International Business Core

Integrated Business Core: Investing in the Community

by Cedarville Magazine Staff

Since 2002, the SBA has offered a practical and profitable way for students to apply their classroom learning while also giving back: the Integrated Business Core.

The Integrated Business Core (IBC) is a 3-hour elective practicum (BUS-3280) taken fall of junior year for business majors, in conjunction with finance (FIN-3710) and management (MGMT-3500) courses.

Leading the program are Jeff Guernsey, Associate Professor of Finance, and Jon Austin, Associate Professor of Marketing. Andrew Wonders, Assistant Professor of Sport Business Management, works with Guernsey and Austin in support of IBC.

During the practicum, students put together a business plan, a document that describes what product or service they plan to provide and how they’ll go about providing it. The business team will then present its plan to a loan committee made up of business professionals, including alumni.

The capital for their venture comes from in-house funds generated from a portion of past IBC business profits. Students must repay the loan at the end of the semester. Over the last 18 years, nearly $57,000 in total profits has been generated from all student businesses. This money has directly benefited local and international charitable organizations such as Bethesda Evangelical Mission, The Gospel Mission, One Bistro, The Luke Commission, Target Dayton Ministries, Shoes 4 the Shoeless, Matthew 25: Ministries, among many others.

As part of the program, students also volunteer at least 10 hours with the charity that will receive their profits, resulting in 7,280 volunteer hours contributed to the charitable organizations.

And for students who want to see how far their IBC business concept could go, there is now the Beyond Startup Accelerator, which seeks to connect current students and alumni with business startup expertise and investment.

“The IBC is a way for students to learn experientially what is involved in running a small business, as well as how to work with and lead others,” noted Guernsey. “The IBC complements what the SBA has begun with the Beyond Accelerator, which is helping entrepreneurs get to the next level.”

With the IBC, students gain knowledge and experience that sets them apart as they begin their careers. “Our alumni tell us they’ve put IBC on their résumé, and they have meaningful conversations during a job interview about it,” Austin added. “It resonates with prospective employers because our students have done things business-wise that most undergrad students don’t do.”