Tag Archives: CSUF Entrepreneurship

CSUF Entrepreneurship’s High Impact Practices

There are many ways to get an education but in this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider Director Jackson discusses how our program uses intensive projects with real world implications to enrich our students’ education and increase graduation rates.

CSUF Entrepreneurship students will tell you two things about their education at Cal State Fullerton: 1. Majoring in entrepreneurship was a challenge and 2. It was the most rewarding experience of their education.

Why is majoring in entrepreneurship at Cal State Fullerton such a challenge?

Every Entrepreneurship Major must complete four classes that feature consulting projects with real businesses and they must also take a pair of classes where they are required to develop a business plan for a concept they come up with and then work on the launch of that business. All of these projects require of our students a great deal of effort and forces them to actively apply what they are learning in the classroom to real world situations with real world results.

These projects are called High Impact Practices and, as discussed in our article titled CSUF Entrepreneurship Students Get Hands On Experience, these classes do increase student engagement and lead to higher graduation rates.

In addition to our professors and mentors, these projects make an entrepreneurial education at Cal State Fullerton a very rewarding experience.


John Bradley Jackson
Director and Professor
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting,
& CSUF Startup Incubator

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CSUF Entrepreneurship Students Get Hands On Experience

Professor John Bradley Jackson uses High Impact Practices to engage his students in an entrepreneurial education at Cal State Fullerton

Professor John Bradley Jackson uses High Impact Practices to engage his students in an entrepreneurial education at Cal State Fullerton

One of the critical components of the CSUF Entrepreneurship program that we are very proud of is that our curriculum features many projects with real world implications. We have the CSUF Consulting program where students work in groups to help develop comprehensive strategy reports for existing businesses and startups. We also have a pair of classes where students develop business plans for a concept of their own and then, in the next semester, actively work to launch that business.

In academic literature, these kinds of projects are called High Impact Practices (HIPs) and they benefit students in many ways. According to a study by the Association of American Colleges & Universities they found that HIPs encourage student engagement and increase graduation rates, especially among underrepresented students, among other positive results.

Cal State Fullerton is conducting its own study on HIPs and is documenting the impact that it is having on our students. This study includes more than 300 courses that prominently feature HIPs. One of these classes is Professor John Bradley Jackson’s Management 465A and early results from the CSUF study show that the students in this class are the most engaged students in the sample. This is the class that has students form teams to develop a business plan for a concept of their own making.

Our project was exciting.,” said Chad Armstrong ’17, who was one of the students to take this course. “During the semester, I could see and believe that this could become a real product. This gave me energy. I liked the people on my team, all of them, even though we disagreed and disappointed each other at times. The project was stressful and at times we didn’t like each other but this is normal in any healthy relationship. Developing a respect for each other’s abilities and strengths early in the project helps get me through the stressful times later in the project. You can’t learn that from a book.

“As a student becomes more engaged, they do projects, they do breakout groups, they think about the topic; that increased engagement increases learning, [and] retention,” says Professor Jackson.

HIPs are an important part of the CSUF Entrepreneurship program. We believe that the intensive projects that we have our students do makes a profound difference on our students’ education; a difference, like Chad says, that “you can’t learn from a book.”

We welcome every student that is ready to take on the challenge of an entrepreneurial education at Cal State Fullerton. For more information on how to become an Entrepreneurship student please go to this page.

And this kind of educational experience would not be possible without our clients from the CSUF Consulting program and the CSUF Startup Incubator, as well as our hundreds of mentors who work with our student groups every semester to enrich students’ education and understanding of business and entrepreneurship. For more information on how to become a client or mentor in our program please email us at csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu.

Zach Barajas contributed to this article


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:

Innovation At Cal State Fullerton – It Starts With You

CSUF students Lorenzo Santos and Vanessa Ganaden are working to bring more innovation to Cal State Fullerton

In this week’s edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider we focus on how innovation starts with you. Everyone has the ability to improve things and the seed of all innovation is an idea. Successful innovators are the ones who work every day to make those ideas into something real.

Over the past few weeks the CSUF Entrepreneurship community has been busy. A couple of our intrepid students attended a national conference along with CSUF President Garcia to learn how to bring more innovation to campus, and they have already begun acting on what they learned; many students have entered their innovative business concepts in the CSUF Business Plan Competition; and more of our CSUF Startup Incubator Residents have brought their innovations to market, one of them focusing on bringing joy to his customers and another on teaching his customers how to play the piano better.

Innovation, the lifeblood of entrepreneurship, comes from individuals and teams taking actions to create a better world. The Center for Entrepreneurship and the CSUF Startup Incubator innovates as well but what we excel at is working with individuals and teams to make them better innovators and better entrepreneurs.

What all of these stories have in common is that these innovators started small. Theirs is no overnight success story; they started from an idea and worked to grow it day after day. You can do this as well. We are here to help.


