The Marlin Business Conference featured presentations from students, CEOs, international professionals and government organizations.
The student-led Marlin Business Conference (MBC) was held at the Brock Commons adjacent to the Boyd Dining Center from Nov. 13 to Nov. 18. The conference captivated students, faculty, staff and guests with a variety of business approaches. The event also featured a fashion marketing experience, international speakers, an FBI presentation, Shark Tank business proposal style presentations and more.
In years prior, the Marlin Business Conference was held in the Pearce Suite in the Batten Student Center and Clarke Hall. However, after the conclusion of the Brock Commons’ construction earlier this year, students and staff now got an open window view of the business experience. Students appreciated the change of space and different room dynamics.
“I enjoyed the energy in the Brock Commons space. It was my first time being in the Commons. I love the natural lighting and the setup of tables allows for a discussion among your peers. There were also three TVs for you so you can follow along with the speaker’s notes and their presentation,” junior Shannon Lewes said.
The MBC featured a variety of guest speakers from several different fields such as the FBI, etiquette and fashion and The Gemini 3 Group, Inc. (G3G, Inc.).
“The FBI presentation was wonderful. That was Dr. Futyma’s friend who had a wonderful presentation and then Bruce Thompson’s speech on the opening night was fantastic,” Business and Communications Professor Dr. Linda Ferguson said. “Everybody was just in awe, they just paid such close attention.”
The highly anticipated “Shark Tank” presentations were met with criticisms from judges in the business field and guided students to a grade in their business course as well. With this considerably high pressure, students seemed to handle the anticipation and pulled through with some innovative product ideas.
Following the “Shark Tank” presentations, the International Honor Society for Business, Management and Administration, Sigma Beta Delta, inducted new members to conclude the day. The inductees include Alexandra Brewster, Sarah Guzzo, Ashleigh Lockard, Emily Moody, Aaron Oman, Emily Purdin and Jennifer Walsh.
Both Dr. Ferguson and Shannon Lewes were tremendously grateful that Linda Blakemore, CEO of G3G, Inc., guest spoke at MBC. Her company, G3G, Inc., is a managing and consulting firm located in Stafford, Va. The Virginia Wesleyan community was very impressed with her speaking and the other guest speakers as well.
“I really liked the MBC because the speakers came from a variety of backgrounds and many different important topics were covered. For example, Linda Blakemore, she’s a defense contractor. She spoke earlier in the week and again at the end of the week,” Lewes said.
Though the Management, Business, and Economics Department was pleased with the conference itself, many wished more people could have been there in support.
“Honestly, I wish more people had attended and because they really missed out. I don’t think there’s enough advertising about the business conference. There’s a lot of advertising, but I think people need to share their personal experiences to get more people to go in future years,” Lewes said.
Though Shannon Lewes is not a Business major, she attended the conference because of her friends and ended up really enjoying the experience. She plans to recommend the conference to students next semester.
The conference also featured parents presenting, an element that had taken place in years prior. Dr. Linda Ferguson was pleased with the presentation on Tuesday from Mr. Parawa in Poland as well as Hector Quinteros’s international business presentation.
“We had two parents present and previously, that was almost the norm. We had a lot of people who had parents and just had that personal connection with them and being proud of their parents or proud of their aunts and uncles goes a long way. I thought that was fabulous,” Dr. Ferguson said.
Junior Gavin Prouty, a Business and Math major, helped in the organization of the MBC.
“We had a great time planning and hosting the conference!” Prouty said.
Even with the excitement, the conference comes with difficulties. “We had a lot of new events this year so it was really challenging,” Prouty said, “There were a lot of moving pieces that fell into place so it was really rewarding seeing the hard work pay off.”