Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

College of Business and Economics News

MBA Student, Sydney Axtell, Wins Prize Money at Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge

Sydney Axtell Boise State MBA student

Sydney, second from the right, and her mentor, Kevin Learned, far right.

The 2017 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge conclude Friday, March 31. Twenty-six teams from across Idaho competed for $100,000 in seed funding generously provided by Zions Bank.

Sydney Axtell, our own MBA student and dean’s office GA, took 1st place in the health and healthy living category and received $10,000 of seed funding for her startup – berry box.

“My next challenge is to figure out how I should use the funding and it’s stressful to think about, but I’m so grateful to Zions Bank for providing the opportunity. It’s good stress,” said Axtell. ” The award money is obviously fantastic, but the best part of the competition was interacting, learning and gaining validation from the incredible minds of the judges. What an insane experience! I’ll be in touch with a few of the judges for mentorship in the future, but for now I will head back to the Venture College and keep plugging away with the help of my current mentors: Kevin Learned, Ed Zimmer, Marilyn Bickle, and Whitney Hansen. ”

At the awards ceremony Friday, all participating teams were announced and each gave a one-minute pitch about their companies. Students from Boise State make up eight of the teams in the finals.

See all the IEC winners here. See Zions Bank’s blog about the 2017 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge here.


Jack Marr Spoke at International Business Education Conference

Jack Marr, International Business associate professor On March 24, Jack Marr of the Department of Management spoke at the annual Consortium on Undergraduate International Business Education (CUIBE) conference at Northeastern University in Boston. Marr’s speech was titled “Working with GOs and NGOs without Stepping on Toes to Promote International Business.”

New Online Management Degree

Austin Legg presenting Hult Prize pitch to HPBoise State University now offers a fully online bachelor of business administration (BBA) in management. The new management degree, offered through the College of Business and Economics, gives working adults an affordable, flexible way to finish their bachelor’s degree and advance their careers.

Boise State is currently accepting applications to the program. The first cohort of students will begin their online studies fall 2017.

“This important College of Business and Economics management degree completion program will meet a significant need in the community,” said COBE Dean Ken Petersen. “It will give many students the opportunity to complete their degree, regardless of whether they are able to be physically with us here in Boise. I am so pleased that we will be offering this program, as I truly believe that it will help many of our students to achieve their dreams.”

Students in the program will build on their past school and work experience to become innovative leaders. The online management degree emphasizes relevant skills like digital competence, responsible business practices and managerial problem solving. 

“Designed with the guidance of the exceptional staff at eCampus, this degree-completion program represents a new model for online learning,” said Susan Park, chair of the Department of Management. “Experienced Boise State faculty will develop and teach the courses, giving students access to the same quality instruction and interactive experience our current students enjoy. The program’s blend of traditional management principles with relevant coursework, such as design thinking and managing innovation and change, will provide students the opportunity to develop the management skills they’ll need to become effective, successful leaders.”

Designed to be completed in as little as 21 months, the online management degree is offered in both full- and part-time formats, and students pay a per-credit rate.

Boise State’s College of Business and Economics is accredited by AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, placing it in the top tier of business schools worldwide, and ensuring students a quality education.

For more information visit

Rob Anson Retirement Reception April 13

Rob Anson, professor of information technology management in the IT-SCM department, is retiring after 27 years of service to the university.

Photo of Rob Anson.

Rob Anson

A reception is planned for 3-5 p.m. Thursday, April 13, in the Lookout Room in the Student Union Building. Light appetizers, refreshments and cake will be served.

Anson has been involved in a variety of campus-wide projects all the while teaching classes in database, senior projects, business intelligence, and system analysis and design. Throughout all the design and configurations of automated tools, Anson always has tried to keep in mind that the key to successful implementation is to work with people’s processes and fit those into the systems. For the first 10 years of Anson’s career, he was instrumental in working alongside other COBE faculty in fundraising and securing grants for computer labs. Anson worked facilitating teams by serving as the liaison for various group decision support systems where members could brainstorm, vote and add input to projects using the electronic meeting rooms, which he and colleagues built with grants.

