Today: Apr 23, 2024

MBA students participate in competition

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Students with Michael Okrent, professor in the MBA program at the Connecticut Business Plan Competition.


As a way to prepare students for the job market, Michael Okrent, professor in the MBA program, had one of his classes participate in the Connecticut Collegiate Business Plan Competition.

To prepare for the competition students wrote up business plans and presented them to a panel of judges at an intramural competition at SCSU, said Okrent, in which finalists were chosen to move on.

“The idea was they had to create a concept for a business,” said Okrent. “To solve a problem or identify a niche that wasn’t being served completely.”

Okrent said a $500 grant was distributed to the top teams, with the intention to help them if they decided to put their business plan into action.

“It provides them with the opportunity to be creative in a business sense to understand the risks and rewards of becoming an entrepreneur,” said Okrent, “and also if they’re working for a larger corporation how you can create new business opportunities even within an existing business.”

Okrent said his advise to students who want to be successful entrepreneurs would be to creative and always have an eye open for new business ventures.

“From a personal perspective it’s important to have multiple income streams,” said Okrent. “I might have a small, part-time business that I started on my own that could supplement my income or provide new experience.”

Trent Levi, a graduate student, was in Okrent’s class and participated in the preliminary competition. He said he would recommend the experience to other students.

“I thought it was very beneficial and interesting,” said Levi, “and I learned a real lot from it.”

Ellen Durnin, dean of the School of Business said the competition was a great learning experience for students.

“A large percentage of students will be involved with start up companies or small businesses,” said Durnin, “and this is an essential skill, the ability to write a business plans and be able to present their ideas clearly and to defend their ideas.”

Durnin said the top team during the intramural selected to continue and compete at the CCBPC competition did not receive a cash prize, but placed on the level just below a cash prize.

“The process doesn’t end when the competition is over,” said Durnin. “It’s a networking event for them as well; they make some good connections.”

Durnin said she encourages students to participate in competitions like these because it gives real-life experience.

“I think this is one of the many ways that we are bringing the real world into the curriculum at the school of business,” said Durnin. “We’ve encouraged other kinds of competition.”

One of these other competitions was an event last year in which undergrads took a look at supply chain management, said Durnin.

The School of Business is currently looking into a number of ways to help make students more marketable, said Durnin, including an etiquette dinner that will take place in March to teach students how to act during a dinner interview.

“We really want to be your go-to business school,” said Durnin, “to have a business school that we’re proud of, that the business community wants to come to.”

Durnin said the new School of Business which is on track to open this summer, will also help achieve these goals.

These business students may not only have an affect locally, but Okrent said entrepreneurs define the country as a whole as well.

“Entrepreneurship in our country is one of the ways that we really differentiate ourselves from other countries,” said Okrent. “We have people that are very, very creative that understand how capitalism works and this is a way of allowing that creativeness to create new opportunities for us to grow as a country as well.”

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