Do you run or own a business? Then you’re faced with plenty of challenges every day. From how to increase sales, whether to hire or expand, or how much to spend on marketing or to reinvest in equipment, these questions take time, money and expertise to answer.
Now, Brandon University (BU) business students are ready to take their lessons out of the textbook and put them into practice on your behalf. They can help you answer some of those questions, at no cost, as part of a final project.
“These are final-year students who have already taken marketing, human resources and accounting courses; they are very focused on solving real business problems, like slow sales,” said Michael Malazdrewicz, Associate Professor in Business Administration at BU. “Students have to be creative in coming up with solutions that accommodate the reality of small businesses — they have fewer people and less money to spend.”
Malazdrewicz says that, with 29 students who will work in groups, he expects them to be able to tackle about 15 local business issues, and he’d like to have at least 20 for them to choose from.
“We let the students choose something that they want to work on, so right away business owners are in good shape — the students want to help,” Malazdrewicz said. “Business owners will receive a formal presentation and full documentation of the proposal, something that would normally cost thousands of dollars from a consultant.”
Brandon Chamber of Commerce President Jordan Ludwig says that this is a great opportunity for local businesses to take advantage of.
“You get a unique and new and novel approach, and not only that, it’s cost-effective,” said Ludwig, who is also owner-manager of Brandon Business Interiors (BBI). “We’ve gone through the program twice, and implemented both solutions — successfully.”
Ludwig also graduated from the program, and says it was equally valuable from a student perspective.
“You get to get out in the community, and tackle a real-world problem, not a case study in a textbook,” he said.
The Department of Business Administration at BU has a long and successful history of offering a balanced yet rigorous program of education and training for business students.
“Professor Malazdrewicz’s course in Small Business Management combines academic rigour with practical application,” said Dean of Arts Demetres Tryphonopoulos. “This benefits both the students and the local businesses who have challenges that the students can help solve under Prof. Malazdrewicz’s comprehensive and expert supervision.”
Business proposals should be submitted to Professor Malazdrewicz by the end of January and students will pick their chosen projects before reading week in mid-February. Anyone interested is welcome to call or email him to find out more about submitting. He can be reached at 204.727.9610 or MikeM@BrandonU.ca.
Students will work closely with each business to understand the specifics of each situation and to come up with a solution that fits the local market. Businesses will receive their presentations by the end of term, around early April.
“These projects are worth a substantial amount of each student’s course grade,” Malazdrewicz said. “They’re very well prepared to tackle any business issue, and very motivated to do a good job. Throw us your toughest challenges.”
- Brandon University
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