!! The winner of the first Hult Prize @ Boise State event and the future 2016 Hult Prize $1MM GLOBAL CHAMPIONS AND CHANGEMAKERS! Team Captain Haley Schaefer with teammates Connor Sheldon, Hannah Coad, and Taylor Reed.

The competition aims to create and launch compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by billions of people. This year’s challenge is to build a sustainable, scalable and fast-growing social enterprise that doubles the income of 10 million people residing in crowded urban spaces, by better connecting people goods, services and capital. Winners receive one million dollars in seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community.

Follow Team Stockdale’s progress on RBI’s website as they move towards the final competition hosted in Shanghai in March 2016. This is the fifth Career Track MBA team in four years to make it to the prestigious Hult Prize finals.

The team was able to practice their pitch during an event held at the  at Boise’s innovative start-up hub, TRAILHEAD. Over 100 community members came to listen to the teams pitch their ideas before they head to the 2016 Hult Prize Regional Final events in Shanghai and San Francisco.

Hult prize 16 kustra

Celebration lunch with Boise State’s President, Bob Kustra

Career Track MBA Student in Prestigious Triathlon Program

Jessica Bottelberghe’s, a student in Boise State’s full-time MBA program, quest to become an Olympic triathlete was recently highlighted on KBOI.

Travis Boersma, Founder of Dutch Bros. Coffee, Delivered an Inspirational Talk at Boise State MBA Students

by Sean Luster

image Travis Boersma, founder Dutch Bros. Coffee, speaks at Boise State 8-20-2015This fall, College of Business and Economics students were treated to an inspirational lecture and Q&A with Travis Boersma, one of the founders of Dutch Bros. Coffee. Travis and his older brother Dane started Dutch Bros. in the early 90s, and the company has blossomed into a growing empire of drive-thru coffee locations throughout the Western U.S. From the start, the brothers made it their mission to not only provide great coffee, but to share a positive and enthusiastic outlook with their customers.

That high-energy, optimistic attitude was apparent throughout the lecture, as Travis wove an amazing tale of humble beginnings working on the family farm, to operating a coffee push cart with a pop-up tent, to becoming “the country’s largest privately held, drive-thru coffee company.” Even having experienced a handful of trials and tribulations, Travis made it clear that having a winning attitude and striving to do better were obvious success factors.image Travis Boersma, founder Dutch Bros. Coffee, Speaks at Boise State 8-20-2015

“Travis had a big impact on me with his down-to-earth attitude and the experiences he’s had starting a business with his brother,” said MBA Career Track student, Sean Luster. “His talk inspired me to continue to push myself and keep growing as a professional and as a person.”

The packed crowd of students and faculty in the audience walked away with a wealth of wisdom and a smile (of course) because Travis, living the Dutch Bros. creed, would not have it any other way.

Career Track MBA Student Team Wins the CFA Institute Global Investment Research Challenge

Five Boise State Career Track MBA students were named champions of the CFA Institute Global Investment Research Challenge (GIRC) yesterday.  The GIRC is an annual competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis.  Students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company, The Boise State team worked on Boise Cascade.  The team members were Jackie Presnell, Nickie Li, Brady Lawrence, Ken Mazur, AND Ebo Makinde. Professor Keith Harvey served as faculty mentor.

Each team writes a research report on their assigned company with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation, and defends their analysis to a panel of CFA judges. Members of the Boise Cascade management team attended the presentations, along with several CFA’s from the Idaho Society.

This is the second consecutive win for Boise State in the regional competition under the mentorship of Professor Harvey.  He commented that “the competition is an incredible learning experience for the students, where the most important lesson is that there’s no substitute for hard work and a team orientation in realizing success. These students worked many late nights, and I couldn’t be more proud of their effort and dedication to one another. The end product is of the same quality you’ll find produced on Wall Street.”

The competition this year consisted of teams from BYU-Idaho, Idaho State University, College of Idaho, and Northwest Nazarene. Boise State’s victory will see the team travel to the Americas competition to be held in Atlanta during April.  Indicative of the prestige of the program, CFA Institute will pay airfare, hotel, food and all ancillary expenses for the teams and their faculty mentors to stay for three nights in the luxurious Lowes hotel in downtown Atlanta.

Boise State Team Advances to Hult Prize Competition for Third Straight Year

Hult prize competition teamA team of Boise State University MBA students has advanced to the regional finals of the sixth annual Hult Prize.

The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social good.

In partnership with former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, the innovative crowdsourcing platform identifies and launches disruptive and catalytic social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges.

Student teams will compete in five cities around the world for a chance to secure $1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture. Boise State’s team is from the full-time MBA program in the College of Business and Economics, and includes team members Stephanie Stoenner, Jeremy Branch, Haley Schaefer, Daniel Salamone and Jessica Sokoloski. They will compete in London March 13-14.

Each team selected was chosen from more than 20,000 applications received from more than 500 colleges and universities in 150-plus countries.

“This is the third year in a row that a Boise State MBA student team has advanced to the regional finals of the prestigious Hult Prize,” said Trisha Stevens Lamb, director of the career track MBA program. “This is a testament to how bright, motivated and socially conscious our students are. They are really looking to make a difference in the world and this experience will no doubt shape their global and philanthropic outlook as they become leaders in our communities.”

The Hult Prize gives entrepreneurs from around the world a platform to innovate and revolutionize the way society thinks about servicing the poor. The 2015 Hult Prize will focus on building start-ups that provide sustainable, high-quality early education solutions to 10 million children under the age of 6 who live in urban slums.

“Servicing the world’s poorest through profitable and sustainable enterprise is not just good for the world, it’s great business,” said Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and founder of the Hult Prize Foundation. “We couldn’t be happier that Boise State University will be joining our mission with their participation in the sixth annual Hult Prize.”

The Hult Prize regional final competitions will be held in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set up to launch and scale their new ventures. A final round of competition will be hosted by President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September, where CGI delegates will select a winning team that will be awarded the $1 million prize.