Ideas with Impact
UNB Faculty of Management

From Community to Competitions: A Primer for Life

Author: Ideas with Impact

Posted on Feb 3, 2015

Category: Programs , Students

While she was growing up in Hamburg Germany, Laura-Sophia Neunzig always dreamed of going abroad and experiencing life in another part of the world. That dream brought her to Fredericton, New Brunswick last fall to study business at UNB’s faculty of business Exchange student Laura-Sophie Neunzig returned from Germany to compete in the UNB Qualifier for the BMO APEX Business Plan Competition.administration. As a student at the European Media and Business Academy (EMBA) in Hamburg, Laura-Sophia was the first student to come here as part of an exchange agreement the faculty signed with that institution last year.

Before coming to UNB, she admits that she didn’t know very much about Canada and didn’t know anything about Atlantic Canada and UNB. What impressed her most when she arrived at UNB was campus life, “My University at home doesn’t have a campus with residences. I really liked orientation here and how UNB builds a community around its students.”  

In addition to the orientation events at the start of the year, Laura-Sophia said she enjoyed all the events and groups on campus, and she really enjoyed staying in McLeod House where she got to meet students from across Canada and other parts of the world. “Students are more on their own at my university in Germany,” she said, “You just study and go to class and don’t hang out with your classmates.”

“At UNB I got to meet students from all over the world in my classes, too” said Laura-Sophie. “In my Global Marketing class there were a lot of different countries – Trinidad and Tobago, China, Germany. Our professor, Dr. Hsin-Chen Lin, had us concentrate on different cultures as we studied global marketing, so we had lots of examples from students’ perspectives to add to our discussions.”

One feature of the business program she liked best was a project she worked on with a group of students to write a business plan for a venture called “Out of the Box.” Modeled on a Dutch company, Out of the Box combines the concepts of vending machine, fresh healthy food, and fast food restaurants. At the back end is a fast food restaurant that prepares healthy food in 10-15 minutes, and at the front end of the business, where the transactions take place, is a vending machine. As they developed their business plan, the group tested the idea with some of Laura-Sophie’s contacts back home in Hamburg and believe they have identified a market for their business idea among the younger crowd in Hamburg who are looking for something fast and healthy to eat after a night out on the town.

At the end of last term, Laura-Sophie and her team entered their business plan into the BMO APEX Business Plan competition, which took place on January 21-23, 2015. When she learned that their team was selected to compete in the UNB Qualifier for the competition, she bought an airline ticket back to Fredericton so that she could participate. While their business plan didn’t make it to the finals, the trip was still worth it.

“APEX was a great experience for my group members and me!” she said. “It was the first time that we participated in a competition and we were more than happy that we made it through the UNB qualifier and were able to represent our university!
I had so much fun and learned a lot. I never thought that I would like the feeling of being nervous just before presenting our business plan. But I really enjoyed the tense atmosphere and how everyone was so focused.”

One of the biggest impacts Laura-Sophie’s time at UNB has had is building her self-confidence. Between her courses, the opportunities to talk to business people and pitch ideas, and the sense of community, she believes UNB has helped prepare her for the future: “UNB provided me with everything I need to be successful in my future career.”

Now that she is back in Hamburg, Laura-Sophie is finishing up her final term at EMBA by completing an internship and writing a thesis on Online Recruiting via Social Networks like LinkedIn. She’s also studying for the GMAT because her plan for next year is to return to UNB Fredericton to complete the MBA. Her application is in process and if all goes well, she’ll be back next year for more.

For more information contact Liz Lemon-Mitchell.