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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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In good company

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Photo by Photo by Annie Lui

MS Business students create companies for Integrated Business Experience courses. 

Many students juggle the expectations of class and a full workload, but only around 40 current graduate students add on the pressure of managing their own functioning company through A&M’s Master of Science Business program.
The program which launched in 2016, aims to facilitate the business learning process to students who did not earn their undergraduate degrees in business areas. Marketing itself as a track that focuses on “learning business by doing business,” the program integrates team-based learning and practical application, according to their website.
One way the program strives to achieve this goal is through the mandatory enrollment of their students in Integrated Business Experience Courses. These classes throw students into the process of creating, marketing and managing a business with their fellow classmates.
The class is divided into eight teams who pitch their companies for review. The initial companies pitched are then narrowed down to four, all of which pitch their businesses to bank loan officers to get funding. The students close their business after the end of the semester and donate all of their proceeds to various charities.
The initial process of selecting the final buisness plans was an invaluable learning experience, according to Alan Norman, current MS business candidate. Norman is a member of the team that created The Ripple Effect, a t-shirt business that partners with the charity Americares to provide natural disaster relief.
Norman said the teams have approximately two weeks from the time they get the project assignment to come up with the product and begin the interviewing process.
“During that time you are doing the interviews, surveys, trying to find out if there is interest or not,” Norman said. “Then you have another two weeks to prepare after that for a ‘Shark Tank’ style presentation. Each team goes in and they present to the head of the program, the head of the class and a couple of guest judges to help decide which four teams will move forward with their project. The four teams that don’t get picked will be then onboarded onto the teams that were picked.”
The final four companies, including The Ripple Effect, are diverse in nature. AgScents, a candle company, organized a candle-purchasing competition between A&M’s women’s organizations to determine which philanthropy will receive their proceeds. United for 30, a phone pocket company, gives its proceeds to The American Cancer Society. Old Army, a furniture repair company, donates to Brazos Valley Young Life.
Each team put serious thought into the charity their company would be benefiting, according to Connor Pogue, current MS business candidate and member of the United for 30 team.
“The whole idea was to raise money for cancer research,” Pogue said. “We’re raising funds through selling a mass market product which we call phone pockets. What got us doing this instead of raising money for something else is that every single person on our team has a personal connection to cancer.”
The program offers students the ability to take the knowledge they are gaining in their classes and apply it to real world scenarios, according to McKenzie Mull, MS business candidate and member of AgScents.
“I think it is definitely unique,” Mull said. “I have talked to a lot of people at different schools that have a similar program but they don’t have the application. Here, we are getting the theory [and the application]. All of our classes have us integrate what we are doing with our own businesses and apply it right then. It’s very textbook to application which is so cool.”

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