Monmouth University Selected as One of Three Finalists in Competition
The University’s Comparative Entrepreneurship course, taught by specialist professor John Buzza, was selected as one of the top three finalists in a national competition sponsored by the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) for special recognition in entrepreneurship education and innovation.
USASBE chose Monmouth University, the University of Texas, and Northern Illinois University as finalists for its Special Recognition in Entrepreneurship Award. Monmouth, however, did not win the competition. Over 85 universities in total participated in the competition.
“They (the judges) took into consideration creativity of the course, uniqueness of the course, and impact on the students,” Buzza explained.
Devin Hope, a University alumnus who graduated in January 2015, traveled to Tampa, FL for the USASBE conference from Jan. 22 – 25 along with Buzza.
“I was very excited to learn we earned a finalist position and could not wait to get there and present our paper. While there, it was a great experience for networking as well as learning. So many talented professors from universities all over the country coming together to encourage entrepreneurship education,” said Hope.
“It was certainly upsetting,” continued Hope, “to hear them announce someone else’s name as number one, but the overall experience, and being top three, is a great accomplishment for my first competition.”
Students in Monmouth’s entrepreneurship course partner with small businesses in the surrounding community through the University’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
According to monmouth.edu, the mission of the University’s Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leon Hess Business School is to nurture entrepreneurial thinking through a “community of business partners committed to achieving social and economic progress.”
Entrepreneurship students are able to conduct business practices and launch new businesses from the safety of the classroom in real world situations. Previous projects have included pasta sauce (Nanina’s in the sauce), dog treats, and perfumes that are still on the market today.
The course is only available in the summer and holds up to 16 students. These students spend two weeks in Spain meeting with businesses from all over the country everyday, according to Buzza. The students also have class for four weeks on the University’s campus.
Hope explained how the Comparative Entrepreneurship course and the experience of studying abroad enabled the class to grow close with one another. “The class grew close extremely quick on the trip. Most of us only knew one person of the 16 before we left and I believe it was a good thing. We were all together pretty much all the time so we all bonded fast,” Hope said.
Hope spoke highly of Buzza and explained the impact that he has had on her experience abroad and as a Monmouth student. “Professor Buzza was also a major factor as to why this trip was so successful. He is such an influential man who truly cares about his students,” she said.
Hope was thankful that Buzza allowed her to attend the USASBE convention in Tampa. “He has taught me so much and has included me in things, like the Comparative Entrepreneurship course and the USASBE finalist convention, that I will forever be thankful for. Any opportunity that a Monmouth student gets to have him as a professor, they should seize it,” she said.
“Going to Spain was amazing. I had already been once before, but this experience was completely different from my last,” said Dana McCann, a senior marketing and management major.
McCann explained how the students stayed with host families while they were in Spain which lead to a realistic feeling of what it is like to live in the country.
McCann discussed the benefits of learning about small businesses in a foreign country. “Our opportunity to speak with local Spanish small business owners gave us wonderful insight into the culture of Spain on many different levels,” McCann said.
The summer of 2014 was the first time the course has been offered at the University. Santander Bank provided the University with a grant to help the class with some expenses, according to Buzza.
After the success the Comparative Entrepreneurship course has had, Santander extended the grant for the next three years.
McCann strongly recommended this class to other students interested in studying entrepreneurship. “It is perfect because you get the study abroad experience without the cost and months away from home. It looks great on a resume and you make long-term friends,” explained McCann.
Hope agreed with McCann and recommends the class to interested students because she was able to “…experience a trip abroad while learning about an interesting field of study.”
Hope said that the course could even be helpful for non-business students. “Entrepreneurship is all around us and even those non-business students should take advantage of a course like this to see what business is like in other countries. It is an experience I will never forget and I made memories that will last a lifetime,” said Hope.
Buzza expressed how the University has supported the class, which has aided in making the course a success. “The support from our Leon Hess Business School along with our unique approach to entrepreneurship education will continue to make our program one of the finest in the country,” said Buzza.
“I am very proud of our students and their accomplishments. Thanks to their dedication, the Monmouth University Center for Entrepreneurship has earned a national reputation for excellence,” said Buzza.
For more information on the Center for Entrepreneurship at Monmouth University, visit www.monmouth.edu/business-school/center-for-entrepreneurship.aspx.