Ouachita Baptist University seniors Chandler Blake and Chris Clark won second place in the undergraduate division at the Arkansas Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition for their business plan, WinterTerm.com. The competition was held March 29-30, and awards were presented at a luncheon April 18. Dr. Chris Brune, associate professor of finance and holder of the George Young Chair of Business at Ouachita, also received the C. Sam Walls Entrepreneurship Educator Award at the luncheon.
Blake, a senior finance and business administration/entrepreneurship double major from Frisco, Texas, and Clark, a senior finance and business administration/entrepreneurship double major from Arkadelphia, Ark., received a $15,000 cash prize.
“It was so rewarding to win second place at the Governor’s Cup,” Blake said. “All the long hours of hard work paid off in a huge way. It was such an amazing opportunity that we had to represent Ouachita and the Hickingbotham School of Business. Mr. Hickingbotham was actually at the competition, and having him come up to us and congratulate us and hearing him tell us how proud he was that we were representing the Hickingbotham School of Business was one of the coolest things that has happened to me in college.”
“It felt really great to win second place at the Governor’s Cup,” Clark added. “We’ve put a lot of time and effort into this business plan and so hearing our name called was such a great feeling. Through this whole process, I’ve learned how to take my anticipated degrees in finance and entrepreneurship outside of the classroom. The business plan competition has been an incredible learning experience, and I would recommend it to everyone.”
WinterTerm.com is a business designed to help college students find winter term courses to complete hours necessary for them to graduate. They created a website that contains a database of winter term classes offered by universities and colleges around the nation. Students can create an account and search through the database for the classes they need. Bryan McKinney, dean of the Hickingbotham School of Business, served as the faculty advisor for the team.
“What was so meaningful about this journey is that we worked very well as a team,” McKinney said. “I hope I guided some, but I felt like all three of us made distinct and meaningful contributions along the way.”
“I think that our team’s success really does reflect well on the business school,” Clark added. “We have a lot of great professors who provide us with a lot of valuable knowledge and contribute to the awesome support system we have at Ouachita.”
Dr. Brune, a 1994 Ouachita graduate who has taught at his alma mater since 2009, received the C. Sam Walls Entrepreneurship Educator Award at the luncheon. This award honors faculty members who have worked to promote entrepreneurial education and efforts at their institutions. Faculty can be nominated by current faculty or administrators of the school or by former or current students. Dr. Brune received a $2,500 cash prize, and the Hickingbotham School of Business also received a $2,500 cash prize to continue to promote entrepreneurship in its programs.
“I’m honored to have been selected, but this is a reflection on the entire Hickingbotham School of Business,” Dr. Brune said. “I’m thankful for Dean McKinney’s commitment to entrepreneurial education, the dedication of our faculty, generosity of donors and especially the talented students we’ve worked with over the years.”
“Just as I believe we have the best students around, we also have the best faculty around. I was so proud for Dr. Brune to receive the Entrepreneur Educator Award,” McKinney noted. “He’s helped multiple teams throughout the years and several have had tremendous success. And in many ways, the students he has worked with are now paying it forward. Two of the judges during this year’s Governor’s Cup are grads who worked with Dr. Brune on a plan several years ago.”
Another Ouachita team also was selected as a finalist in the competition. Chandler Ferrell, a senior finance major from White Hall, Ark.; Ancil Lea, a senior finance major from Conway, Ark.; Matthew Phillips, a senior finance and computer science double major from Piperton, Tenn.; and Emma Shortes, a junior accounting and finance double major from Fort Smith, Ark.; were named finalists for their business plan, My 401(k). Their propject was created to help people choose the funds to invest in their 401(k)s to better prepare for their future. Dr. Brune served as the team’s faculty advisor.
Braden Lunday, a senior finance and accounting major from Sheridan, Ark., was selected as a semifinalist for his plan, Lil E’s Cupcakes; he was advised by Dr. Jim Files, associate professor of accounting. His business is centered around a self-serve cupcake bakery featuring a robot programmed to perfectly ice the cakes.
“I recently received a text from a recent grad that said: ‘B-Plan competition was one of my favorite things from OBU!’” McKinney said. “I wish any current student would talk with a student who has done the competition. They would hear similar stories. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s a very meaningful experience. It’s a great way to put the content from class into action. I think it’s a tremendous learning opportunity that will benefit students well beyond their time at Ouachita.”
For more information, contact Bryan McKinney at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5513.
By Katie Smith // Photo above: Ouachita students Chandler Blake (center) and Chris Clark (far right) win second place in the undergraduate division at the Arkansas Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition for their business plan, WinterTerm.com. They are joined, from left, by Rush Deacon, president of Arkansas Capital Corporation; Dhu Thompson, president of Delta Plastics; and Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin. Photo courtesy Arkansas Capital Corporation. View full size photo.
April 26, 2018