John Bradley Jackson
Director & Professor
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting,
& CSUF Startup Incubator

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CSUF Entrepreneurship Students Create Business Plan, Present to Investor Panel

piano-with-jonnyThe panel is awesome – I love that as students, we have the chance to present real ideas to real business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and bankers.  Few other classes offer the practical feedback and hands-on work that I have experienced in Management 465A.  It is one of the best Entrepreneurship classes, and I highly recommend it to other students.

Those are some of the thoughts from Jonny May, the creator of Piano with Jonny and one of our CSUF Entrepreneurship students who had the opportunity to give a fifteen minute presentation to a panel of experts on the progress they have made in launching their businesses followed by fifteen minutes of hard hitting questions from those same experts. As you can guess, this is a pressure packed experience but it is also a unique opportunity to get feedback from a diverse group of experts.

But let me take a step back since these panels are the culmination of a semester’s worth of work on the part of CSUF Entrepreneurship students.

At the beginning of every semester, students in Management 465A and 465B coalesce into teams with the mission of either creating a business plan for a concept (465A) or work on launching a business (465B). In Jonny’s case, he is a student in Management 465A and he led his team in the creation of a business plan for his concept: Piano with Jonny. (And, to be perfectly honest, Jonny’s team had a bit of a head start since Jonny has been working on this business for a couple of years now and is already in revenue. But, as you will see, Jonny has leveraged his experience in this class to crystallize his business’ strategy and develop a plan to make his business stronger and well positioned for growth.)

If I could show you a montage right now, I would, because in between the formation of the teams at the beginning of the semester and the panels at the end there is a lot of hard work that largely goes uncelebrated. It is during the semester that the teams work on developing their marketing strategy, interviewing customers to unearth key insights into their thinking, put together an operations plan with a budget, and do all of the other work that is necessary to craft a meaningful business plan that can be used to launch or grow a business and maybe even using the plan when in discussions with potential investors.

And it is this hard work that helps students get to the heart of the matter for their businesses. From Jonny: “The class has forced me to think more deeply about why our customers buy and where to put more of our efforts.  Through customer interviews and competitive analysis, it is now much more clear where we are not being effective and where we can add huge value for our customers.”

The panels that we have already talked about a little are the culmination of all this hard work. Over the course of the three months that make up a semester, many students, including Jonny, dedicate 100+ hours to the completion of their project whether that is the creation of a business plan or work on launching a business. In Jonny’s case, it was a little of both.

The panels are no small matter. As Jonny said at the beginning of this article, we make sure to pick some heavy hitters to be judges. At the most basic level, these panels represent a crucial academic event for our students; having the opportunity to present such a complex and important project is nerve racking for the students but they pretty much always rise to the occasion.

Jack Mixner, one of our professors teaching this class, puts it this way: “Preparing to present to real investors is challenging, daunting – and  exciting. The preparation pays off. Presentations evolve quickly into unexpectedly high level conversations between ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘investors.’ Students share. They learn. And the investors? They share, too, with sometimes very unexpected and useful points of view that the students, their mentors – and their professors – had not expected. Everybody wins.”

But for students like Jonny who are leveraging this unique academic experience to create something real and hopefully long lasting the panels can represent a crucial turning point in the success of their ventures.

“[The panel] was very helpful – I had to learn how to sell my business and ‘take the heat’ from experts.  I knew they would ask hard questions, so I really had to become familiar with my business in a way I never have.  I learned that we have a highly scaleable business and that we should be charging more for our products,” said Jonny.

We are obviously very proud of the work that Jonny and his team, which includes fellow CSUF Entrepreneurship students Sylvia Dang, Johnny Pen, and Reuben Ponce De Leon and mentor Craig Martyn have done. And the same is true for all of our other teams in these classes. Most will not end in successfully launched business but the experience of trying is invaluable and will certainly help them in all their future endeavors.

And in Jonny’s case, we are looking forward to not only working with him as a student but also as a Resident at the CSUF Startup Incubator. Jonny was accepted into the Incubator just a few days ago because we see a great deal of potential in his business and we believe he’s the kind of entrepreneur that has the capability and drive to make his startup into a sustainable business. We will be working closely with him in the classroom and at the Incubator over the next six months and by the end of that time we believe Jonny will be well on his way towards taking Piano with Jonny to the next level.

Stay tuned!

#CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

Become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

Attend one of our entrepreneur events or sign up for a free mentoring session: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

CSUF Entrepreneurship Update from Director Jackson


Here are a few hundred words from Director John Bradley Jackson:

Jerry Conrey is a tremendous supporter of the CSUF Entrepreneurship program and he will be joining us this Wednesday at 6pm for his talk/Q&A titled Insurance and Risk Management Questions Answered!

