University Relations and Communications

College of Business, downtown Billings enter into new partnership

October 30, 2009



Dr. Gary Young, College of Business, 657-2326
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269 


University will provide market research and analysis for downtown group


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — As a learning lab for college business students, few places can compete with Downtown Billings. As a source for academic research, local businesses can reap benefits from faculty and students at Montana State University Billings.

That’s the simple concept behind a new agreement being forged between the MSU Billings College of Business and the Downtown Billings Partnership.


The new memorandum of understanding will be formally announced on Thursday, Nov. 5 with an “After 5 Mixer” from 5-7 p.m. at the MSU Billings College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning conference room at 2804 Third Ave. N.


Through the agreement, the DPB will contract with the College of Business and for a marketing survey and analysis that will help the entity and its members make business decisions in the coming year. College faculty and students as well as the Center for Business Enterprise and the Center for Applied Economic Research will have a hand in the work and  university’s Downtown Billings campus will provide seminar and conference space.


MSU Billings Chancellor Dr. Ron Sexton said the new partnership is the next logical step in efforts to fully integrate the university into the community on a number of levels.


“As a comprehensive university in an urban setting, this partnership helps bring more attention to the value the MSU Billings brings to the city and the region,” he said. “The Downtown Billings Partnership is an important entity and our students will benefit greatly from this agreement.”

Dr. Gary Young, dean of the College of Business, said the relationship between the DBP and his college is a perfect partnership.

“It fits like a hand in a glove,” he said. “Much of the attraction of MSU Billings is the involvement and support of the business community. You can’t have a better live laboratory for College of Business faculty and students.”


MSU Billings has an enrollment of more than 5,000 students and is integrated in the community through internships and relationships on a number of levels. The Downtown campus, for example, is home to the College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning, where a lot of short-term and specialized education and training is based. And the university also supports the Urban Institute, which works to identify critical issues of long-range significance to the community and region and provide facilitative leadership to address emergent problems and opportunities.


Lisa Harmon, executive director of the Downtown Alliance, said the new partnership builds on already good relationships with MSU Billings with the intent on getting more resources for the 225 members of the Downtown Business Association.


“I’m excited about it because we can move forward on some initiatives,” she said. “We need research and data downtown.”


She and others with the Downtown Billings group have visited with students in Dr. Tim Wilkinson’s market research class and will work with them on gathering information on shopping patterns, habits and trends. The research will provide information that will not only help in future decision making, she said, but will show members “how we in the Downtown area are relevant to the community.”


“This is exciting for both partners. It’s a true win-win,” she said.


For more information on the downtown mixer on Nov. 5, call 294-5060. To find out more about the College of Business and its academic programs, call 657-2326.