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Renowned entrepreneur and South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce chairman, Stephen Gilchrist, stopped by the School of Business on Wednesday, Nov. 15 as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Gilchrist, a Greenwood, South Carolina native, spoke with students about his journey to success as the founder and CEO of GSL Distributors and shared some advice with the aspiring young entrepreneurs. Here are his top tips:

  1. Find something you love and stick to it. Do something that excites you – something that makes it easy to wake up on a Monday morning.
  2. Always begin with the end in mind. It’s best to have a good idea of what your finished product will look like before you dive into a challenge.
  3. Forget about networking – make friends with everyone you meet. Friends will take you places networking can’t.
  4. Avoid setting “safe” goals. Challenge and push yourself beyond your wildest expectations.
  5. Pay attention in class. Last but not least – listen to your professors! The practical insight and experience your professors have to offer will save your life in the real world. Though sometimes, what you’re learning may only seem applicable in the classroom, that is often never the case.

Want to hear more from Gilchrist’s talk? Check out the video below!





Williams scholars in class

Williams speaking to the Stuart M. Williams Impact Scholars

According to Stuart Williams, impact entrepreneur-in-residence at the College of Charleston School of Business, he doesn’t have an “off” switch.

“My brain never shuts down because I’m always thinking about the many things that need to be fixed in the world,” says Williams, founder of impact ecosystems architecture firm, In Place Impact.

But it’s not just the problems of the planet that keep his mind abuzz; it’s their potential solutions as well.

Williams has dedicated a large portion of his professional life to impact entrepreneurship — or, making a difference through profit-based initiatives — and has created a program at the School of Business to inspire the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.

The Stuart M. Williams Impact Scholars program, which officially launched this fall, is designed to provide seven exceptional undergraduate students with the guidance, resources and network to tackle some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century.

“There are so many young people who are truly passionate about affecting change in the best way possible,” says Williams. “I want to give as many students as I can the opportunity to make those dreams a reality.”

Participants in the program have the chance to sharpen their skills through professional development, roundtable dinners, internships and tours of local impact businesses. The Scholars also meet weekly with Williams as well as other mentors and advisors, including Professor David Wyman, Professor Lancie Affonso and MBA candidate Kelly Muxworthy to discuss their respective impact projects.

The 2017 Stuart M. Williams Impact Scholars are Latosha Andrade, Mya Belden, Carlie Christenson, Kionnie Epps, Catherine Hill, Sofia Troya and Brandon Williams.

The impressive inaugural cohort, which was selected after a rigorous application and Williams Impact Scholarsinterview process, is comprised of freshmen and juniors from a diverse range of disciplines, including business, public health, political science and criminal justice.

Some of the young innovators have already launched exceedingly successful businesses, says Williams. All of them have incredible personal stories and achievements: one student carried more than 50 credits into college from high school; one came all the way from Ecuador to learn how to solve the problems in her country; and, one spent more than five years serving in the military.

Students in the program are looking to take on various social and economic issues such as eradicating poverty, improving supply chain sustainability in the coffee industry and ensuring quality primary school education for children.

“It’s all about impacting in a way that is fulfilling for you,” Williams told students at one of their first meetings.

What seems to fulfill Williams is ensuring that the School of Business is properly positioned to become one of the nation’s leading academic institutions offering impact studies.

Williams is a noticeable presence at the school, not only through his new scholars program but also through the ICAT program and the Center for Entrepreneurship. He has also successfully helped the School integrate impact studies into many of its classes.

The business school was honored to have Williams join its board of governors this year. “We owe a great deal to Stuart here at the School of Business and are thrilled he has joined our Board,” says Alan T. Shao, dean of the School of Business. “His passion for impact studies paired with his commitment to further the strategic goals of this institution have paved the way for our students to become the socially and environmentally responsible business leaders of tomorrow.”

With no “off” switch in sight for Williams and the students he continues to inspire, it’s safe to say the biggest impact is yet to come.

On any given day, the School of Business is bustling with students, faculty and staff who work hard to sustain its mission — to educate socially responsible graduates through practical undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.

But as the halls of the Beatty Center quiet down for the Thanksgiving holiday, the School would like to take the time to reflect and give thanks for a few things that make mean a lot to us.

