frostbox manchester business class
The class ‘Case Studies for Business’ raised money by selling Frost Boxes.
Photo provided by Alexis Quick

‘Case Studies for Business’ Class Sells ‘Frost Boxes’

Tristen Bronaugh

Manchester University’s Case Studies for Business class is selling “Frost Boxes” around campus to raise money for a local charity.

Each spring Professor Timothy Ogden teaches the class, where students learn how to use the case method of teaching and learning developed by Harvard Business School. They then apply what they learned by starting a business. All the earnings made from the business are donated to a non-profit chosen by the class.

“This is the capstone course in the Gilbert College of Business and is required of all majors in the College,” Ogden said. The class has been a part of Manchester University for decades; however, the business project was created in 2001.

The 2023 class has 52 seniors. When deciding roles for the business, all of the students nominate people for positions, then Ogden makes the final decision.

The students that were nominated and selected to be executives for the class were Alexis Quick as the CEO, Jake Armstrong as the Vice President of Marketing, Rachael Ressler as Vice President of Sales, Elizabeth Schmidt as Vice President of Finance, and Marissa Carr as Vice President of Operations.

Each VP is in charge of a team to guarantee the business is running smoothly and the product is marketed and sold efficiently.

This year’s product, the Frost Box, is an insulated cooler backpack that can fit up to 30 cans. There are two colorways of the backpack: the Manchester version, gray and yellow with the Manchester crest; and the Frost Box colorway, a chilly blue bag with the Frost Box logo, created by Jake Armstrong.

How did the class decide on the Frost Box? “We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just executives that were involved in making the decisions on the product,” Quick said. “As a class, we had multiple brainstorming sessions, where we thought of what college students want to see but also what do people who aren’t college students want to see, so we can sell off campus.”

The process was involved. “We were first thinking of Stanley cups, bucket hats or koozies, then one day someone came up with a backpack cooler,” Carr said. “We went on to do marketing research and our results from our survey showed that a majority of the people preferred the backpack cooler idea.”

The non-profit the class decided to raise money for was Blessings in a Backpack of Wabash County, an organization located about 25 minutes south of the university. They provide backpacks full of food for the weekends to children facing food insecurity.

What made the class choose Blessings in a Backpack as Frost Box Charity? “One of our classmates, Brant Modlen, had connections there from previously volunteering,” Quick said. “He pitched the idea to the class and we all voted for it.

“A big thing for us was keeping our funds local,” she continued. “Some of the recent case studies classes have chosen national organizations, but with Blessings in a Backpack of Wabash County, we are helping kids in our backyard.”

The Frost Box went live for presale on March 17, with the product coming in on May 1.

On the first day of presale, the company sold over 30 frost boxes, a solid number.

“Things have gone really well,” Quick said. “We are currently ahead of schedule, which is super exciting; we hope to sell all of our bags by the end of the month.”

It’s truly been a team project. “Outside of our executive cabinet, we have had students that have shone bright,” Quick said. “Some that come to mind are Payton Frye and Nico Torres. Even though they aren’t in management positions in our business, they have still done great things for the company.”

As of April 14, Frost Box sold 401 bags out of 650. “We just started tabling at the beginning of this week, and we are already more profitable than classes have been in the last three years,” Quick said.

On April 19, the class sold the remainder of their inventory, reaching their goal 11 days early. Frye ended as the leader in sales with 40 Frost Boxes sold.

With the Frost Box being sold out, the class is not finished. The business is pursuing sponsorships with local companies as well as selling Frost Box t-shirts for $15 to continue raising money for Blessings in a Backpack.

If interested in donating to Blessings in Backpack, the Case Studies in Business class will continue to raise money on campus and at sporting events until May 12.