Two area students in the Minnesota Center for Advanced Professional Studies (MNCAPS) program turned their business acumen into a full-ride college scholarship, according to a news release from the program.
The students, Prior Lake High School senior Cory Kaisersatt and Farmington High School senior Xander Smaby, are two of the newest recipients of the Shulze Innovation Scholarship from the University of St. Thomas.
The scholarship earned the entrepreneurs a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the university's Schulze School of Entrepreneurship and set them up with an opportunity to receive seed capital for a professional endeavor when they graduate.
Smaby and Kaisersatt will also have access to office space on campus to use to start a business.
The duo was part of an 18 student finalist group that toured the campus for the university's Scholarship Day before being submitted to a hypothetical business challenge. Kaisersatt said they were tasked with opening and running a coffee shop. Smaby and Kaisersatt scored second place in the challenge.
The team was more than prepared by their MNCAPS experience.
“I don’t think the challenge could have been more perfect,” Smaby said in the release. “We’ve done it before at MNCAPS.”
Kaisersatt said looking over old assignments the week leading up to the event helped him prepare for the challenge's interview.
Students must have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, an ACT score of 27 or higher and choose entrepreneurship as their major at St. Thomas to be considered for the scholarship.
Kaisersatt said the university had topped his list for a while, though receiving the scholarship cemented his path to the institution next year.
"My great grandfather went there, and my brother goes there currently. So St. Thomas has really been in my top five, top three since the beginning of my college search," Kaisersatt said.
While Kaisersatt says he hasn't finalized any business plans for the scholarship's seed capital but runs a lake-weed removal business called Paradise Lake with one current and one former MNCAPS student.