Student-Run Businesses Emerge on Campus

October 14, 2011

If you want to attend a fun, low-cost event or purchase a quirky Menlo t-shirt, look no further than student-run businesses Menlo Venture Promotions (MVP) and Oakstone T-Shirt Apparel. Both companies were started as part of the Management 401 capstone class, which offers business majors an opportunity to create their own business.

Each company created for the class has all of the attributes of a regular organization—a CEO; HR, finance, IT, and marketing departments; and staff. Students are responsible for doing everything from writing the business plan and applying for a loan for start-up capital, to turning the business into a profitable enterprise. The college provides “seed money” for the businesses based on the loan request that students submit. The businesses must pay back the loan at the end of the semester, and any profits that are generated are donated to charity.

“This is another type of hands-on experience. The reason why it works as a capstone course is because it is designed as a ‘culminating experience’,” said Leslie Williams, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Business. “I am super jazzed. Students are very interested because it is their project, and they are making it happen themselves.”

One of the student-run businesses, MVP, plans and organizes events for students and their friends and family at a low cost. The company provides transportation and coordinates each event. Its primary objective is “to create a service-based company whose number one value is exceeding customer’s expectations.”

The other business, Oakstone, sells custom t-shirts on campus and at Menlo sports games. Their specialty is t-shirts featuring some of the most popular Menlo professors: Craig Medlen, Soumendra De, Frances Turner, and Derek Stimel. The demand for the shirts has been so great that by the end of first week the company sold twice as many t-shirts as planned.

To learn more about these student-run businesses, visit their websites:

Menlo Venture Promotions (MVP)
Oakstone T-Shirt Apparel