The University of Dayton’s (UD) $1.4 million student-run business, Flyer Enterprises (FE), takes experiential learning to an entirely new level.
With over 170 UD student-employees and eight profitable divisions, Flyer Enterprises strives to be a national leader of entrepreneurial education, and serves as a model for other colleges interested in extending business lessons outside of the classroom. Since it started its operations in 2000, FE has grown to be one of the largest and most established student-run businesses in the nation. Flyer Enterprises is also comparative to other student-run companies at Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Princeton and Georgetown University.
Twenty-one-year-old Joseph Guy, a senior double-majoring in international business and operations management, is this year’s CEO and works closely with FE’s seven corporate executives who serve as divisional presidents. Guy’s passion for FE is rooted in his belief that the business fosters student innovation and offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to its employees.
“As I have said countless times, I truly believe this company is comprised of the most talented students here at the University of Dayton,” Guy said. “After my experience working at BlackRock this summer, I believe the opportunities available to our employees differentiate us from students at other top colleges in the country and allow us to develop a unique skill set.”
As student-run businesses emerge across the U.S., Flyer Enterprises remains a growing campus-corporate entity in the face of a challenging economy. FE, a for-profit organization residing under UD’s School of Business Administration, encourages the exploration of new business opportunities to supplement its eight divisions, which are:
- The Blend: a coffee shop in UD’s Roesch Library and FE’s first venture
- The Blend Express: a coffee shop in the hall of UD’s School of Business Administration
- ArtStreet Café: a Panini café located in the heart of UD’s student-neighborhood
- Flyer Spirit: a UD-themed retail store located near campus (flyerspirit.com)
- Stuart’s Landing: a convenient store located in one of UD’s four freshmen dormitories
- The Galley: an on-campus ice cream shop and snack bar
- The CHILL: a smoothie shop and snack bar serving healthy items to members of UD’s RecPlex
- FE Catering: a food delivery service for on- and off-campus members and FE’s newest division
While FE reports quarterly to a board of directors, undergraduate students make every-day business decisions at all levels of the company. FE employs students with diverse interests and talents, ensuring that the business operates efficiently from all angles. Whether its auditing, marketing, designing, selling or researching possibilities for expansion, the students of FE are constantly using their creativity and knowledge to increase the company’s value.
Flyer Enterprises’ 2009-2010 CEO, Jessi Neff, a staff accountant at Ernst & Young, believes the entrepreneurial foundation of FE strengthens its employees’ credentials.
“Flyer Enterprises provides this hands-on business knowledge to students who are completely comfortable going out in the real world,” Neff said. “They are able to talk through tough situations they faced, as well as describe a time when they came up with a creative solution to a business problem. They are already coming into the interview process completely hands above everyone else.”
The benefits of Flyer Enterprises are clear. Joseph Castellano, an accounting professor at the University of Dayton, notes how the University is committed to its entrepreneurship program, which was ranked sixth in The 2011 Princeton Review among the best undergraduate entrepreneurship programs in the country.