Graduate business online-video competition offers business students chance for an MBA

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With volunteerism and social enterprise on the rise throughout Middle Tennessee, Nashville is the ideal city for social-minded entrepreneurs to enhance their business education with an MBA.

The Lipscomb University graduate business program is offering an opportunity for one of those motivated business leaders to receive a full-tuition scholarship, worth up to $41,400, through its Degrees of Difference Full Scholarship Video Competition. This is the second year for the competition, and it is the only business school scholarship in the country awarded based on popular vote.

Contestants will produce a two-minute video that illustrates a compelling personal story about how they are one academic degree away from making a difference, and how a graduate business degree from Lipscomb University will impact their lives and the lives of others.

Last year’s entries were highly reflective of the social enterprise mindset prevalent in the millennial generations: a sustainability officer wanting to advance her career, former missionaries looking to start their own non-profits, a board member for a coffee shop looking to expand its humanitarian mission.

For such social-minded would-be entrepreneurs, Nashville – which ranked 14th in the nation in terms of volunteerism in 2012, as well as being included on a number of lists from top job growth to best place to start a technology company  – is the place to be. In January, a story in the New York Times labeled Nashville the latest “it” city. Nashville was also recently ranked the fifth best city for young entrepreneurs by,. Nashville ranked ahead of Boston, Portland, Denver, Chicago, and Seattle.

In addition, Lipscomb University is also known nationally for its integration of ethics and business education, and the College of Business provides a tuition discount for all students pursuing an MBA with a concentration in  nonprofit management..

“Now, more than ever, there is a need for people who want to impact their communities positively. Individuals with big dreams and leadership aspirations, who just need the knowledge and skills to get there, can change the world around them,” said Turney Stevens, dean of the Lipscomb University College of Business. “We also understand that many graduate program candidates are juggling a career and family and that the cost of pursuing an advanced degree can be overwhelming. So this competition will help one future leader pursue this path with a full-tuition scholarship for a graduate business program.”

Contestants will produce a two-minute video that illustrates a compelling personal story about how they are one academic degree away from making a difference, and how a graduate business degree from Lipscomb University will impact their lives and the lives of others.

“We believe that people may only be one degree away from a professional position that can advance their careers and meet the demands of today's competitive business environment. We also believe that people may be only be two minutes away from the scholarship that will help them obtain that degree through this competition,” said Lisa Shacklett, assistant dean of the Lipscomb University College of Business.

“This competition will reward one worthy individual committed to making their organization, community or world a better place with a full scholarship to a graduate business degree. Lipscomb recognizes that one committed, passionate individual can have a significant impact on the world. That’s why we are committed to making a difference for each person who enrolls in the graduate business program at Lipscomb.”

To enter the video competition, prospective students must apply and be admitted to one of the graduate business programs – MBA, Professional MBA, Master of Accountancy or Master of Human Resources.. Videos may be uploaded at from now until May 15. All applicants to the program who submit a video will have their application fee waived.

A selection committee will review the videos and select five finalists. The general public will then vote to determine the best video beginning June 10 and ending June 20. The video that receives the most votes will be determined the winner of the full scholarship. Winners will be asked to produce a three-to-five minute monthly video blog describing their journey as they proceed through the program.

Shacklett said this competition will not only encourage prospective students to think about how a graduate business degree will change their careers and lives, but it will also give them an opportunity to be innovative and use technology that they are using in their professions.

This is the second year for the competition. Last year, MBA student Cory Haney won the competition with his video about his dream of founding a nonprofit organization after a trip to Tiriki, Africa. He said he would like to use a graduate business degree to help grow that organization into one that will have a far-reaching impact globally. Haney’s video was one of six finalists selected from among 29 entries into the contest.

Shacklett said the contest proved to be successful.

“The success of the competition last year far exceeded our expectations,” she said. “Not only was the creativity and quality of these videos impressive, but the compelling stories they told were as well. The entrants were very passionate about how a graduate business degree from Lipscomb University can help them make a difference in the world. The overwhelming support shown in votes from all over the world demonstrated that our finalists are already making a huge impact in the world, and we know that the skills and knowledge gained through the graduate business degree will only strengthen that impact.”

Among the contest entrants last year were Oksana Nelson, who was adopted from a Russian orphanage at age 10 who plans to open a nonprofit organization; Steve Morrow, board member of The Well Coffeehouse, a new venture in Green Hills which uses its profits to build clean water wells around the world; Katy Sheesley, who desires to combine her engineering background and sustainable business practices to create a better earth; and Eddie Anstey, who has worked in international business and ministry for more than a decade.

For complete rules or more information, visit or call 615.966.1833.