PSC Graduate Students Earn Regional and National Honors in SBI Competitions

February 23rd, 2001 by Adam

Betsy Cheney

February 19, 2001

PSC Graduate Students Earn Regional and National Honors
In Small Business Institute™ Competitions

PLYMOUTH, N.H. — For the second consecutive year, Plymouth State College MBA students have received national recognition for their work on a Small Business Institute™ (SBI) project. This year’s team garnered both regional and national accolades for an SBI report that analyzed Internet marketing potential for a New Hampshire business.

PSC students Sue Daniell of Danville, Vt., Catherine Ells of Grafton, Andy Pidgeon of Norwood, Mass. and Susan Russel of Ann Arbor, Mich. prepared the report for Brown Furniture in West Lebanon. Their superior-rated report was selected best in the combined Regions I, II and III, and runner-up at the national level in one of two categories, Specialized Cases.

Brown Furniture is owned by Phil Desmond, an MBA candidate and member of the SBI team that produced the “Outstanding Report” of 1998. Desmond is a strong proponent of the SBI program. He says, “I don’t know why any business would not want to be part of this program. Most small business owners have neither the resources nor the expertise to do the kind of research SBI teams do. It’s a terrific concept, because it meets the needs of both the student investigators and the business owner.”

The team found a number of reasons against e-commerce for Desmond’s furniture company. “Their findings were insightful and timely” he says. “A couple of on-line vendors like furniture.com and living.com were posing a significant threat to traditional retailers. Information from the SBI report, coupled with my own research, helped me decide not to go in that direction. Brown Furniture Company is thriving but those companies, and the $100 million in venture capital that went into them, are gone.”

Craig Zamzow, SBI director and a lecturer in the College’s business department was faculty advisor to the team. He received the award at the Small Business Institute™ Directors Association 25th anniversary luncheon in Orlando, FL, with some 520 guests in attendance.
The Plymouth State SBI program conducts multiple consulting projects each year for small businesses located throughout New Hampshire. Conducting a project and preparing the report usually requires a student team to work with their client for six to nine months.

“There is no cost to the client for this consulting, which is done as a formal part of the Plymouth State College MBA program, Zamzow says. “These engagements provide students with a ‘real world’ service learning experience and an opportunity to contribute significantly to the New Hampshire small business community.”

The PSC SBI has provided consulting to small businesses in New Hampshire for over 20 years. During that time, PSC student reports have received numerous awards in annual competitions, including last year’s national first place Case of the Year award.
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