For the third consecutive year, the Minnesota School of Business-Blaine (MSB) campus hosted a small business expo that highlighted the divergent opportunities found in an entrepreneurial career. As with last year’s event, many repeat exhibitors participated which, according to event coordinator, Julie Kresh, illustrated an “obvious value and mutual benefit to both our students and the community.”
Event vendors were able to market their product or specialty at no cost, while MSB students gained insight into varied options of owning and operating a small business.
Some business professionals toted health and beauty products; others pitched privately owned wellness and chiropractic clinics, yet there were those who have found true success in varied positions beyond multi-marketing business platforms. There were a few surprises. North Suburban Access Corporation (CTV) is a non-profit public media access center that is actively seeking interns to serve in the role of production assistants.
Former MSB instructor, Carolyn Boehlke (Youngbauer), shared success by selling autographed copies of her first published novel, illustrating opportunities outside of a traditional or linear approach to small business.
It was more than this though, that provided a great learning opportunity for our students. Kent Bernard, a representative of MnDOT, attended the expo and enlightened those present of the current and upcoming road construction projects which may have an impact on local businesses. What surprised expo attendees, however, was the information Bernard shared about local government offices. It is often assumed that government institutions run deep in many layers within an organizational chart; conversely, Bernard shared that the Anoka County satellite office is comprised of only a few administrative personnel.
From an application-learning perspective, MSB business program instructor, Richard Grossman, brought his marketing students to the expo to interview vendors and evaluate strategies used to target audiences via social media. In this way, students were able to apply career objectives and critical thinking in conjunction with real-time businesses—a tactile learning experiment which transcended a virtual case study out of a textbook.
Kresh added, “Events such as these empower us to bring outside businesses to our campus, providing students with unique opportunities to network, polish professional communication skills and identify volunteer, internship and career opportunities they may not have discovered elsewhere.”