Within his department, he also led curriculum change efforts, conducted extensive student advising and guided student organizations through many computer repair fairs for the community, as well as national student competitions.

International Business Students Learn Implication of U.S. Proposed Pullout from TPP

International business class at Boise State UniversityOn March 14, international business Professor Jack Marr along with political science chair and Canadian studies director Professor Lori Hausegger welcomed Carlo Dade, director of the Centre on Trade and Investment Policy at the Canada West Foundation, to speak in Marr’s International Business 220 class in Skaggs Hall of Learning. Dade gave an up-to-the-minute talk on the implications of the U.S.’s proposed pullout from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the impact on Canadian policy, and the implications for global economic leadership attending the TPP talks at Viña del Mar, Chile, also on March 14.

RBI and COBE Students Help Treefort Re-Certify as a B-Corp

image of Treefort Music Fest main stage signTreefort Music Festival, held each March in downtown Boise, brings bands, fans and businesses from across the country to the City of Trees. But the five-day festival also focuses on helping the community as a certified B-Corp.

B-Corps are for-profit companies that seek to “use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.” Companies are certified as a B-Corp by an external organization, called B Lab, and must meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

Emily Erickson, manager of the Responsible Business Initiative in the College of Business and Economics, said there are 14 students that volunteer their time to work with companies either certifying for the first time or re-certifying as a B-Corp. Four of those students are working with the Treefort leadership team to re-certify.

“B-Corps have to re-certify every two years,” said Erickson. “And every time it gets tougher and those businesses have to focus even more on their community, accountability and the environment.”

Alex Suggs,

Alex Suggs, graduate assistant for the Responsible Business Initiative

Alex Suggs, Career Track MBA student and graduate assistant working with the students, said they’re learning real-world skills that’ll help immensely after graduation.

“They serve as student consultants, helping real businesses make real plans,” Suggs said.

In summer 2014, the Treefort leadership team decided to form Treefort LLC and began seeking B-Corp certification, which was officially granted in 2015. According to the B Lab website, there are 2064 certified B Corps from 43 countries and over 120 industries, including eight right here in the Gem State.

This year, Treefort Music Fest will consume much of downtown Boise March 22-26.

Meet Laura Chiuppi, the New Director of COBE Career Services


Laura ChiuppiLaura Chiuppi came to Boise State University in early 2016 as a career advisor and was promoted to director of COBE Career Services in January 2017.

She is an east coast native, born and raised in Massachusetts. After completing her undergraduate degree, Laura struggled to find a career that aligned with her interests and expertise. This experience led her to go back to school and refocus her career goals. In 2014, she completed her master’s degree in education at UMASS Boston, specializing in administration. While in Boston, Laura served as assistant director for four years at an international school.

Laura has a passion and talent for working with people. Her strong interpersonal skills allow her to connect with a diverse student population. In her position as director of COBE Career Services, she helps students identify their strengths and meet their career goals through exploration, development, knowledge and preparation. She inspires students to actively participate in their education and encourages them to think about their career goals early and often. Laura has developed a series of event programming centered on helping students build a professional network and develop job skills.

Associate Dean Keith Harvey looks forward to increased student success with Laura’s work in Career Services.

“Laura’s passion for student outcomes, and highly successful relationship building efforts with employers across the Treasure Valley, have positioned the COBE Career Services startup to deliver a suite of career offerings that will propel our graduates to success in initial career placement and beyond,” said Harvey.

Laura is thrilled to be a part of the Boise State community and proud to work for the College of Business and Economics where collaboration and innovation are valued. Laura strives to foster connections with the business community that will promote economic prosperity, and build and retain our young, talented workforce.

Laura serves on the Boise Young Professionals leadership team as the chair of the Outreach Committee. She is also on the Junior Achievement Hire to Inspire Committee and Boise Workforce Education Committee. In her free time, she loves trail running, riding her bike and camping with her family.