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Students help business grow

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Students (from left) Kelley Carroll, Cody Olynyk, Jamie Bucholz and Matthew Schatza provided social media marketing assistance for a board game

Students (from left) Kelley Carroll, Cody Olynyk, Jamie Bucholz and Matthew Schatza provided social media marketing assistance for a board game.

St. Cloud State University seniors Kelley Carroll, Cody Olynyk, Jamie Bucholz and Matthew Schatza, don’t have agricultural backgrounds.

But they do know a bit about marketing, business management and finance, their chosen areas of study, respectively. That’s why as team members in Barry Kirchoff’s Business Consulting class, they jumped at a chance to work with a board game called “Life on the Farm.”

“Why wouldn’t you take the board game?” said Olynyk of Prior Lake as he explained the fun involved in working with such a business.

The board game, the creation of Morrison County dairy farmer Keith Gohl and his sister, Ev Johnson, has existed for a number of years. But commercially, it never skyrocketed. That’s where Kirchoff’s class comes into play.

Once a year Kirchoff, an adjunct faculty member and director of the Small Business Development Center in St. Cloud, and his students work with an assortment of small businesses who are struggling in some aspect. Kirchoff selects the businesses that will benefit the most and at the same time offer a valuable learning experience for his students.

The students tackling “Life on the Farm” met with Johnson, listened to her explain her business and then asked questions. That helped provide valuable insight for Carroll, an international business major from Forest Lake, and the others.

Initially, Bucholz, a business management and finance major, and her team thought about marketing the game overseas. However, they decided to focus on raising the game’s visibility using social media, said Schatza, a marketing major from Anoka.

And while Johnson had a website (www.werfungames.com), the students took it a step further and developed a Facebook page.

Their work with the business has just begun, so their eager to see where it goes. They have a goal of selling 4,000 games online by Christmas, so stay tuned.

 

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