Business students win big

A group of three students received $2,500 last night as part of a unique final exam, thanks to business professor Armand Gilinsky’s “Show Me the Money” competition and the Green Music Center.

Gilinsky was awarded $15,000 earlier this year as a portion of the Green Music Center’s Academic Integration Proposal Grants. The program’s goal is to foster and showcase academic integration in creative ways, said Marne Olson, vice-chair of the board of advisors for the Green Music Center.

“These projects encourage both faculty and students to look for novel and creative ways to integrate the arts with other disciplines in the university,” she said. “The ability to ‘think outside the box’ is crucial.”

Using the grant to develop programs a certificate in Creative Arts and Digital Media Business, Gilinsky led his Small Business and Entrepreneurship course, split into 10 teams, to create innovative and entrepreneurial business plans. Each team partnered with students and faculty from outside the business department to develop cohesive, cross-disciplinary proposals. 

“College is the time to do something really cool and not be afraid to fail,” said Gilinsky, noting that the projects’ requirement for interdisciplinary collaboration taught students how to foster creativity on the management side, and management expertise on the creative side.

“The idea of having non-business students learn from other students is valuable,” he said. “It’s a great way for business students to prove they’ve learned something; it’s the key to longevity.” 

The teams presented their plans to a panel of judges in an Elevator Pitch Competition on Dec. 2 in the Green Music Center. The top five moved on to last night’s final round.

Students Nicole Griffith, Kyle Mossman, Casey Sullivan and Maurice Mickel placed first with their project “VINdata,” an online service for small to mid-sized wineries. James Waggoner, Alan Chao and Mike Koricki, who worked on “Cyclingroutes.com,” received second place and $1,500 for their app that would help road cyclists plan their rides. The third place team consisted of Romy Bonifacio, Tina Harris, David Castino and Erin Nelson, winning $1,000 for their plan for a solar panel cleaning company, “Solar Sweepers.”

The faculty advisor for the winning team was Ali Kooshesh of the Computer Science Department.  The other advisors included Emily Acosta Lewis of the Communications Department, Patrick Bailey of the Environmental Studies and Planning Department, Paul Draper of the Theatre Arts Department, and Lynne Morrow of the Music Department. The professors received a portion of the grant for their work.

“Holy cow! We did it!” said winner Nicole Griffith after the competition.  

“This was the greatest experience in my college career,” said Sullivan.

“Ultimately, I hope this will begin to attract support for creative and performing arts management programs,” said Gilinsky. “It would make us a unique university.”