1. Our esteemed faculty

Our faculty work each day to provide students with the tools and skills needed to become socially responsible business professionals. When they’re not molding young minds in Charleston, many of our faculty can be found abroad doing research and teaching. In fact, the College of Charleston School of Business ranks No. 1 in the world among universities for having the most Certified Global Business Professionals (CGBP). By providing experiential learning opportunities for students and through their cutting-edge research in the business field, it is safe to say that our professors are as good as it gets.

2. Our Student Success Center

With the goal of helping our students successfully transition from the classroom to the boardroom, the Student Success Center (SSC) at the School of Business helps to ensure that students are on track to succeed academically and professionally. From scholarships to internships and study abroad opportunities, the SSC is a vital resource to any business student. By offering student services such as advising, suit valet and career and professional development, it’s no secret that the academic and professional careers of business students matters to the SSC.

3. Our donors

Those who give to the School of Business both of their time and donations are a huge part of what makes this School so great. The support of these individuals enables our faculty and staff the opportunity to prepare our students for the real world. Due to their generosity, the business school has been able to launch new programs, support study abroad and establish several new scholarships. What makes us even more proud is that many of our donors are current and former Cougars. To join the ranks of our big-hearted benefactors, please visit our giving page.

4. Our one-year MBA program

The School of Business is home to a world-class, one-year MBA program prepares the next wave of global business leaders. Inside the classroom, students are developing the skills to innovative, communicate and lead — and will continue to build on those skills to create solutions that meet the needs of the business community. Outside of the classroom, the MBA cohort is gaining insights from industry leaders through the executive mentorship program. Job placements for graduates three months after graduation has consistently been 95 percent and higher. A dynamic and rigorous program, the one-year MBA at the School of Business is a game changer, and we are thankful for it.

5. Our ready-to-work students

Finally, we would be remiss not to mention our students on this list. With more than 2,000 undergraduate students and 63 graduate students, the School of Business is one of the largest schools at the College, representing nearly a quarter of its population. The top states our students hail from include New Jersey, New York and North Carolina. Outside of the U.S., full-time students come from Canada, Bermuda and the United Kingdom. Our business students are continually sharpening their tools to become successful professionals. Many are making strides in their academic and professional careers through outstanding academic performances, leadership positions and entrepreneurial endeavors. Keep up the amazing work!

The numbers are in, and the Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTMT) program in the College of Charleston School of Business has further established itself as a national and global leader in its field.

Recently, ShanghaiRanking named the College a top institution (51st in the world) for HTMT in the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The program is also ranked in the nation’s top 25, situating the school in the company of Penn State, Purdue, and Virginia Tech.

Hailed as a program that takes a practical approach to real industry dilemmas, the School’s HTMT faculty provide students with the opportunity to explore the many facets of hospitality in Charleston — Travel + Leisure’s No. 1 City in the United States and Canada.

Notably, the program earned a high Citation Impact score, reigning in at 18th place globally, and 4th place nationally. The score, calculated based on the quantity and quality of the program’s research output, takes into account how often the research is utilized and cited by others in academia and beyond.

Additionally, the program made the Top Journals list, tying for 50th place in the world, and 15th place in the U.S. The Top Journals ranking signifies the volume and quality of journalistic papers produced in the program.

HTMT faculty publish research in a variety of industry publications such as the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management and the Journal of Vacation Marketing.

Out of the U.S. schools that have hospitality and tourism departments, the College ranks No. 4 behind Cornell University, Virginia Tech and Washington State University.

To view the full list of the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities, click here.

With six academic departments and more than 25 major combinations, the School of Business is a force to be reckoned with, according to Princeton Review’s 2018 “Great Schools List.”

Every year, The Princeton Review curates a list of the most outstanding schools for 20 of the highest-enrolled undergraduate majors. Princeton researchers analyze several variables including academic rigor, demographics and life on campus to identify the best institutions offering these majors.

This year for their “Great Schools for 20 of the Most Popular Undergraduate Majors” list, the School of Business at the College of Charleston made the cut for accounting and business.

In addition to these majors, the College of Charleston School of Business offers seven other undergraduate majors, an honors program, 10 interdisciplinary minors, six areas of concentration, a Master of Science in Accountancy and a one-year MBA program.

The School boasts academic programs that prepare socially responsible, ready-to-work professionals and world-class faculty dedicated to teaching excellence — and the College at large shares this commitment.

According to The Princeton Review, the College is “the perfect mix of urban and small town,” and “is a place where everyone’s unique [talent] or interest can shine through and be fostered for growth.”

