The Rollins Center: Building the Business of Social Science

Marriott School of Business Students in the Tanner Building. Jaren Wilkey © BYU PHOTO

Have you ever had a class where you were required to ask for a discount every time you bought something in person? Students in the Business Fundamentals and Advertising for Startups course are given this very assignment. This class is one section of Topics in Entrepreneurial Management (ENT 490R) offered by the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, whose aim is to prepare students to begin and expand their own businesses.

Although ENT 490R is a business class, students from the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences are branching out of their classes in the college to learn how to apply what they are learning to the business world. FHSS students share that their experience with business has enhanced their majors by providing them with new opportunities and social connections.

Referring to the assignments of ENT 490R, Taylor Hollingshaus, a junior majoring in economics, shares “all of the class assignments have been unique…you are not going to get an assignment you get in this class from other classes.” He reports that these assignments are teaching him that it is important to “be okay with being uncomfortable.” Juan Saaved, a junior majoring in sociology, says that the discount assignment in particular “taught me that you aren’t going to lose anything you don’t have.”

Harrison Riehle, a senior majoring in Geography, Urban & Regional Planning, says that the “most interesting and rewarding things I’ve done have come from the Rollins Center…I have met people I never could have met by just being in class.” Hollingshaus adds that it is “good to get outside of what we normally do” and that FHSS students also have the opportunity to bring a unique perspective to the ENT 490R class that can benefit their peers.

For Saaved, ENT 490R is enhancing his education by teaching him the business skills he needs in order to create his own start-up. His dream is to create a more affordable tourist package for students who want to travel to Machu Picchu, complete with housing, food, and guides. He wants to help students overcome language barriers and prevent common travel problems like avoiding pickpockets. Because Saaved hopes to create a business that will foster unique travel experiences for tourists, he sees ENT 490R as a course that “helps you make your idea a reality.”

The benefits of ENT 490R for FHSS students go beyond the business skills. For Riehle, taking a business class as an FHSS student is about becoming well-rounded. It is also about understanding more about how the world works, since he feels “business plays a part in any career.” For Saaved, participating in business is meaningful, because it brings people together. He shares that ENT 490R has individuals from a variety of backgrounds. “When it comes to the business world,” says Saaved, “we are all speaking the same language, [enabling] us to overcome social barriers.”

Due to all the valuable skills and connections students are making, it is no surprise that FHSS students are finding that the course is enhancing their college experience. For students interested in business but who are hesitant, Riehle says that “no one cares if you aren’t a business student or wearing a suit or something… when it comes to your educational goals, you can do anything you want to do.” For more information, visit the Rollins Center.