Business Students Sell Coffee, Candles for Cystic Fibrosis

Carlos Argueta

A group of students at Manchester have formed a new business, where the main focus is to gain a real-world picture of the workforce and to tackle cystic fibrosis. Senior students from the spring Case Studies class are tasked with the project of creating and running a business, where profits will go to a charity of their choice. This year the business will sell bundles of candles and coffee, with the profits being sent to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

This business is a continuation of a course requirement for all majors within the Gilbert College of Business. The idea behind the project is to give business students a more in-depth perspective of the business model used in the real world as they prepare to enter the workforce after graduation. Students in this class are in control of the course--the professor is less involved than in a typical college course and is mainly there to guide the students.

The business is called C&C For CF, short for Coffee and Candles for Cystic Fibrosis, and the elected president for the company is senior Keiton Hall. Selecting coffee and candles as their product was to target a significant parent demographic within the Manchester University community and beyond. “We choose to sell coffee, candles, and coffee mugs because we wanted to reach a bigger demographic outside Manchester,” Hall said. “We do not want just to reach students and faculty; we want to have a big online presence, so we can market to people that are all across the country.”

The idea of selling coffee and candles was also greatly supported by the students because Mother’s Day and graduations are just around the corner, which can increase sales substantially for the student-led company. “These types of holidays and events are perfect anyone looking for gift ideas, and coffee and candles are a great gift for such occasions,” Hall said.

When voting on the charity, there was overwhelming support among the class to make the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation the main destination for the profits. “We chose Cystic Fibrosis because we have many students in our class that have personal connections to kids who have cystic fibrosis, so it really hits home,” Hall explained.

Carson McKee is one of those kids. “We added Carson, through an organization called Team Impact to the men’s soccer team,” said Matthew Roop, vice president of operations for the class. “He has become a great source of inspiration for all of us!”

The business was divided among four different departments to have a more efficient system, where all 57 students are split depending on their major, their skills and their familiarity with the position they are assigned. Although students were encouraged to apply for jobs similar to their degrees, students were able to apply for any position they felt they would be best at or that they would love to do. “We felt that if students were in positions they want to be in, they would be more engage and productive,” Hall explained. The company’s four departments are Accounting, Marketing, Human Resources and Operations. Although every student has a different role, everyone still has the job to sell the product to as many people as possible.

So far, the experience has been great for students. Because this is a hands-on class, many students are more invested in the class compared to other the courses they are required to take. The students involved in this project also enjoy that everyone has an equal say in the company through a voting system through which the whole class votes on the big decisions.

The goal for C&C for CF is to reach $20,000 in profits, and a weekly goal of selling six bundles every week between now and May 8. The bundles are priced at $20, and anyone can order online through the website coming out soon or visit one of many booths across campus.