Student Life

UWF MBA student team earns top honors for work with Pensacola business

A team of University of West Florida MBA students won first place at the Small Business Institute’s 40th Annual Academic Conference in New Orleans last month for work done on behalf of a Pensacola business.

MBA students Gerry Goldstein, Laura Jensen, Michael Newsom and Stelios Peterson won first place in the category of Best Small Business Development Center Paper. Their paper was based on consulting work the students completed in conjunction with the Florida SBDC at UWF. For the project, the team prepared an in-depth analysis for Best Price Digital Lens, LLC, to assist owner Dr. Gene Terrezza in expanding his current optical lens manufacturing facility.

“The students came up with valuable recommendations on how the owner, Dr. Gene Terrezza, could grow his business,” said Dr. Blaine Lawlor, faculty advisor and assistant professor in the Department of Management. “We had the privilege of having Dr. Terrezza come to the class and participate when the students presented their findings on this company.”

The team also submitted their final paper to the North American Case Research Association in 2015. They were selected from a prestigious group of international members to present their paper at the NACRA annual conference. In October, they traveled to the conference to defend the paper’s methodology for research, conclusions and recommendations.

“Work of this magnitude adds value not only to the student, but also to the community and to the University,” Lawlor added.

Goldstein, lead author of the paper and a 2015 MBA graduate, noted the mutual benefit the project provided for students, who were able to fulfill an academic requirement, and the SBDC client, which received valuable research and analysis.

“The UWF College of Business can deliver high quality content for any size business,” Goldstein said. “The SBI award demonstrated our ability to work effectively with the SBDC at UWF.”

The Florida SBDC at UWF provides tools, training and resources to help entrepreneurs in every stage of business and all industry sectors grow and succeed. Located within the UWF College of Business, it is part of a statewide network of more than 40 centers involving universities, state colleges and dozens of local economic development organizations that serve the needs of Florida’s business community.