15:42 PM

Business Strategy Class Helps Houston Humane Society

Candace TenBrink (third from right) and students from the Gators Care Team.

Seeking to bring more action-based learning into one of her senior capstone classes in the College of Business, Candace TenBrink, developed a pop-up store competition.

The ultimate goal of the competition was to utilize key strategy concepts in an active business situation while recognizing the importance of being nimble when faced with obstacles. The project also provided the opportunity for TenBrink and the students to interact with a nonprofit organization and be part of the movement to help end animal cruelty in Houston.

"Just like running any type of business, it begins with creating and implementing a plan," says the assistant professor of management. "Understanding that a strategic plan can be used and modified in many situations; however, the implementation is quite different than a plan because it adds not only to the students' tool box, but also engages real-time critical thinking skills."

The competition comprised of four student-lead teams. In a mere four weeks the teams created all the marketing — website, pricing and product design of their animal-themed t-shirts. According to TenBrink, the teams experience numerous challenges, but their entrepreneurial spirit combined with their business acumen rose to the occasion.

An additional outcome, unforeseen by TenBrink, was the students' commitment and passion to giving back to their community. The class donated all proceeds from the project — more than $1,100 — to the Houston Humane Society.

Two of the four teams exceeded expectations.

The Gators Care Team, Ana Antillon Bonfil, Cristina Rangel, Estefany Alvarez, Joanna Baretto, Ruben Ruiz, Sandra Robles, and Zain Ahsan, raised more than $600.

"The pop-up store project gave us the opportunity to put into practice what we learned throughout the semester as well as during our time here at UHD," says one Gator Care Team member.

The Pro Pet Team, Hami Jimenez, Lanre Ogunbufunmi, Patricia Isaac, Roxanna Torres, Salome Peah, and Yue Zheng, raised $500.