News - Five Loaves, Two Fish and a Startup: Briner School of Business Marks Its First Six Months

Five Loaves, Two Fish and a Startup: Briner School of Business Marks Its First Six Months

By Carla Morris Five Loaves, Two Fish and a Startup: Briner School of Business Marks Its First Six Months

The biggest challenge Suzanne Davis will face this week is lack of resources – the same challenge she faced last week and the week before. It turns out that growing a business school on a shoestring is like trying to feed a crowd of 5,000 on five loaves and two fish.

Still, a surprising twist brought about gratifying outcomes in the fish story, and surprises are at work with Greenville College's newest venture too. The founding dean of the Briner School of Business (BSB), delights in sharing how students have benefited from surprise since the school’s start just six months ago.

“Everything we do has to be sponsored because we don’t have funds,” she explains. Yet, sponsorships – some from unexpected sources – have materialized.

“It’s been a faith journey for sure,” she adds. The bottom line is that God is faithful. The school’s namesake, Bob Briner, acclaimed author of Roaring Lambs and Leadership Lessons of Jesus, would likely agree.

Davis’s enthusiasm for trying the untried is enough to make others want to take on something big and audacious too. Here’s a place to start:

Find people who share your vision – For the BSB, this meant finding people who shared Briner’s vision for confidently carrying Christian faith into the marketplace. Today, the School’s network of co-visionaries tops 40 – not all alumni of the College either. Benefactors who paid for more than a dozen students to attend a $100-a-plate gala at a recent Roaring Lambs conference in Dallas knew little about GC, but were no strangers to the ideals Briner espoused. They want to see a new generation of roaring lambs. Enter, BSB students.

Discover real need – “We asked what business leaders wanted to see happen in higher education and then listened,” Davis explains. They want graduates who are hard workers and well versed in business acumen. They want graduates who exhibit good character and possess “real life” business skills and experiences. Their wish list became the BSB’s to do list.

Choose a fitting response – Understanding that the market values experience, Davis and team devised opportunities for students to practice valuable skills. For example, students managed every detail of the School’s official launch and ribbon cutting celebration. From distributing parking passes and compiling welcome packets GC Roaring Lambs Dallasto escorting dignitaries and ensuring security, students did it all.

They are doing it all again with the Great Jobs project. These short videos, entirely student-produced, showcase successful professionals talking about their journeys from college to career. Significant enterprises with real consequences put students on a fast track for acquiring valued skills. “They rise to the occasion,” says Davis (back row, third from right), pictured with GC students at the Roaring Lambs gala in Dallas.

Welcome “organic” developments – Sometimes goodness just unfolds. Davis recalls spotting a special guest at the School’s launch event, seated at a table surrounded by students. With laptops open, the students took turns sharing their resumes. Fully engaged, the guest – an executive recruiter – reviewed each resume and recommended improvements. None of this was planned.

“Plant a seed, whatever seed the Lord has laid out in front of you,” says Davis, “you just don’t know what the harvest will bring.”

Give thanks – Senior Malvin Hubbard does. A student interviewer with the Great Jobs project and key organizer for the BSB launch celebration, Hubbard has entertained job offers six months before graduation.

“It’s not just me,” he says, proceeding to name several classmates who have also received job offers. “Everybody’s who’s working hard is getting rewarded.”

Dean Suzanne Davis finds the thought gratifying as she begins yet another week contemplating the reach of five loaves and two fish. More than gratifying, it’s downright inspirational. 

Learn more:

Bob Briner

Introducing the Briner School of Business

Greenville College Launches the Briner School of Business

Greenville College empowers students for lives of character and service. Click here to give.

This story was published on December 31, 2015