Friday, Apr 16, 2021
All first-year business students now required to participate in program through "Introduction to Business" class
by Rachel Stengel '14, '20
Since 2016, the Business in Action program has challenged first-year students enrolled in "Introduction to Business" to run a small business throughout a semester. The 2020-21 academic year marks the first year the class and project are required for all freshman students in the Norm Brodsky College of Business.
The goal: To immediately expose business students to the realities of running a business, regardless of their major.
"In line with Rider's steadfast belief in a hands-on education through the Engaged Learning Program, the project quickly introduces students to every aspect of running a business," says Beverly Braddock, lecturer and director of the Business Living & Learning Community. "Whether they're an accounting major or a marketing major, it's a unique way for every business student to develop a foundational understanding of the business environment and various business functions."
Students are divided into teams and tasked with developing and executing a small business plan throughout the semester. They are provided with $500 to create and sell a product, courtesy of generous sponsorships from Rider alumni and friends.
The project includes a market fair where the student teams sell their products to members of the Rider community and the public. In light of COVID-19, this year's market fair, which ran from March 29 to April 5, became a virtual fair. Teams were tasked with the additional challenge of creating an online shop for their products. This semester's teams sold a variety of apparel, care packages, jewelry, ring lights, face masks and more.
A portion of the teams’ profits are donated to charitable organizations of the students' choice. In the fall semester, the student teams raised more than $4,600 for a number of organizations, including Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. The other 50% is reinvested into the program to support future activities of the Business Living & Learning Community. The community allows first-year business students to live in the same residence hall and attend a number of classes together in order to build connections among fellow students, faculty and staff in the College, and ease the transition to Rider.
Corporate sponsors for the "Introduction to Business" serve as mentors throughout the course. Representatives from Johnson & Johnson, LGS Marketing Services and GHO Ventures, LLC have lent their expertise to the class as well as a number of guest speakers from a variety of business functions.