15:46 PM

Course Provides Graduates with "Shark Tank" Environment

Entrepreneurship is the fastest growing industry in business today, and a capstone course for graduating MBA students at UHD is equipping future business leaders to succeed in today's competitive marketplace.

The 16-week course requires students to generate an idea and write a business plan after conducting industry and market analysis, developing financial feasibility and proposing implementation strategies. And to give the students a real-world experience of selling ideas to investors, the teams enter a "Shark Tank" environment to pitch their start-up venture plans to three entrepreneurs, who work from rubrics and serve as judges to gauge the merit and funding potential for each start-up.

Similar to the popular ABC television show, the teams have a limited amount of time to concisely share their business concept, demonstrate demand for the product or service and persuade investors to provide capital to launch the business.

"This class serves as an ideal platform for students to apply what they have learned, not only in the classroom, but in other courses of the program, as well," said Faiza Khoja, associate professor of strategy and assistant chair of the Management, Marketing and Business Administration Department at UHD, who teaches the course. "This is truly a unique learning experience for all the students, in which they experience first-hand what it takes to effectively conceptualize a business, work with investors and market their concept to the general public."

Throughout the project, MBA students also learn to find creative solutions to problems within an organization and gain the confidence and experience to build a green-field business.

In the competitive challenge, the winning team proposed "Social Paws," an online dating website, in which pets serve as "icebreakers."

UHD's first class of MBA students celebrated their graduation at a special "hooding" ceremony at Minute Maid Park this week, prior to walking in the University's commencement ceremony.

Grads in Front of Judges Final Capstone Course Podium

Winners Frank Lafuente, Alma Pedraza, Tayyaba Sheikh Winners Frank Lafuente, Alma Pedraza, Tayyaba Sheikh