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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Steve Newton

Practicums are part of Reinhardt University MBA students’ overall experience, giving them insight into real-world practice of the concepts they learn in the classroom.

“It’s a marriage of theory and practice,” said Dr. Dana Hall, coordinator of Reinhardt’s MBA program and faculty senate chair. “As a university we want to serve our community; we are working with small business owners and helping foster that desire to have a business in Cherokee County.”

Small business plays a vital role in the Georgia economy.

According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and U.S. Census data, nearly 98 percent of Georgia businesses are considered small businesses, and 86 percent employ fewer than 20 workers, including those who are self-employed. Small businesses represent 60 percent to 77 percent of total employment in Cherokee County.

On Dec. 8, a small business boot camp kicked off the Reinhardt MBA Entrepreneurship in Business Practicum series for MBA students. The boot camp, led by Steve Newton, business consultant with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center, gave students the opportunity to learn about structuring a business plan and the components needed.

“Steve made the point that the No. 1 reason for small business failure is that there was no market need,” Hall said. “Part of what we are teaching them is to conduct a market feasibility study to see if there is a need.”

The practicum’s keynote speaker knew the importance of doing her research before opening The Velvet Note Acoustic Living Room in Alpharetta in 2012. Tamara Fuller shared with Reinhardt students some of the key tasks she completed more than a year before her doors opened to the public, from color schemes that appeal to men and women, ceiling height, location and more.

“She spent a lot of time understanding her target audience, and it’s not really the jazz aficionado – it’s people looking for a great place for date night,” Hall said. “She created an intimate space for both men and women to enjoy.”

The Reinhardt MBA Entrepreneurship in Business practicum series was developed in 2017 as part of its MBA curriculum to enhance the MBA student learning process through an in-depth high-impact learning process of developing a business concept and writing a business plan for its launch, combining theory taught in the classroom with real-world experience.