Student-run businesses. Real life learning.

Stephanie Wood
March 27, 2024
Pace students working in the Pace Perk Cafe

At the Center for Student Enterprise (CSE) within the Lubin School of Business, Pace students are busy at work. They’re not just doing homework; they’re employed at and managing five different student-run businesses on the Pleasantville Campus.

More than 65 students work at the businesses. Xavier Flores ‘25, Business Management BBA and Marketing Management MBA, is one of those who has loved his experiences with the companies.

Get a peek inside a Pace Delivers with Xavier Flores.

“I first got involved with CSE in the fall of my first year,” he said. “I applied right after orientation and was hired at Pace Delivers as a driver. By the end of my first year, I was promoted to General Manager.” Pace Delivers, founded in 2017, provides food delivery to students from local restaurants.

Xavier continued, “Going into the Spring 2024 semester I will be the General Manager of Pace Perk. When I first started, I had so many questions about how the business operated, and over the past three years, I have been able to answer all the questions I had.”

Working as the General Manager of Pace Delivers gave Xavier an opportunity to learn skills he might not have otherwise picked up from his classes. He says that attending board meetings improved his public speaking skills, helping the marketing manager gave him experience with Canva, Excel, and Instagram, and collaborating with the CFO gave him experience with QuickBooks. “I have learned and gained as much as I could through my time spent at CSE, but I will use all of these skills. I think it will give me a leg up going into my career because being part of and managing a student-run business is something that very few college students get the opportunity to do,” he said.

Social media marketing is key to advertising on-campus businesses and helping students develop skills that will serve them moving forward.

“My experience working for Pace Mart has been truly a blessing,” says Pace Mart Senior Marketing Manager and Lubin BBA student Joseph Ingles ’25. “My hard skills and soft skills have enhanced greatly. Running a business like Pace Mart, sometimes things come up out of nowhere and you just have to adapt to the situation at hand. That experience has made me stronger and prepared for what is to come.”

Maggie Glynn is another student who can testify to how working at a student-run business has impacted her experience at Pace. Maggie ‘26, Public Accounting BBA and MBA, is the Chief Financial Officer of Pace Fit, the healthy snack bar located in Goldstein Fitness Center. “I have gained so much real-world experience from the CSE,” Maggie says. “I was drawn to Pace for the internship opportunities, but little did I know I would gain a deeper understanding of the workforce and what I want my role to be from working on campus. Working at Pace Fit allowed me to get real-world accounting experience as a sophomore. I learned what I love about the profession and where I can see myself continuing after graduating.”

She adds that she has gained invaluable technical and soft skills between managing a team, problem solving, and handling finances, “I learned how to prepare, analyze, and present financial statements for board meetings. I learned the value of communication, compromise, and leadership.” Maggie insists, “This continues to be a skill that sets me apart from other candidates when interviewing for accounting internships.”

All of the student managers tell me that when they go for interviews for internships or full-time jobs that all the interviewer wants to ask them about is their position at the student-run business.

Kathryn Winsted, PhD, is the director of the Center for Student Enterprise. She has a deep understanding of how experiential learning enhances what students do in the classroom and helps them discover what really matters in the world of business. Winsted has acted as the advisor to all five of the student-run businesses since they first opened in 2010, and has helped students succeed through different challenges, including COVID-19. Throughout the years, she has seen students thrive in their roles and launch into careers they feel passionate about.

“All of the student managers tell me that when they go for interviews for internships or full-time jobs that all the interviewer wants to ask them about is their position at the student-run business,” Winsted said. “My favorite story is when the student who was one of the original founders of Pace Mart went for an interview at J.P. Morgan, she was able to answer the situational questions with real experiences she had at the business she was running. She was hired on the spot.”

Beyond seeing students find success in their careers, Winsted knows that the students “learn so much more in their courses when they use it in running the businesses and bring that practical experience to their learning.” She hopes that they learn beyond classroom concepts as well, saying that there are many opportunities to practice handling conflict and problem solving, aiding them in becoming adaptable and finding self-motivation.

Both Xavier and Maggie said that they would recommend interested students to get involved. “If any Lubin students are hesitant about joining a student-run business, do it!” Maggie shared.

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