February 8, 2021

Tisch Center Course Spotlight: Entrepreneurship and Business Plan Development

Entrepreneurship and Business Plan Development is a core course in the MS in Event Management program. Professor Adrienne Garland, the instructor, tells us more about her background and the course in this post.

What is your background?

After graduating from SUNY Albany with a degree in Economics, I entered the world of finance, working in equity research and investment banking for a few boutique firms.  After a few years, I decided to earn my MBA and chose to attend NYU Stern since it had such an incredible reputation for finance.  I attended the part-time program - working during the day and attending classes in the evening.  After a handful of semesters, and sampling several marketing courses, my interest shifted away from financial markets and toward businesses themselves and how they go to market, grow and scale.  I turned all of my attention to marketing and graduated with an MBA in marketing, concentrating in Media, Entertainment and Technology.  Throughout my marketing career, events and conferences always played a significant role in bringing people together to learn about new opportunities, products & services.  When I started my business, She Leads Media in 2010, I kicked it off with an annual conference for women leaders and entrepreneurs - as this is the audience I serve, and that I’m so passionate about helping. Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to bring together all of my business skills and passions, and I’ve learned more about myself than any other pursuit to date, which has been an unintended, yet positive outcome.

What are the objectives of Entrepreneurship and Business Plan development course?

The objective of this course is to offer event management students a high-level overview of what entrepreneurship is all about, so that they have a rich understanding of all the personal, professional and technical aspects of entrepreneurship, should they make the decision to start an event, venue or other type business of their own.  Students work individually or in groups on a business plan so that they can think through a business idea and all the pieces that are needed to launch a successful business.  A secondary objective of the course is to challenge students to proactively think about what they desire from their career, and their lives overall.  We discuss the entrepreneurial mindset, and what being an entrepreneur means alongside the more business-focused aspects of starting a business.

Why is this an important and interesting subject area in our fields?

There are companies of all sizes in the field of event management because there’s so much wonderful and unrealized opportunity within this sector.  While the pandemic has put a damper on the ability to gather in large numbers, it has also spurred a host of new opportunities - virtual and hybrid events, new services and other innovations that support and contribute to the event management industry as a whole.  Whether or not someone decides to start a business, having an open mind and scanning for opportunities in the face of adversity is both a life skill and a business advantage.  I believe deeply that everyone can benefit by looking at everything in life through the lens of opportunity.

What impact do you hope to have on your students through this course?

The impact that I’d like to have on students is that I’d like them to feel confident in not only their ability to be an entrepreneur, should they choose that path, but also to have a deep confidence in themselves as professionals in the world.  I want them to know that having a growth mindset and taking swift, positive actions, can allow them to accomplish anything they set their mind to in life.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

This past semester was the first semester that I taught, as well as the first semester teaching fully remote.  With 33 students in class, there were times that it was challenging, but I immensely enjoyed every moment of it and did my best to convey my optimism, along with my personal experiences of what it’s been like for me to be an entrepreneur.  Everyone had such incredible business ideas, and we all got to know each other as best as we possibly could have given the circumstances.  I am honored to be in company with all the wonderful people who have chosen to pursue an advanced degree in event management, and look forward to becoming an even more effective adjunct professor in the semesters and years to come.


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