New course gives students chance to earn real money

Shane Kelly, Staff Writer

With the spring semester quickly coming to a close, registration for fall classes is on returning students’ agenda. With many the many classes Utica College has to offer, students often struggle with what classes to chose, especially electives.

This upcoming fall semester there is a brand new class that has never before been offered at UC. The class is entrepreneurial media or JLM/MGT 300. This class will highlight the real-life situations associated in starting and maintaining a media business.

Assistant Professor of Journalism Brett Orzechowski designed and created the curriculum for this class and will be the professor in the fall. For those who are unfamiliar with him, Orzechowski is in his first year at Utica College. He previously taught journalism at Quinnipiac University and started an entrepreneurial class there as well. He also has experience running a media business as CEO/Publisher of The Connecticut Mirror/Connecticut News Project, Inc.

The class will try to tackle the question of how does one monetize media? The word “media” is wide-ranging (the idea can be journalistic, digital, app-based, drones, gaming, virtual reality, video, audio, etc.), so if a student ever had the desire to start their own media business, this course will outline the necessary steps to do so.

Students will form teams and take a media business idea and launch it during the semester. There will be a final competition between the teams before a panel of judges (faculty, media professionals and investors) for actual start-up money.

Yes, students can actually make real money for their business in this class.

The grading portion of the class is simple with a reflection paper on the experience, peer and instructor evaluation, and final placement in the competition. This grading rubric ensures that even if a team does not place well in the competition, a student can receive a high grade if they are a good teammate and fully embrace the rigorous entrepreneurial experience.

What is the final competition?

Instead of a traditional final, students will go in front of the panel of judges, pitch their business idea and possibly receive money to jumpstart their business if a member from the panel would like to invest.

Student teams are required to create a business plan (written competency), investor deck (oral competency), and a working digital media prototype or shell (technological development) for the final presentation to present to the judges.

“Instead of a final, there is a competition because, from a learning perspective, there are so many things you don’t learn about yourself until you get into a competition,” Orzechowski said. “The competition isn’t so much to make you nervous, it’s real life. We’ve had students who said it was the most gratifying experience of their life.”

After the class is over, students can choose to try and keep the business running with their teammates or never touch it again. At Quinnipiac, Orzechowski ran the class three times total before he left to go back into industry. In those three classes, 26 businesses arose and six of those businesses are still running today.

“It’s the only time, or probably the last time in your life, where you can try to start a business with a net; meaning you have school to fall back on,” Orzechowski said.

There are no prerequisites for this course; the class is open to everyone on campus. The class is a real life, real money experience that everyone should consider, especially those who have had their own ideas about starting their own business.

The course will run Monday and Friday, from 2-3:15 p.m. For more information, contact Orzechowski at [email protected].