Client Company Participation in BMGT 463, BMGT 475 and the
Student Entrepreneurs in Action Program
Many entrepreneurs believe that, regardless of formal education, there is no substitute
for on-the-job learning. The Entrepreneurial Experience (BMGT 463) at Montana State
University (MSU)'s Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship (JJCBE) offers
students real-world entrepreneurial experiences in projects assisting start-up companies.
As a client company of these student-consultants, your business can have a student
team (likely two members), which takes on a specific challenge in your business and
brings knowledge from this course and other business education to bear on it for a
period of 13 weeks. Students receive three hours of academic credit for the course
and no monetary compensation for their work. The client receives free labor focused
on the issue of its choosing, resulting in a deliverable which summarizes findings,
conclusions, and recommendations.
While the specific focus of the project undertaken by the student-consultants depends on the pressing issues of your business, the course is an opportunity for students to learn methods and processes for: gathering qualitative and quantitative information; scoping and estimating work and creating and executing project plans; practicing sound project management; and delivering and communicating professional-quality work.
Companies that have participated in the Entrepreneurial Experience course include EnviroZyme, Golden Helix, Inc., InfoGears, LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals, Inc., RightNow Technologies, TEXBase, Inc., and PrintingForLess.com. Historically, engaging the students quickly in the client company produces better outcomes. The more that clients can commit to spending time during the first three weeks of the course with students, helping them to understand the issues facing the business and the expectations for the content and quality of their work, the more likely it will be that they will receive deliverables imminently useful to their business. Candor in expressions of expectations and feedback throughout the engagement will help to develop the students and will be welcomed by the professor.
The content and direction of the project depends primarily on the client company's initial identification of needs. We encourage clients to identify a specific, meaningful challenge or gap in business strategy or operations that can benefit from research (primary or secondary) and exercise of basic business skills. In previous semesters, students have investigated competitors' advertising and marketing behaviors, created customer databases, researched regulatory issues, identified and validated markets for new products, and compiled intelligence on companies as potential partners for bringing new technologies to market. Results from previous projects have been incorporated into client-companies' marketing materials, commercialization plans, funding proposals, and conference presentations.
The Students of BMGT 463
Students in The Entrepreneurial Experience are usually undergraduate seniors who have chosen to minor in Entrepreneurship and Small Business with a major concentration in marketing, accounting, finance, or management. Students from other MSU colleges, e.g., Engineering, Agriculture, and Arts and Architecture sometimes enroll in the course. Students possess basic business education, including familiarity with financial reports, marketing and financial concepts and tools, and customary approaches to research and analysis. You can expect students to work four to six hours each week on the project. The application is available as a fillable .pdf file here.
Students in The Management Experience are also usually undergraduate seniors. The course is similar to that of BMGT 463. Teams do a major project such as substantive community service project, research paper, small business experience case, business plan, or strategic analysis. Practical experience with project and/or team management where performance is measured by delivered product. No credit for previous experience.
Student Entrepreneurs in Action (SEA)
The JJCBE has recently approved and launched a new program, Student Entrepreneurs in Action (SEA). Local businesses and organizations can now apply for a college intern from the SEA program to work with them from 10-20 hours weekly, at no cost to the business or organization.Client businesses, as well as non-profit organizations are welcome to apply for this unique opportunity. For additional information about this program, please contact Gary Bishop, associate teaching professor, and SEA program director at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 406-994-7017. Client applications are available here.