KU News Release

Jan. 4, 2011
Contact: Toni Dixon, School of Business, (785) 864-4449

Business students gain hands-on experience working with startups

More Information

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas business students are using skills they learned in the classroom to help startup companies grow and thrive.

Seniors enrolled in the Small Business Management and Entrepreneurial Marketing classes presented consulting plans to Pieroguys Pierogies LLC, 1800GotJunk, Computer Assessment Learning from Kansas, Gluten Free Beer from Colorado and other businesses in December. The companies had approached the students for help at the beginning of the fall semester.

The businesses came to the students looking for a range of services, including market evaluation, audience segmentation and general ideas for making their businesses stronger.

“Everything the students suggested worked with our business plan,” said Frank Gazella Jr., president and owner of Pieroguys. “The team was great. These students are smart.”

The Lawrence-born and now Kansas City-based business worked with the students this semester but has been getting periodic business help from KU’s Small Business Development Center since 2006.

Matt Floyd, a management major concentrating in entrepreneurship, worked with Pieroguys this semester and said he enjoyed working directly with a real-world business.

“Classes are always more fun when you get to work with real clients,” he said.

The School of Business makes sure its entrepreneurship concentration, and other academic areas, provides students opportunities to do hands-on work with companies.

“The practical experience gives our students the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in real situations to truly grasp the concepts they’ve been taught,” said Janalee Fitchett, lecturer in business and instructor for the Small Business Management and Entrepreneurial Marketing classes.

The Small Business Development Center, an organization that provides low-cost training sessions and one-on-one counseling services to small businesses in Douglas and surrounding counties, has been forwarding businesses that have needs to the two business classes for five years.

Will Katz, director of the center, identifies clients that Fitchett’s business students can help each semester. Clients have included T-Mobile, Wheat State Pizza and Free State Auto.

The School of Business’ undergraduate program is ranked in the top 14 percent of public schools of business in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, and a large factor in its high rankings is its commitment to experiential learning.

Seniors who worked on the Pieroguys project are listed below by hometown, major, parents’ names and high school.

From Overland Park 66209
Mathew Charles Floyd, business administration; Charles and Debbie Floyd; Blue Valley North High School.

From Wichita 67204
Corinne Katherine Depperschmidt, supply chain management; Thomas Depperschmidt; Bishop Carroll High School.

From Louisville 80027
Erik C. Hanssen, supply chain management; Kristian and Debora Hanssen; Fairview High School, Boulder, Colo.

From Dallas 75205
Robert Steven Vick, accounting; Steven and Susan Vick; Highland Park High School.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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