The Review ranks the College No. 18 in the nation on the list of schools in the “Best Career Services” category; No. 14 in “The Best College Cities” category and No. 17 for “Most Politically Active Students.”

The College was also listed as a top-notch school to attend for our biology and communication programs as well.

The list rankings prove that the oldest municipal college in America, and the Palmetto State as a whole, remains a relevant and competitive powerhouse in higher education.

On Friday, Nov. 17, the School of Business Carter Real Estate Center will recognize its first Real Estate Entrepreneur of the Year: founder, chairman and CEO of Greystar, Bob Faith.

Under Faith’s leadership, Greystar has nearly tripled in size. What started as a small operation with a few people on board, has grown into a major global real estate company.

Among the company’s many accolades are its statuses as the largest apartment manager in the nation and largest multifamily manager in the world.

Before launching Greystar, Faith co-founded Starwood Capital Group and founded Homegate Hospitality. He also served as the South Carolina Secretary of Commerce from 2002 to 2006.

Faith received his bachelor of science in petroleum engineering from the University of Oklahoma and his masters in business administration from Harvard Business School.

The Greystar CEO will be joined by other local innovators at the event, including owner and president of Baker Motor Company, Tommy Baker. Baker will kick off the evening with a keynote speech addressing how entrepreneurship can effect positive change within the real estate community in Charleston and around the world.

Baker Motor Company, which was started more than 25 years ago, is Charleston’s largest automotive dealership with more than 20 locations on the peninsula.

The event begins at 4 p.m. and will be held in the Wells Fargo Auditorium of the Beatty Center at the School of Business. Click here to RSVP.


Alumni of the College of Charleston School of Business Interdisciplinary Center for Applied Technology (ICAT) will attend the largest technology conference in the world this November. With more than 60,000 professionals in attendance, Web Summit 2017 connects leaders in technology with up-and-comers in the industry, including the members of the Jyve team.

Music booking tool and app Jyve was created by a team of students enrolled in the ICAT program in 2015. Jyve chief executive officer and founder, Brandon Brooks ‘15, majored in music as well as business administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship. The Jyve app takes a revolutionary approach to the musical experience, seamlessly connecting artists, venues and fans. William Bragunier ‘16 and  Michael Buhler ‘19, serve as the chief marketing officer and chief financial officer, respectively. You can find their app in the app store on your iPhone or Android device.

“I’d say the most valuable advice I learned from ICAT program is how important it is to question everything. Also, the Jyve team learned how to conduct extensive market research, which has truly played a role in our success as a small tech startup”, Brooks tells us of his time as an ICAT student here at The College.

Web Summit started in 2010 as a way to connect the technology community with rest of the world. Now, it features over 1,000 speakers from more than 160 different countries, representing the intersection between the tech and business world. It’s also where big names such as Uber, the popular ride-sharing service, got its start back in 2011. Speakers include Sean Rad, creator of every twenty-something’s favorite app, Tinder; Caitlyn Jenner, olympian turned reality television star; and David Karp, founder of microblogging site, tumblr.

The Jyve creators will enjoy four days of star-studded experiences, exploring new and creative ways to make their mark on the tech world.

Brooks says he’s “looking forward to catching up with Jared Grusd, CEO of Huffington Post, who was one of the judges for the pitch competition” they competed in. He’s also excited to hear from Stewart Butterfield, founder and CEO of Slack, and one of his idols Ryan Leslie, artist, and founder and CEO of SuperPhone.

ICAT is housed in the School of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurship, and is a collaboration  with the Office of Economic Development. The program teaches students the benefits of incorporating technology into their entrepreneurial and startup endeavors, utilizing Scrum framework. Scrum is the world’s leading development methodology, and is used by some of the most successful businesses.


As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, Cougars and faculty at the School of Business have one thing on their minds other than turkey – Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEW) initiative, while just nine years old, has truly made its mark on the business world. Its founders work with partners from more than 170 different countries, collaborating to create events that connect novice, veteran and aspiring entrepreneurs with one another.

The College of Charleston will join the initiative with a week packed full of lectures and networking events for students, faculty and the community. Featured guests include: former CEO of People Matter, Nate DaPore; impact entrepreneurship expert, Stuart Williams; and chairman of the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Gilchrist  among several other distinguished innovators.

For a full list of speakers and events, check out the lineup below.

