Indiana State University Newsroom

Students look to area businesses for hands-on consulting experience

May 7, 2015

It wasn't the easiest feat for students in the senior business experience course to scour Indiana State University and surrounding colleges conduct a survey to help Clabber Girl Bakeshop expand business.

But business management majors Katie Fiwek, Brandon Harris, Janika Holmes, Wes Thompson and Ta'Shai Washington rose to the task and provided the company findings from the 73-person survey, including feedback on menu awareness, breakfast and lunch eating habits and study environment preferences to the company's representatives as part of a final presentation.

"The survey was probably one of the most challenging parts of this project, particularly when it came to surveying people not at Indiana State because we didn't necessarily have their email or social media information," Washington said.

The students recommended opportunities for reaching out to college students, including creating an Instagram account and coupon promotions for students who use their locator on Facebook to announce they are at #ClabberGirlBakeshop.

"Instagram is one of the most popular social media sites, so it would be great to expand into using it," Fiwek said. "People often follow companies on Instagram to get free things and they hashtag it, which gets the company's name out there even more."

At the company's request, the team also researched new hire training processes and provided a compare and contrast of employee training methods at other local eateries to help with employee retention.

The students suggested adding more hands-on training to its already required orientation, facility tour, policy read-throughs, customer service training, shadowing of experienced employees, and opening and closing manuals.

"I was interested in what they had to say, especially when it comes to getting our name out to their age demographic," said Susan Royce, manager of Clabber Girl Bake Shop.

Ellis Law, Local Century 21, Heartland Labels and Indiana State University's Student Recreation Center also benefited from the students' work in the class taught by James Tanoos, a part-time instructor of management in the Scott College of Business.

For Local Century 21, a team that included Kierra Black, Abdulaziz Alfahhad, Drew Billings, Andrew Fox,Ryan Purdy and Ryan Wisbey created an integrated approach to the company's outreach efforts based on the Hootsuite application, analyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the local competition's advertising, developed a Google+ page, and created a breakdown of Facebook's "review" section.

"We focused on what we could help them with," Billings said. "We can't really affect the cost of living in Terre Haute or buying a house, the economy, or what certifications or investments they have, but what we can do is affect what opportunities they have with technology and social media."

To better manage the company's social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the group recommended using Hootsuite - a social media management tool that monitors multiple social media accounts at once - and work on the local company's website design.

"It's hard to keep up with everything today - all of the social media and the website - so it was great to get feedback from their generation on what we should be doing," said Judi Evelo, broker/owner of Century 21-Terre Haute.

Accounting majors Jacob Bobos, Joshua Jacquez, Andrew Jones, Krystal Lantz, Desean Prentice and Jeff Zahn hoped to make life easier for ISU Rec Center employees with a user-friendly Excel spreadsheet that connects all department functions with an in-depth budget tracking system and expense sheet.

"Since we're all accounting majors, this project was a great example for us to use to show future employers our knowledge of Excel, which is great made the project a great experience for all of us since we're all accounting majors who will have to use Excel," said Jacquez, who is also a student worker at the Rec Center.

The pull-down menus, macro forms, subtotals, ability to feed totals into a larger, quarterly report, and user's manual the students created will save valuable man hours, said John Lentz, campus recreation director

"This is a much more efficient way to track our budget and it will allow us to do future projections, which have been very time-consuming for us," he said.

Contact: James Tanoos, instructor of management, Scott College of Business,

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or