The Freshman Experience: Biz 1+2

The Freshman Experience: Biz 1+2 sets the undergraduate business program at Saunders apart from others. All students participate as freshmen together as a cohort for two semesters, while at most other business schools students do not start taking business classes until their second or third year.

As an incoming freshman at Saunders College of Business, you embark on your business education day one, laying the foundation early for successful careers. As a Saunders student, you get an early hands-on education through a variety of applied-learning opportunities and experiences, both inside the classroom and out.

You begin Freshman Experience: Biz 1+2 on the first day of classes, an approach unique to Saunders, designed to get incoming students’ education off to a fast start. You are exposed to central elements of entrepreneurship and are provided an introduction to all the functional areas of a business. This lays a solid business foundation on which to build upon and refer to throughout your business degree program. Many students find it useful to help them decide on a business major or in some cases choose a double major or even change their major.

Whether you enter Saunders with a specific major in mind or pursue Business Exploration, Biz 1+2 is a unique approach to get off to a fast start from day one.

Biz 1+2 Professors

Spanning their first-year, fall and spring semesters, Biz 1+2 professors play a pivotal role by guiding them through Saunders' distinctive curriculum. The experience introduces students to all business disciplines, where they lay a solid foundation for their business education while exploring and confirming their choice of major. 

Molly McGowan
Senior Lecturer
Department of Management
Saunders College of Business
Rick Lagiewski
Principal Lecturer
Department of Management
Saunders College of Business

From concept to commercialization

The spring semester culminates with final business plan presentations to seasoned business leaders

From day one, Saunders College first-year students jump head-first into their business education. The Freshman Experience: Biz 1+2 class, introduces fundamental business concepts to all students. Business plan ideation and conceptualization in the first semester educates on central elements of entrepreneurship, and exposes students to the vast resources available on campus. At the close of the spring semester, you walk away with a breadth of business understanding and experience pitching new business commercialization plans to a panel of alumni and judges.

After your first semester in Biz 1, student teams continue to work together in Biz 2, in the second semester. Utilizing your entrepreneurial skills, you generate business ideas and develop a commercialization plan and present it to a panel of judges to receive practical, real-world advice; knowledge that only comes from experienced entrepreneurs. The judging panel consists of Saunders alumni who relish returning to campus to share their knowledge with the next generation of Saunders students.

Recent Saunders alumni and Biz 1+2 judges have varied educational and work histories, but have a focus on entrepreneurship and business growth:

  • Steve Cutrona, MBA '92: Senior VP Sales at Salient Management Company
  • Patrick Benz, Business Hospitality '84: Principal, RFP Advisors
  • Michael Crowley: Consultant and Entrepreneur
  • Marco DiPasquale, Finance '83: Client Director at Optiv, a cyber-security start-up
  • Chris Chamot, '09 : VP and General Manager, AJK Enterprises Inc.
  • Rob Giacchetti, Finance '92: Managing Partner at The Avanti Group
  • Gary Schwingel, Finance '91: CFO of Genesee Regional Bank
  • Alan Cohen, MBA '78: Independent consultant at Fair Winds Group
  • Kate Jacus, EMBA '09: Director of Marketing & Communications, Harley School
  • Terry Doherty, '70: Co-Founder of Robert George Sales

Entrepreneurial Resources

Beyond The Freshman Experience: Biz 1+2, students interested in entrepreneurship have countless opportunities at RIT with a strong enterprising culture that exists inside and out of the classroom. Depending on the desired level of engagement, you can nurture an idea from ideation to commercialization, or provide your expertise as a consultant to teams beginning to prototype their product.

The Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship can be an invaluable resource to any student interested in entrepreneurship. Some of the most popular events the Simone Center hosts are competitions for cash prizes. RIT's Tiger Tank competition and RIT Business Model competition provide a platform to pitch business concepts and be judged by a panel of successful external entrepreneurs.

As entrepreneurial students begin to create fully-formed business plans and desire to continue moving forward, the Student Accelerator Program provides a one semester intensive program where students are paid to focus on commercializing their business plans and seeking investment funding. Successful student teams are then able to apply for Venture Creations, an incubator that provides many services and coaching to early and mid-seed stage start-ups seeking to advance beyond a concept and become a viable, profitable business.

View additional affiliated centers help students advance their business ideas. These include Center for Urban Entrepreneurship (CUE), and The Construct – All Access Makerspace equipped with machines and tools for milling, cutting, circuit board fabrication, 3D printing, rapid prototyping, etc.

Hear from Students

Learn what the Biz 1 + 2 students have been up to at RIT in this interview with the Time Trimmers! These Saunders students developed a product idea and worked together to prepare a presentation of the research they collected. Additionally, get key insights into these students personal experiences of the Biz 1 + 2 class and how it has helped them in their business journeys at RIT.

The Freshman Experience Biz 1 + 2
Announcing Saunders Biz 1+2 Winners!

Announcing Saunders Biz 1+2 Winners!
(With winners from past years.)