The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Business

April 29, 2013

Emmett Dulaney: 3rd annual AU MBA business plan competition is May 2

ANDERSON, Ind. — The MBA program at Anderson University holds classes that meet at six locations to make it easiest for its students to attend using a cohort model. One of those cohorts is known as the Anderson Professional program and it is for working adults who take courses in the evenings at the Flagship Enterprise Center. Another is known as the Residential MBA program and it is also based in Anderson but for students who actually live at the Flagship and can take more classes each semester than those in the professional program and finish sooner.

The other four locations are geared toward evening classes for working adults and are Indianapolis-based; referenced by the locations where they meet, they are: Lawrence, Fishers, Noblesville and Carmel.

This semester, students at each of those cohorts wrote business plans and competed to be chosen as the top group at each location. The six winners (one from each location/cohort) will compete this Thursday for a winner-take-all $1,500 prize. The competition will be held in the Professional Development Center (PDC) at the Flagship, and the public is invited to come and watch. The competition begins at 6 p.m. and each team is limited to a total of 20 minutes: 10 minutes for their presentation and 10 minutes for question and answer.

While the rubric for the written business plan included 47 categories of varying weights, the one used for the presentations is much simpler. A panel of six faculty members will choose the winner based upon the following equally weighted criteria:

 Idea and Innovation: How compelling and interesting is this idea?

 Market Opportunity: Do the presenters identify the size, growth and expectations for the market?

 Financials and Investment Potential: how well does the business represent a real investment opportunity worthy of funding?

 Market Strategy: Have the ways of obtaining market share — profitably attracting and retaining customers — been realistically established?

 Presentation and Delivery: Do the presenters communicate well, with confidence and awareness of time management? Do they demonstrate competence in their presentation skills?

 Professional and Organized: Are the presenters professional? Do they exhibit character, expertise and proficiency conforming to the highest of business standards? Are they poised, confident and knowledgeable? Do they think effectively on their feet (during Q&A)?

This is the third time a cohort-vs.-cohort competition has been held and the types of businesses proposed typically run the gamut. Past entries have included recyclable containers (the winner the first year), housing projects (the winner the second year), shooting ranges, mobile phone apps for enforcing ethical behavior, remote charging devices, and a slew of others. If you have time free on Thursday evening, I hope you’ll stop by the Flagship and watch the competition as well as ask a few questions of your own.

Emmett Dulaney is an Anderson resident and the author of several books on technology. His column appears Tuesdays.

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