By Amanda Dyslin
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — Minnesota State University Integrated Business Experience students will turn over the fruits of a semester’s worth of labor to a Mankato charity Friday, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
The class began a “real-world” business from scratch, called MavNATION — taking out a $2,500 bank loan, developing a logo, ordering products, marketing, selling and earning a $2,200 profit to give to charity.
The success mirrors (and ups the ante) of the first Integrated Business Experience class last spring, which also sold products and presented a check to Kids Against Hunger for $1,700.
Among MavNATION’s products, the students sold two styles of T-shirts with a Maverick logo and coffee mugs, said Claudia Pragman, a professor in the College of Business. In total, they sold almost 400 items, making enough to pay back the loan early, as well as write a check to Junior Achievement, which they will present Friday at South Central College.
Junior Achievement is a nonprofit that brings real-world work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy experience to students. Katie Feind, a student in the business class, said the organization was the perfect match for the class.
“We are learning business skills (too), so we figured Junior Achievement fit really well,” Feind said.
The class also split into groups of two, each of which went into Mankato-area classrooms to volunteer with the program. Feind said she had a great experience talking with a third-grade class during five separate business lessons.
Feind said she took the class simply because it fit into her class schedule. Now, she said, she thinks of it as a very happy accident.
“Little did I know how much it would seriously change my experience here,” Feind said.
The idea behind the class is to allow students to develop and run a real-world business, Pragman said in the spring. She said the course provides students with experience ranging from securing financing to market research to delivering a product.