College of Business and Economics News
Kim Sherman-Labrum, an associate business consultant for the Idaho Small Business Development Center, recently spoke to attendees of a Fruitland Chamber of Commerce luncheon about tips and tricks to help increase their online presence. Read about her tips in the Argus Observer, “Speaker offers tips on website visibility.” Sherman-Labrum is a Certified Google Partner.
In February, 13 teams supported by the Idaho VentureCapital.Org mentors and interns from Boise State University and Idaho State University traveled to Utah to pitch their companies to regional investors at the 34th Annual Investors Choice Venture Capital Conference.
Nine companies from Idaho shared innovative ideas that ranged from robotics and autonomous tractors to financial technology and food products. Other creative solutions include companies that will change how people can use technology for end-of-life services, enable parents peace of mind when their children leave home to attend school and will innovate how commercial lighting contracting services are done. Two companies from out of state who provide innovative solutions to rural healthcare will consider moving or expanding operations to Idaho because of the business community’s willingness to support their entrepreneurial visions.
These emerging enterprises will provide jobs of the future to Idaho graduates and opportunity within Idaho’s expanding economy. Additionally, the success of these companies will invite more investment capital to the State to further enable Idaho’s entrepreneurs. The Strategic Capital Growth Program established through the partnership between the College of Business and Economics and VentureCapital.Org brings a world-class mentor resource to aspiring entrepreneurs with the mission of enabling them greater success in raising essential growth capital from the investment community. Our student interns learn practical business strategy from these emerging innovators and draw a wealth of wisdom from over 600 professional mentors from within our program. Through this program and the efforts within Boise State University, we help entrepreneurs find both treasure and talent to grow their business and create opportunity in Idaho for Idahoans.
In January, Strategic Growth Capital Partnership hosted an investor pitch rehearsal in preparation for the conference attendance. Read the Update story on the SharkTank-like event here.
Tom Gattiker, professor, and Jim Kroes, associate professor in the Department of Information Technology and Supply Chain Management, recently published a paper, “Operational Leanness and Retail Firm Performance Since 1980” in the International Journal of Production Economics.
The article applies propositions from lean management to the retail industry. Kroes and Gattiker also operate Boise State’s Process Improvement Initiative which helps staff and faculty better understand and improve university processes.
In Nancy Napier’s latest blog for the Idaho Statesman, she recommends setting aside time in your day for deep work – unplug the distractions. It will add value to your organization and your life.
Nancy Napier is a Distinguished Professor at Boise State University.
Gundars (Gundy) Kaupins spoke on how to incorporate humor in the workplace at the Process Improvement Symposium in early February.
To be creative when using humor, individuals should go crazy, build on others’ ideas, and do not criticize. Criticism will reduce ideas because of the fear of rejection. He conducted an experiment by asking the attendees to find 50 creative uses for a paper clip. The experiment showed how groups can create many ideas such as playing miniature tennis and flossing teeth.
In the second half of the presentation, he had participants share some jokes that people can relate to. There were a bunch of good hits.
“The best jokes,” Kaupins said, “help listeners use their knowledge and experiences to understand what is said. Using such humor can help bring people together in the workplace.”
Doug Twitchell, an assistant professor in the Department of Information Technology and Supply Chain Management, was in the KTVB video “Verify: Can Companies Protect You from Cybercrime?” For this segment of Verify, reporter Joe Parris investigated services claiming to search hidden parts of the internet to see if your information is out there. Twitchell gave his opinion that that service is more a clever advertising tactic rather than a useful service.
Students and Business Executives Praise the Learning Power of Business: Total Immersion Learning Courses
College of Business and Economics students are experiencing what it’s like to work in a real business environment through the Business: Total Immersion learning courses, piloted by professors Ruth Jebe and Shelle Poole of the Department of Management. The Total Immersion framework builds courses around a fictional work environment constructed in and for the classroom. Total Immersion uses active and experiential learning techniques to deepen student mastery of course materials and concepts that make them business ready.
Students in the courses describe them as unique and refreshing, unlike any class they have had before.
Jebe introduced the framework into her undergraduate legal environment course by structuring activities and assignments around a fictional national electronics retailer. Students were tasked with addressing the actual types of legal issues that managers in different functional areas of the company would encounter in their daily work. Students in the course recognized the value of the immersion framework in promoting their own learning and transition into the business world. In course feedback, Jebe’s students stated that “the immersion style of the class helped … in understanding how the material related to the real world,” and was “helpful in putting concepts into context.”
Poole drove students’ entrepreneurial spirit in her capstone strategy course by having them create a plan for a new business and then pitch that business to a panel of angel investors played by local executives. It was valuable for students to receive feedback from local influencers outside of the university. Poole’s students felt that, “[the immersion aspect of the class]… made us think in ways that traditional coursework could not.” Another student commented on how “the teacher gave us assignments and threw us curves to make sure we got the experience that a real job would give us.”
The participating executives could one day be those interviewing these students for jobs, and they also praised the learning power of the Total Immersion framework.
Eric Holstine, a serial local entrepreneur, thinks that the students “working in groups and hashing out start-up puzzles is the perfect way to get them ready for real-world communication puzzles.”
Dan Sel, owner of The Stil Ice Cream Shop in downtown Boise, discussed his own challenges in adjusting to the real world after graduate school, and notes that providing a learning environment “that allows them to begin to make those adjustments will be invaluable once they are in front of real managers, stakeholders and investors.”
Both Amanda Martinez and Karen Sales, who are in vice president roles at Albertsons, agreed that these investment pitches and projects are ideal in understanding the real world experience of working on a team to implement a business plan.
Professors Jebe and Poole are currently teaching the second round of courses using the Total Immersion framework with the objective of continuous improvement and refinement of the framework.