Business Students Launching Companies

I am in Rexburg, Idaho today at BYU-Idaho (formerly Ricks College). Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting Kim B. Clark, the president of the University, who until last year was the Dean of the Harvard Business School. The slogan at the university is “Rethinking Education.”

I also met with Fenton Broadhead, Dean of the Business School, and met many students here. Something very special is happening at this university. President Clark works with two other former Harvard Business School professors, Clark Gilbert and Steven Wheelwright, as he seeks to reinvent education at this school.

As I spoke with students and faculty members, the excitement here is tangible. Traditional textbook study with its emphasis on recall is is being replaced with a new approaching that focuses more on understanding and experience. For example, business students take a full semester integrated core of finance, marketing, supply chain, and operations classes, which gives teams of 20 students a chance during the semester to launch an actual business.

Many of these business turn a profit before they are shut down or sold/turned over to the bookstore.

There is a vision here about what kind of students a 21st century university should turn out. They should not be spectators, they should be proactive participants in solving problems.

BYU-Idaho has no intercollegiate sports program; but they do have a football stadium, uniforms, and cheerleaders. The difference is that any student that wants to participate in football can do so for fun or competitively in the large activities/intramural program here. And that goes for all kinds of other sports and extra curricular activities as well.

The students I met are all involved in so many things, getting hands on experience, and real world experience. The business schools internship program is incredible, placing students at big 4 accounting firms and other major corporations.

So keep your eye on BYU-Idaho. For years we (in the Utah community) have heard talk about BYU striving to become the “Harvard of the West.”

For the first time, I’m thinking, maybe that will happen in Rexburg, not in Provo.

5 Comments

  1. I too have been watching what Kim Clark is doing for BYU-I. My sister and brother-in-law both teach there and the change has been huge.

    It is a difficult thought for a BYU grad to consider, but I keep wondering if I should encourage my kids to looking into BYU-I…

  2. I agree with you 100%. I also spent time on the BYU Idaho/Ricks Campus and I was completely inspired. An entrepreneurial spirit was not only in the business school but in all aspects of education. Perhaps the new Spori building houses this spirit of Ricks!

  3. David

    I don’t think creating the “Harvard of the West” is the appropriate goal for or of either BYU school. The whole point of “re-thining education” is to say that the “Harvard” model may not be what’s best for education. I salute Clark’s idea of challenging traditional assumptions in higher education and hope we won’t hamper the development of a new vision by expecting a new “Harvard.”

  4. I quite enjoyed listening to you and the other speakers at the conference. We specifically moved our large family(8 kids) so we could be near this campus as our oldest child was college age. It was exciting to see the amazing opportunities and to realize that I too as a parent can “sneak in ” and also access the business related resources. This is an awesome place to raise children and I look foward to learning as much as possible from their amazing speakers( yes that means you too) and learning about all their other opportunties and resources.
    vickie smith
    http://www.secretsofthebutcherswife.com

  5. Russell Page

    here, here. I couldn’t agree more about it being the “Harvard of the West.”

    I went to the Idaho school and the Provo school, and the experiences I remember from Idaho we’re all focused on participation. I also served as a student body officer there, and President Bednar used to share things with us about how he saw the future of the school, and it is quite amazing to see these things happening so quickly. The funny thing is, I specifically remember him talking to a group of students about having intramural tackle football, which was exciting for us and hard to imagine at the same time. But, even something that simple is happening.

    I think much of the success up there is tied to what is outlined in this speech.
    http://www.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2004_08_31_BednarDavid.htm

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