Business, Engineering Collaboration Gives Birth to Bronco Globe


Business, Engineering Collaboration Gives Birth to Bronco Globe
Alex Duarte, a senior MHR major, puts together a snow globe.
Aerospace engineering student Janessa Godwin-Austen holds up the Bronco Snow Globe.
Students assemble the snow globes.

The engineers came equipped with a liquid that could forever suspend small objects. The business majors brought their marketing and financial expertise to the table. Together, they created a one-of-kind product that embodies Cal Poly Pomona.

The limited edition Bronco Globe features a horse surrounded by sparkling green and gold glitter. Like any snow globe, you can shake and mix up the glitter. But unlike conventional snow globes, the glitter won't settle at the bottom — it stays suspended.

“This is something unique that we're bringing to the table,” says Jonathan Magturo, a fourth-year student in the College of Business Administration. “Cal Poly Pomona doesn't really have its own snow globe, and college students are really amused by snow globes.”

The Bronco Globe is the result of the product development and commercialization lab, a new, one-of-a-kind course taught by Management & Human Resources (MHR) Professor Olukemi Sawyerr and Chemical Engineering Professor Winny Dong. During spring quarter, 20 business and engineering students worked together to shepherd the snow globe from conception to development to retail.

Students are asking for donations to support future classes that promote multidisciplinary and joint-entrepreneur projects between the College of Business Administration and the College of Engineering. The snow globe is available as a thank-you gift with a $20 minimum donation to the class. For more information, visit http://polypresents.com/.

“Having engineering and business students in the same class is an experiment. We've never done this before,” Sawyerr says. “The engineers help with the business plan, and the business students help with project development.”

The project started about three months ago when Dong introduced the liquid, which is related to her research projects. The liquid contains an anti-settling agent that prevents objects immersed in it from sinking. Students brainstormed products they could create, market and sell in 10 weeks. The Chemical Engineering Department provided $2,000 to jump start the business.

While snow globes seemed like an obvious avenue for the liquid, the process wasn't easy. Students constructed a number of prototypes using different horse figurines, snow globe containers and decorations. The engineers improved the anti-settling liquid so that it wouldn't turn cloudy, and the business students came up with a business plan and marketing strategy, which included a brochure, logo and website. In addition, they had to find reliable vendors to supply the materials, consider the per-unit price and weigh in the cost of shipping.

Elson Mills, a MHR senior, says the experience allowed him to work with people from different backgrounds and mind-sets. “The business majors are thinking about whether it will sell and minimizing cost. The engineers are thinking about how we're going to make it and how it's going to work. We had to learn to work together,” he says.

Based on positive student feedback, Dong says she plans to offer this course next year and develop a new product. For more information, contact Dong at winnydong@cpp.edu or Sawyerr at oosawyerr@cpp.edu.