Business Students Facilitate Growth of Dayton Area Companies

FAIRBORN – Management students at Wright State University’s Raj Soin College of Business are gaining practical experience while helping local business owners. Students enrolled in Management 475 experience a hands-on approach to learning the development and implementation of business and marketing plans while taking into account issues of organization and human resources.

Dr. Natasha Munshi is one of the three WSU professors teaching the course along with Dr. Melissa Gruys and Dr. David S. Bright. “Our goal was to allow the students to fully immerse themselves as consultants and take a practical approach rather than a theory based seminar,” Munshi said. “The most important aspect was to really get them (the students) to experience what entrepreneurs go through firsthand and learn some important skills.”

Students are grouped into teams and serve as a business consulting team to aid in getting a new startup off the launch pad or overhaul problem areas in an existing company. Companies that the students work with in the class are selected from local applicants with the Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at WSU.

The SBDC was created in 1985 through a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Ohio Department of Development. The organization uses the services of certified business advisors, university faculty and student project teams to offer no-cost business counseling to small, local companies.

Among the participating businesses in the spring quarter class this year was GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing based in Jamestown, Ohio. The company provides business-to-business copywriting services including sales communications, media releases, white papers, e-books, and web content.

Owner Gery L. Deer is a freelance journalist and professional business writer who has been a guest speaker in the class several times. After seeing the progress the students made working with local companies, he was interested in participating as a way to help expand his company’s national exposure and client base.

“We have a unique business model with opportunities in larger regional and national markets,” Deer said. “Since our company was already established, the students focused on a rework of our public image and the development of a new marketing strategy, including a new logo, tag line and website.”

The team working on the GLD Enterprises project included Taylor Fowler of West Chester, David Dooley from Springfield, Nathan Hobson, and graduating seniors Troy Beining of Ottoville and Kasey Lynch from Port William. Each of the students worked on a different part of the project ranging from market analysis to logo development.

Of course, working as a team requires that everyone pull their weight. Each group has the opportunity to fire members who are not performing. “We started out with 24 students,” Munshi said about the spring class, “but the course took its toll and we lost a couple along the way.” Those students who are let go can apply for employment with one of the other teams, but may not be hired back.

As a client, Deer was impressed with the level of work ethic and focus the students expressed. “The team of students who worked with me on this project each brought a unique set of skills to the table and together they did a fantastic job,” Deer said. “Some of the new plans they developed have already been set in motion, including our new website, www.gldcommercialwriting.com, which is already up and running.”

Now that the course has ended, Deer will implement the remainder of the marketing plan internally, but he will have experienced help. Team member Taylor Fowler has applied to stay on with GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing in a summer internship program and continue the marketing work where the class left off.

The students on the GLD Enterprises project gave their final presentation to the class on May 27, receiving high praise for their efforts from both instructors and client. For more information on the business management program projects at Wright State University, contact Carol Baumhauer at the Small Business Development Center by calling (937) 775-3487.