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Melinda Emerson, MBA '20, Launches 'Become Your Own Boss'

October 24, 2022

Bestselling author. Keynote speaker. President and CEO. Entrepreneur. Melinda Emerson, MBA ’20, goes by a lot of titles. But for her, there was one title missing — educator. It wasn’t enough for Emerson, also known as the SmallBizLady, to become top thought leader on small business and hugely successful in her own right — having run Quintessence Group, a strategic marketing consulting firm, for 23 years. Her company works with Fortune 500 brands that target small business customers. She wanted to help others become successful business owners and achieve their entrepreneurial dreams, too.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 45% of new businesses fail in the first five years. Knowing that statistic, Emerson wondered if she could take what she learned in building her business and help the next generation of entrepreneurs. “Success leaves clues,” she said. “If you could tell people those clues, they’d be better prepared.”

Fortunately, all these roles have been preparing her to become a small business educator. Her advice has already reached hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs. A former columnist for the New York Times, her articles have been featured in publications, such as Entrepreneur, Inc., Black Enterprise and Essence magazines. She has also been featured on Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, ABC News and in the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine. Forbes magazine even named her the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter.

Emerson knew she needed the proper credential to teach in higher education. After earning her Executive MBA from LeBow in 2020, she was able to put her plan into action. And for her, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to begin her teaching career at her alma mater. “I’m really excited to be partnered with Drexel to bring this course here,” she said.

According to Emerson, the thing about business is figuring out what you don’t know about business. And her new course, Become Your Own Boss, taught within the Goodwin College of Professional Studies, will do just that. Created from her bestselling book that has been in print for twelve years, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, the course is created for beginners who want step-by-step, practical instruction in business ownership. The course covers marketing, sales, operations, customer service, business planning and more.

“I want to make sure students are successful after taking the course. I didn’t design the curriculum with exercises and presentations for the sake of exercises and presentations, students will leave my class with what they need to pitch their business and make money on day one.” Emerson adds, “We’re not just writing a business plan, we’re planning a business.”

Learn more about Become Your Own Boss and other small business courses offered through the Goodwin College of Professional Studies.