2016 SBI Students
UNM SBI student team leaders Alex Mansfield and Jarred Panger.

Students from the Anderson School of Management won top prizes at the Small Business Institute’s Project of the Year competition in New Orleans, La. recently. 

Anderson students earned two third place honors after competing against more than 75 SBI teams from across the nation in three different project categories at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. 

The awards included a student team guided by Associate Professor Dimitri Kapelianis and student team leader, Alex Mansfield, who took third place honors in the Graduate/Specialized category for their project developing a strategic marketing plan for Explora! Science Center and Children’s Museum in Albuquerque.  This is the third year in a row that Kapelianis’ student teams have won national awards. 

“I have found my experience collaborating with the UNM SBI to be deeply rewarding,” said Kapelianis. “Everyone benefits. My students acquire practical skills by working with local businesses and non-profits on important strategic challenges. Our local client organizations benefit when Anderson MBA students bring a fresh perspective and keen insight to their business plans. And the experience keeps my teaching grounded in the practical realities of marketing strategy.” 

The second UNM award was a third place finish in the Graduate/Comprehensive category. The student team project for American Realty was guided by Adjunct Professor Holly Hitzemann and led by student team leader Jarred Panger. Hitzemann says the SBI program provides students real-world training for their future careers through this unique experiential learning opportunity. 

UNM SBI Director Stacy Sacco says working with the SBI is a unique opportunity for local businesses. 

“Participating firms receive in-depth business consulting for nearly four months and a professional, scalable business plan to guide their future,” said Sacco. 

Since the founding of UNM SBI in 1978, it has assisted more than 700 businesses, including start-ups, expanding businesses, nonprofit organizations and family enterprises. Every semester, 15-20 student teams comprised of 3-5 students are guided by a UNM Anderson faculty member to work with local client businesses and assist them with strategic planning, financial analyses and marketing research studies. For more information, visit UNM Small Business Institute.