MBA Programs - Continuing Education in Florida
Professors talk about their approaches to teaching leadership skills.
Assistant Professor, Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship,
Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and New Business Development
Florida Institute of Technology
Courses: Strategic Management; Business Policies; Business Plan Research
Scott Benjamin likes to get his entrepreneurial-minded students to get outside their comfort zones. His students spend a lot of time on the phone, on the web and pounding the pavement.
“I want students to create a business plan, but my approach is different,” Benjamin says. “I also want them to learn the soft skills of starting a business” — negotiation skills, conflict resolution and presentations, for example. Even more, Benjamin wants his students to experience failure in the sales process and learn how to bounce back.
In between classes, Benjamin sends his students into the field. Once they present a product or service they want to launch, he requires them to do market research by quizzing potential customers on what they would want in a product. They have to come back with a better version. After a discussion on product development, he asks them to find the cost of manufacturing by emailing manufacturers and getting real bids. To prepare a budget, he has them looking into the cost of renting space and negotiating with real estate agents and gauging how much customers will pay for the product or service by asking them. After a class discussion on funding, he requires students to talk to lenders and investors about backing their potential business. “You won’t learn these things in a classroom. You have to get out there and do it,” he says.
Benjamin says his students may spend more hours on his class than others they take but usually follow up by getting involved in the school’s incubator program. Benjamin has a doctorate degree in management and entrepreneurship and has also been a successful entrepreneur, owning restaurants, a real estate development company and a medical consulting business.