Honors Students Studying Management Partner with Local Businesses
Last semester, senior honors students who are studying management created business plans for businesses in the Keene community. The class is designed for students to engage with small business owners for the entire semester to develop business plans, either in part or in entirety, to help the client.
Seven students participated in the class, and all graduated in May: Lucy Fowler, Greg Hemmer, Jack Howard, Dylan Ibanez, Mary Elise Jacobs, Dylan McManus, and James Schaefer.
Students studied Jack’s Crackers and Machina Arts, both based in Keene. Jack’s Crackers provides handmade crackers made of locally-sourced ingredients. They are sold locally and served in several local restaurants. The owner hopes to grow the business enough to run it fulltime and provide jobs for community members that need employment.
Machina Arts is a mission-based arts and events company that provides creative event planning and mobile bar services. They provide venues for artists and musicians and are a big part of the movement to strengthen the arts in the Monadnock Region.
In each case study, students prepared complete business plans with a marketing focus. Machina Arts’ strategy included steps for the business to move into their own event space – they currently are located at the Hannah Grimes Center. Jack’s Crackers’ plan focused on actions to scale the business, including adjustments to the website, marketing plan, and business model.
“Many students expressed that this project was one of the more valuable experiences they had at Keene State,” said Emily Benson, associate professor of management. “They became very passionate about the companies themselves and really invested in seeing these businesses improve.”
“It was an absolute pleasure working with the class,” said Kevin Dremel, owner and baker at Jack’s Crackers. “They provided Jack’s Crackers with focused and helpful information to consider as we grow our business. We’ve begun the process of implementing their suggestions and were very honored to be part of their education.”
“The experience helped ground their education in the real-world and open their eyes to the realities of running a small business,” added Professor Benson.