This is a tremendous opportunity to find out what kinds of insurance your business needs, how much coverage is necessary, and learn powerful strategies for managing your company’s risk portfolio. Mr. Conrey will give a brief talk starting at 6pm and then will field questions from the audience for at least an hour. We hope to see you there!

If you have a spare five minutes, I would appreciate it if you could answer some survey questions about banking. With the results of this survey, our students will get the opportunity to apply the lessons they have learned in class and their analysis will be used to assist a local business in determining their marketing strategy. Consulting projects are a central part of the CSUF Entrepreneurship curriculum and your assistance here is a tremendous help.

Also, following up on my last email to you a couple of weeks ago, I am happy to tell you that the CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals were a big hit! Over 150 people were there to see our finalists present their concepts. A huge “Thank you!” to everyone who made this possible and to read about the Finals (and to find out who won) please read: CSUF Business Plan Competition 2016

To see the other talks we have planned for the future please go to: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEventsThank you for your time and we hope to see you at Insurance and Risk Management Questions Answered! and the events that we have listed below!

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Cal State Fullerton Mentoring Program

CSUF Entrepreneurship Consulting

Angeli Menta (second from left) mentored this team of awesome CSUF Entrepreneurship students who ended up winning a national competition for excellence in consulting.

Mentors are a pivotal component of the CSUF Entrepreneurship program. We have dozens of student teams every semester working on consulting projects for local businesses and on developing their own startups. It’s an amazing process that helps bring real life situations into the classroom for our students and the mentors serve as an invaluable bridge between the academic and the practical.

We are looking for a few more businesspeople to serve as mentors in our program to help our students develop the skill sets necessary to compete in the real world. You don’t need to have decades worth of experience or have started multiple paradigm changing companies. That would be cool but we’ve found that the ideal mentors are people who care about helping the students grow as people and as professionals.

For each of our classes we ask mentors to attend approximately ten times throughout the semester for about an hour each time. For mentors in classes with consulting projects, which is most of them and is noted below, there will probably be a couple onsite visits with the client as well. Overall, mentoring in our program requires a couple hours a week on average over the course of about thirteen weeks.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor in our program please send us a message at csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu. I can answer any of your questions and get you in touch with the professors. And if you have any recommendations on people who would make a good mentor please let them know about us.

Below you will find the list of classes for which we still need mentors. All of them have student teams doing consulting projects for local businesses except for the first one listed, Business Administration 410, where teams are developing  business plans for their concepts.

Business Administration 410 – Starting and Managing a Professional Practice/Small Business
Professor: Jeff Longshaw
Time: Wednesday 4:00pm to 6:45pm

Management 461 – Entrepreneurial Management (Consulting)
Professor: Tom Miller
Time: Wednesday 7:00pm to 9:45pm

Marketing 462 – Marketing for Entrepreneurs (Consulting)
Professor: Scott Sorrell
Time: Tuesday 7:00pm to 9:45pm

Accounting 463 – Financial Controls for Entrepreneurs (first section) (Consulting)
Professor: Tom Miller
Time: Monday 7:00pm to 9:45pm

Accounting 463 – Financial Controls for Entrepreneurs (second section) (Consulting)
Professor: Tom Miller
Time: Tuesday 7:00pm to 9:45pm

Management 464 – Entrepreneurial Leadership (first section) (Consulting)
Professor: Jack Mixner
Time: Monday 7:00pm to 9:45pm

Management 464 – Entrepreneurial Leadership (second section) (Consulting)
Professor: Atul Teckchandani
Time: Wednesday 1:00pm to 3:45pm

CSUF Entrepreneurship Mentor Bob Kreisberg Rediscovers his love for the Saxophone



As a mentor in our program, Bob Kreisberg has helped hundreds of students understand the importance of how different personalities affect entrepreneurial ventures. As the founder of Opus Productivity, Bob counsels companies on how to hire people with the highest likelihood of fitting in with a company’s culture and how to get the most out of new and existing employees. Bob has a great mind for business and is a very valuable member of our entrepreneurial community.

But that’s not the point of this post. For those of us who know Bob personally we know that he is a kind and generous person. Having beaten cancer Bob is also a fighter. One thing many people, even some of his closest friends, didn’t know is that Bob used to love playing the saxophone and it was that love of this instrument that recently got him profiled in the Orange County Register.

In the story Villa Park man rediscovers saxophone 46 years after illness I learned about Bob’s sojourn to find the perfect saxophone that he last played decades ago:

Kreisberg remembered clutching the raw brass relic for the first time. He was standing beside an orchestra’s worth of forgotten instruments and between the shelves of power tools and sharp-toothed handsaws, and he held the sax next to his heart.

He was reunited with an instrument – no, not the same instrument, but one just like it – that he hadn’t played in 46 years.

“This was a magic,” he said of the new/old sax. “This had to have been played by a musician.”

You really should read the whole article to learn about this personal pursuit of one of our mentors.

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