Introduction to Business Class Projects

Learning about business through a hands-on approach enhances the educational experience.

Interaction and teamwork provide a strong foundation for generating class projects for a business class. Analyzing existing companies, interviewing a CEO and creating fictitious companies all provide the opportunity for students to apply academic learning to a real-life scenario, enhancing the learning experience for everyone involved.

1 Form a Mock Company

Ask students to form small teams and assign each group a pretend-business to create. The mock-business creation process should walk the class through each step of formulating a business, preferably in conjunction with your class syllabus. At the end of the semester or class, each team should present its business to the class, emphasizing each stage of the business-development process, such as writing a business plan, seeking investors, marketing strategies, manufacturing and production.

2 Business Plan Creation

Create a list of businesses and copy them onto individual cards or small pieces of paper. Place all the businesses into a hat and pass it around the classroom so each student may draw a slip of paper. The student will then create a business plan for her chosen business with the intention of seeking outside investors or start-up capital. Plans written for outside funding contain more research into SWOT analysis -- focusing on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats -- and in-depth explanations of the business, its revenue models and the target markets of the entity.

3 Create a Plan for an Existing Company

Tell the students to choose a business from the NASDAQ exchange and create a business plan that reflects the existing structure of the business. Some of their plans will be hypothetical, as access to certain information in the company is restricted, but they can focus on the actual existing customers and products or services the company offers to the public.

4 Interview a CEO

Assign an interview and essay project for each student. The interview must be of a CEO of a business making $500,000 or more in annual revenue and they must present their findings in a formal essay about the CEO's role in the company, how she came to the position and the future of the company under her guidance. Students will also present their findings during the interview to the class in a slide-show presentation with background of the CEO, the company she commands and the future of this company.

Crystal Street is a documentary photographer, an award-winning freelance multimedia producer and writer who is currently based out of Arizona. Street has worked throughout the developing world and studied visual communications at The School of Journalism and Mass Communications at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.