Chelsea Evans is a junior in the Honors College at Grand Canyon University. She is a marketing major with a minor in entrepreneurial studies from Spokane, WA. Throughout her entire life, business and anything related to art have been her two reoccurring passions. During her junior year of high school, she found a way to weave the two together. Chelsea spent the next two years of her life creating paintings and selling them online and in art shows; however, coming to college, she did not have time (or the space) to paint as much as she would like.
Over the course of several weeks, a small group of Grand Canyon University business majors were tasked to go behind the scenes of a company to learn about all aspects of the business, picking apart every single number, claim and detail they could find.
In the end, these teams presented their verdict to a room full of local investors. In this process, the student Due Diligence teams were used to create a bridge between investors and entrepreneurs, while giving students real-world experience.
Catherine Xiong, a dedicated business student in the Honors College, joined one of the inaugural Due Diligence teams. As she eagerly expressed interest in someday wanting to start up a business of her own, she laughed and commented, “I do not know how investors work, the way they think or why they would even want to invest in a company! I can now take knowledge from this experience and use it in the future.”
For individuals like Xiong, the information gained from class can be applied to real-life situations where they can truly watch them come to life.
Tim Kelley, GCU faculty and founding member of Canyon Angels, spoke to the many benefits students receive by being a part of the Due Diligence process. “Students so often have an idea, but have no idea how to take that idea to reality,” he said. “As much as we preach in the classroom that we can teach you to be an entrepreneur, you really learn by doing.”
In addition to this, by working alongside GCU faculty and local business members from the Phoenix community, students are not the only ones who are able to benefit from this experience. Kelley observed how students bring observations to the table that help even the most experienced business members.
He mentioned, “We think we can bring a unique and profound student experience that will help the entrepreneur see a new perspective, help the students learn how entrepreneurs and investors think, and then help the investors hopefully get some information that they would not otherwise find.”
By putting themselves out there and being thrown head first into the cutthroat business world, students were challenged in more ways than they ever expected. Although nervous at first, taking a risk has proven to pay itself off.
Kelley commented, “You think ‘I am just a student. What can I possibly do to influence this world of global commerce in which we live?’ And the reality is, you can.”
As for the students who may feel like they may not have enough experience, or are simply too nervous to try it out, both Xiong and Kelley could agree on one piece of advice: “Just do it.”
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