GGC business students win academic trophy

Georgia Gwinnett College business students placed third among 38 colleges and universities in a social business plan competition held during the Oct. 17 University System of Georgia Social Business and Microcredit Forum. This marks the first academic trophy earned by GGC in a state-wide competition.

Georgia Gwinnett College business students placed third among 38 colleges and universities in a social business plan competition held during the Oct. 17 University System of Georgia Social Business and Microcredit Forum. This marks the first academic trophy earned by GGC in a state-wide competition.

The five-member GGC team was selected by Robert Anservitz, assistant professor of marketing. The students presented a business plan designed to eradicate adult illiteracy in Georgia, entitled “Read4Life!” Team members included business majors Adam Herbert, Shalaya Morissette, Kathy Cheng, Sasha Ruiz and Elizabeth C. Smith. Cheng and Ruiz are 2011 graduates of GGC.

The team’s social business plan was inspired by Morissette’s personal life – her mother did not know how to read.

“The project means a lot to me,” said Morissette. “It’s a simple idea, but there are adults who can’t perform simple tasks like reading prescription bottles or books to their children. With the right resources, they will.”

Permitted only three weeks to work on the project outside of traditional class time, the team aggressively maximized every minute in the very compressed launch-to-finish timeframe allowed in this competition. The students researched adult illiteracy in Gwinnett County and the Atlanta metro area, discovering that 1.3 million adult Georgians cannot read. They created and printed project reports for the judges and hand- crafted visual presentation boards including an over-sized open book with key information about Read4Life!

“They took on this challenge with excitement, ingenuity and a wealth of business expertise. Their results speak to the strength of our GGC School of Business students,” said Anservitz, clearly proud of the team’s presentation. “The opportunity to work with students of this caliber – especially within such an intensive competition timeframe – for me, is exactly why teaching is so incredibly rewarding.”

Dr. Victoria Johnson, Dean of the School of Business, attended the forum and cheered on the GGC team in the final round.

“This Award represents School of Business's first academic trophy, and we are so very proud of, and for, our team,” Johnson said. “The members worked diligently and exhaustively to produce and present an impressive social business plan. Their confident performance in the competition clearly reflects the quality of GGC business students, graduates and faculty. Bravo Team GGC!”

Herbert, who co-presented with Morissette was excited that the team placed in the top three.

“I thought we had a good presentation. We rehearsed it and tweaked it to make sure that we fit all the relevant information in the five minutes we were allotted. But we were up against tough competition – larger colleges with well-established business programs,” Herbert said. “Once we made it through to the final round, I knew we had a chance.”

Competition awards were presented at the close of the forum by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Bangladesh business leader, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, famous for his social business practices and known as the “Father of Microcredit.”

The application deadline for the spring 2012 semester at GGC is Nov. 15.

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