A team of MBA students from UNC Pembroke earned an honorable mention award in a recent statewide competition sponsored by the state’s Small Business and Technology Development Centers (SBTDC).
State Award – UNCP student Dan Troutman with award is flanked by MBA Director Dr. Carmen Calabrese, left, and Scott Daughtery, state SBTDC director.
The graduate students consulted with a local small business and wrote up their results for the competition. The team consisted of Susan Dickerson, a senior vice president for BB&T, Daniel Troutman, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Jay Stanley, finance director for Whiteville City Schools.
The group worked with Bon-Aire Filters of Marietta, N.C., and Bob Floyd Jr., its founder. The 38 year old company makes a woven fiber product for many uses, including heat and air conditioning systems, air purifiers, refrigeration systems and even mass transit.
“They did a good job and have given me some good advice,” Floyd said. “There are some changes I need to make, and we’re giving it a lot of thought right now.”
Some of that advice was about marketing for the small company with 10-12 employees, said Jack Shumake, marketing and research director.
“They introduced us to a search engine for marketing, and we’ve put several products on it,” Shumake said.
Student team member Dan Troutman said they produced a business plan that got results, and they gained real world experience.
TEAM MBA -- Left to right: Dan Troutman, Jay Stanley, Sue Dickerson, Bob Floyd Jr., business owner, and Jack Shumake, marketing director
“We produced a plan that targeted several new markets and new customers for filters in the areas of allergy and asthma,” Troutman said. “We also assisted Bon-Aire in getting a contract with a HUB (Historically Underutilized Businesses) Zone customer.”
Troutman said “the project was very helpful in allowing me to utilize the new skills I had learned in MBA program and apply them in a real life situation,” he said.
SBTDC advisor Johnnie Marshburn, whose office is located at UNCP’s Regional Center for Economic, Community and Professional Development, said Bon-Aire is a client whose goal is to expand its business.
“Our team provided a marketing blueprint and was very successful,” Marshburn said. “The SBTDC uses graduate students to leverage our services to clients who need a variety of assistance.
“This is an example of how a University impacts its region’s economic development,” he said.
Dr. Carmen Calabrese, director of UNCP’s MBA program, said projects of this type are beneficial to students also.
“First of all, this was a very strong team with varied and impressive backgrounds in business,” Dr. Calabrese said. “This program seeks to be a forum for students to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world; it’s a template for implementing theories and concepts.
“This was very beneficial to these student and our programs as we focus on entrepreneurship in the future,” he said.
It was the second SBTDC competition for UNCP. Last year, a UNCP team won third place honors.