By Erin Cook – During the fall semester, Professor Shelly McVay again led Jewell’s Business Problems and Policies course (Business 406) – a business capstone course focusing on entrepreneurship. The goal of the course is for students to combine all the elements of business that they have learned throughout their time at Jewell. Professor McVay’s objective is for students to leave this course ready to enter the workplace as critical thinkers. She constantly reminds her students to prepare themselves now for the tasks their future leaders will assign them. She believes that her role is to make sure students have been exposed to various situations and have had opportunities to try and to also fail in a safe learning environment so they will know how to succeed when it matters.
Students in the course create entrepreneurial concepts which are judged using a “Shark Tank” model. Shark Tank is a reality television series on ABC featuring aspiring entrepreneur-contestants as they make business presentations to a panel of “shark” investors, who then choose whether to invest in each entrepreneur’s business or products. In December, students’ work in the course was judged by four local entrepreneurs: Teddi Hernandez, Ryan Harwell, Buzz Willard, and Shannon Oleen.
In addition to the semester-long entrepreneurial project (which is broken into several phases), students participate in case studies, in-class role-plays, and mini-cases. These elements are designed to allow students to practice in several different ways and from several angles as they assess information, analyze data, discover hidden facts, and synthesize information to make reasoned recommendations.