Thursday, December 6, 2007
City leaders in Monticello were so wowed when nine students in a St. Cloud State business consulting class turned over the results of their feasibility study for a life science industrial park, they invited the students to present their findings to the entire Monticello business community.
The impressive study and resulting presentation involved an analysis of how competitive the city of Monticello would be as a potential site for a life/bio-science industrial park. It was all part of a semester project the students completed for Barry Kirchoff’s spring semester Management 498 class.
A phone call from Monticello to the Small Business Development Center, an innovative branch of the G.R. Herberger College of Business directed by Kirchoff, led to the project. The student group, directed by project leader and MBA graduate student Derek Lossing, Babbitt, spent the semester researching a variety of topics related to Monticello’s feasibility as a park site. They studied amenities life science companies would need in a park location and compared the city’s assets with the industry’s needs. The team anticipated that companies looking for a place to build a life/bio-science industrial park would have expectations of access to talent, proximity to research facilities, access to funding for lab and office space and good quality of life.
When they completed the project, the student group presented its findings to the class and to a few key city leaders. The city was so impressed with the quality of the work and findings that they invited the team back to present before a larger group of business leaders. Several notables, such as State Rep. Amy Koch attended the presentation led by team leader Jeff Lundgren ’07, New Brighton.
Kirchoff, who was named director of the Center this year and is a new instructor in the G.R. Herberger College of Business, indicated his pride in the quality of his students’ work at the presentation. "It’s a pleasure to be around students the caliber of Lundgren," Kirchoff said.
Diana Lawson, dean of the G.R. Herberger College of Business, said projects such as this offer important learning opportunities for business students while giving regional industrial and community groups educational resources to which they might not otherwise have access. "Real-world experiences through class projects help prepare our students for the ever-changing demands of business," Lawson said. "This gives them the chance to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to develop analytical competencies they can use throughout their careers."
Monticello has been energized by the students’ findings and is moving forward on the project, said Monticello Economic Development Director Ollie Koropchak.