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Bottle Business Classes Expand Horizons For Entrepreneurs, Professors

Oct. 27, 2011

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Baylor Business Professor Blaine McCormick had been asked to give business lessons to some local entrepreneurs while visiting Honduras in 2009. The answer to his question came from a Coke bottle. And what he and the locals learned from that bottle of Coke has started spreading around the planet. Dr. McCormick and Dr. Van Gray, colleagues at Baylor, took those lessons to Kenya and Rwanda this past summer, and now groups from other schools are taking them elsewhere around the world. It's Coke Bottle Business classes: an seemingly unlimited number of simple business lessons that can be taught merely by putting a Coke in someone's hand and asking them to think about what they're holding. It all started accidentally when Dr. McCormick was imparting business lessons to local Honduran entrepreneurs just over two years ago.

Dr. Van Gray heard McCormick's recounting of the fortuitous meeting when he returned to Waco, and shared his enthusiasm for the possibilities of teaching business basics with the simplest of props.

Dr. McCormick and Dr. Gray recognize that, globally, business can be viewed with suspicion. The idea that business is a transaction in which one party takes advantage of another is pervasive, from the largest cities to the most remote areas. Many entrepreneurs globally have never thought about how to build mutually beneficial relationships with customers. This audio was recorded in Rwanda. Dr. Gray is contrasting a robbery with a business transaction to help the students think about relationship building.

Building relationships was just the start. Tomorrow, we'll continue our look at McCormick and Gray's discovery that a bottle of Coke could teach lessons in a way that a book never could. It's a project that's consuming the two Baylor business professors, and is spreading to other schools around the country. Yesterday's story can be heard online at kwbu.org. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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