The Story of Jyve: From Entrepreneurship Classroom to Tech Startup

Monday, Nov. 13, 2-3 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Auditorium

Join Brandon Brooks ’15, Will Bragunier ’16, Shannon Caulk ’17 and Michael Buhler ’18 as they talk about their journey as young entrepreneurs, highlighting how they came up with a platform that helps musicians gain visibility and venues discover new talent. RSVP here.

Regional Economic Development in Charleston

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Tate 207

Cougars are invited to join Frank Hefner, Ph.D, Peter Calcagno Ph.D, and Steven Dykes on Tuesday for a panel discussion focusing on regional economic development on the peninsula and the greater Charleston area. The event is cosponsored by the Center for Public Choice and Market Process. A light reception will follow. RSVP here.

Skin in the Game: A Discussion on Race and Entrepreneurship in America

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2-3:15 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Auditorium

This year’s George G. Spaulding Series Distinguished Speaker is Stephen Gilchrist, chairman of the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce. Gilchrist will facilitate a discussion on race and entrepreneurship in America, highlighting the obstacles facing many minority small business owners. The Spaulding Distinguished Executive Speaker Series was established in 1995 by the late George G. Spaulding, former General Motors executive, Post & Courier columnist and the first Executive-in-Residence at the School of Business. RSVP here. Please note, an RSVP is required for this event.

Business of Water Special Guest Luncheon

Friday, Nov. 17, 12-1:30 p.m, in Tate 202

South Carolina Ports Authority permit manager, Mark Messersmith; impact investing expert and School of Business Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Stuart Williams; and chief of the Vessel Security Division at the United States Coast Guard, Marine Safety Center, LT. J.B. Zorn will come together for a lively discussion on water and its impact on local, national and international communities from an economic and social perspective. Invitation only.

On Wednesday, November 15, the College of Charleston School of Business will host chairman of the South Carolina African-American Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Gilchrist, for a discussion on race and entrepreneurship in America.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 2 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Auditorium of the Beatty Center (5 Liberty Street) as part of the School’s George G. Spaulding Distinguished Executive Speaker Series — an extension of this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week. Those interested in attending can get their tickets here.

During his hour-long talk, Gilchrist will highlight his personal journey as a minority entrepreneur and small-business advocate. He’ll also discuss the landscape of entrepreneurship in America today, including the obstacles facing minority business owners.

Gilchrist came to this appointment as chairman after a long history of work in public policy, economic reform, and educational choice. His background with regard to small business development, commerce, and economic development has been an enduring asset to the Chamber’s work in affecting greater opportunities and access for minority owned and operated businesses.

In addition to serving as chairman, Gilchrist is also a small business owner. He is the President and CEO of GSL Distributors, a logistics and distribution company in South Carolina.

The George G. Spaulding Distinguished Executive Speaker Series was established in 1995 by the late George Spaulding, former General Motors executive, Post & Courier columnist, and first Executive-in-Residence for the School of Business. As part of the speaker series, Spaulding brought top corporate CEOs and executives to share their professional success stories and case histories with business students. The George Spaulding Distinguished Executive Speaker Series roster has included executives from NBC, General Motors, Proctor & Gamble, S.C. elected officials, military leaders, Avon, Vera Bradley, Trader Joes, and others [view full list of past speakers]. The series continues in Spaulding’s honor.


The College of Charleston School of Business Center for Public Choice and Market Process is partnering with the College’s Russian Club for a joint discussion on communism led by the executive director of The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VCMF), Marion Smith.

Executive director of VCMF, Marion Smith

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation focuses its efforts on eradicating and combatting communism through educating the public about the history of its ideology.

Smith, a South Carolina native and chairman of The National Civic Art Society, is also president of the Common Sense Society (CSS). With a multinational presence in the United States and several European countries, the non-partisan organization strives to promote reasoned dialogue, rather than polarizing, politically charged debates.

You can find several of Smith’s articles in USA Today, The Hill, The Washington Post, The National Review, The Weekly Standard and many other publications.

Smith attributes more than political polarization to the skewed ideology of communism. One in five people are still living under communist regimes, and over the past 100 years, the social system has claimed more than one hundred million victims – one fifth of the world’s population.

During the lecture, Smith will focus on the threat communism poses to the very premise of democracy in the Western world and beyond. He believes the ideology is an attack on humanity, proven time after time to be counterproductive in all spheres of social, economic and cultural life.

To join in on the discussion, head over to Tate Center, Room 202, on October 19 at 5:30 p.m., in the School of Business.

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