This year, Ohio University’s One-Year MBA program introduced New Venture Planning, a course designed to provide students with insight on how to start a business. Luke Pittaway, professor of Management and executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, incorporates experiential learning into his course curriculum by taking his students on learning journeys.
“The best way to learn how to start a business is to go to the source,” said Pittaway. “Learning journeys are class trips that give students an opportunity to speak with local business owners, take tours, and attend conferences.”
On Sept. 9, the One-Year MBA students experienced their first learning journey at Ohio University’s Innovation Center, a startup tech incubator. The students heard from entrepreneurs whose companies are currently housed in or have graduated from the Innovation Center. They also met with members of groups that work closely with the iC, including TechGROWTH, an organization that prepares many of the startups in the iC for funding and provides connections with potential investors.
This week’s learning journey didn’t stop there. The students traveled to three local companies, ranging in products, origin, and work atmosphere. The first stop was at Quidel, an in-vitro diagnostics company. Quidel specializes in infectious disease testing applications and kits, and their main goal is to increase testing accuracy and minimize testing complexity and result time. This visit was particularly interesting to Jennifer Silk, MBA/DO dual-degree student, and Charles Ebersbacher, MBA/DO dual-degree student, both in their third year as medical students in Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“I felt like a kid in a candy store!” said Silk. “Learning about all three businesses was amazing, but to be able to learn about the inner workings of a business in a field that I’m incredibly passionate about was beyond any expectations I had for the day.”
The next stop was Global Cooling, a company that manufactures and sells energy-efficient freezers for scientific research. Global Cooling utilizes an innovative hardware design combined with a revolutionary cooling method to achieve a two-thirds reduction in energy output and cost compared to the industry standard. Not only does this product have the potential to save research laboratories millions of dollars in energy each year, but it is a far more environmentally responsible alternative to its competitors.
The One-Year MBA cohort ended their day at Jackie O’s for a brewery tour from Founder Art Oestrike. Oestrike described the brewing process from start to finish and how his business model focuses on sustainability and community involvement.
“We learned that making socially responsible choices not only creates a better world, but it benefits a business from a financial standpoint as well,” said Magda Stepien, MBA/MSA ’18. “We learned that there are so many different approaches to starting and managing a successful business and we were able to build upon our classroom knowledge. It was a great day!”