IBE celebrates its 10-year anniversary

The United Prairie Bank Integrated Business Experience (IBE) celebrated its 10-year anniversary Tuesday in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom as current and past Minnesota State University, Mankato students were celebrated for their accomplishments.

The United Prairie Bank IBE was designed for MSU students to experience real-world entrepreneurial situations. This semester-long set of courses allows students in the program to work together to plan, launch and operate a full functioning business.

Partnered with United Prairie Bank, the students create then present their business plan to the bank in hopes of receiving a loan. Any profits made from their products are donated to charities of their choice.

“It’s about giving our students amazing learning experiences and celebrating them tonight.” Brenda Flannery who was on the academic redesign team (ART) who initiated the start up of the IBE program.

The night highlighted the impact the IBE Program has made in the Mankato community. Over the past decade the program has donated $106,090 to over 20 charities, and put in a total of 10,100 service hours. Gross sales for the products sold was $241,725. During this time UPB distributed $136,203 in loans.

In total there have been 836 students who have completed the IBE Program since launching 2012 and 44 companies have been started.

MSU alumni Brett Feldman, Lucas Arndt and Hannah Perez were in attendance to share how the program helped them transition into the real world of post graduation job hunting.

Feldman, who now works as a credit analyst manager vice president, recalls his time in the IBE Program back when his team created Mav Fit.

“It’s far more than a letter grade,” Feldman said. “From my experience in the banking industry working with loans, I can honestly say the IBE is very close to the real world and I am really proud to be a part of it.” 

Arndt was in the IBE program during the fall 2017. 

“The IBE program taught me to be diverse and open to new things, to stay creative and curious and to always have that innovative mind,” Arndt said.

Others in attendance represented some of the charities the IBE program frequently donates to, such as Mankato Area Foundation and Greater Mankato Area United Way.

“It’s always going to be about people, our students having an amazing learning experience, connecting our students with the community, about our faculty working with teams,” Flannery said. “The sky’s the limit as to where the IBE program goes.”

A new program component this year is that students completing the IBE Program will earn an IBE certificate that will appear on their transcript. Other plans mentioned were possibly taking this program to high schools and abroad.

Header Photo: On Tuesday night, the IBE celebrated their student’s accomplishments over the years along with their future plans. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)

Write to Julia Barton at

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