TCU MBAs: Making a difference in their communities and careers

2nd Grade Thanks
Thank you letters from second grade students in Junior Achievement
Junior Achievement kids
Jon Gulbransen & Anna Nguyen with Junior Achievement students

At the Neeley School of Business, we understand that the needs of the greater community provide vital context for the choices business leaders make. When our MBA candidates collaborate with community partners, they raise their own awareness and acquire invaluable expertise, all while assisting organizations across Dallas-Fort Worth in the fulfillment of their missions.

Neeley is currently home to four major community service initiatives: Junior Achievement, Lighthouse for the Blind, the Business Assistance Center (BAC) Business Plan Competition and the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. The results have been impactful for all.


Junior Achievement

Nick Kosicki (MBA ’17) has been active with Junior Achievement for the past two years. The organization was founded in 1919 as an after-school program committed to mentoring students and guiding them through the process of creating their own business. The local affiliate, Junior Achievement of the Chisholm Trail, plans on reaching over 35,000 aspiring K-12 entrepreneurs in 2017.

Neeley students active in Junior Achievement visit local elementary, middle and high schools, leading five to eight-week-long workshops in finance, marketing and work readiness. The Junior Achievement program encourages students to design experiential learning programs that inspire young people and put them on the path to achieving their full potential.

As Philanthropy Chair and Net Impact President, Kosicki collaborated with Junior Achievement staff, volunteers, teachers and students, establishing key relationships with people of a variety of backgrounds. Kosicki credits his previous experience working in the nonprofit sector with helping him to tackle the unique problems community-based organizations face.


Lighthouse for the Blind

Lighthouse for the Blind’s mission is to empower those who are blind to lead successful and independent lives through superior training, meaningful employment and individualized rehabilitation services.

Over the past three years, TCU students involved in both Net Impact and the Consulting Club have provided much-needed support to this nonprofit. Lighthouse for the Blind, in turn, has taken new ideas generated by TCU students and successfully implemented them, ultimately reducing their overhead costs and delivering more impactful services.

MBA students specializing in disciplines as different as marketing, supply chain management and general strategy have applied all they’ve learned at TCU, helping Lighthouse for the Blind repurpose unused building space, secure more community involvement and forge partnerships with local businesses.


Business Assistance Center (BAC) Business Plan Competition

The Ft. Worth BAC offers clients a number of free, private and confidential counseling services that teach members of the community how to write a business plan, how to market their businesses and how to obtain important certifications.

The Business Plan Competition is a highlight of the BAC’s annual programming. Leading up to both the competition’s Pitch Night and Final Round, MBA students consult with hopeful area entrepreneurs to help them perfect their presentations. The ultimate prize is $5,000, plus added services that will help the winning business grow and make important contributions to the local economy.

Over 50 contestants entered in 2016, and TCU MBAs worked closely with each of the competition’s 10 finalists. Taylor Mackay’s (MBA ’17) mentee, Steve Alade of Doc’s Street Grill, made it as far as the top three. Taylor says he learned a great deal from helping Steve envision the transition from an individual proprietorship serving Caribbean specialties at select food festivals to a permanent brick-and-mortar restaurant location.

"Although we didn’t win, the knowledge and experience we gained along the way made the experience extremely valuable,” Mackay says. 


Prison Entrepreneurship Program

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) seeks to educate and mentor select groups of inmates and help them develop viable business plans in preparation for their release and return to civilian life.

Helen Tannehill (MBA ’17) first learned of the program during a visit to the Sanders Estes Unit led by Professor Garry Bruton. She left the prison so inspired that she volunteered to become a business plan advisor.

Helen realized the benefits of this nine-month commitment almost immediately. "When I looked over my PEP participant’s business plan, I was impressed with how much he already knew about the industry, and when I saw that he was a military veteran like myself, it compelled me to support him even more," she said.

Helen eventually recruited two of her fellow students, Randy Lyne (PMBA ‘17) and John Hurdle (MBA ’17), to volunteer as judges for the PEP Pitch Day. The three listened to pitches, asked tough questions and rated the men on professionalism, content and delivery. Looking back on the experience, Helen feels confident that the inmates with whom she shared her time and expertise are poised to do great things.

Learn more about how you can do great things for your career and your community by visiting the Neeley School of Business website.

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