Entrepreneurship takes center stage at Baylor

By Kate McGuire
Staff Writer

Entrepreneurship may become the next big degree for students to pursue on college campuses.

Alex Wallace, who graduated from Baylor in 2008, has become a major businessman in the success of The Grounds Guys, a full-service commercial leading lawn care company.

He received his master’s degree in business in 2010 and specialized in entrepreneurship.

Wallace said he first found an interest for business when he started selling candy bars as a child. He then started his own lawn care business in high school.

Knowing what he wanted to do from an early start in life, Wallace said he enrolled in the Hankamer’s School of Business classes and finally graduated with a double major of professional selling and management in 2008. Wallace said he believes his classes encouraged him to follow what his dreams were but with a sense of reality.

“We focused on having the motivation which gives you a hard sense of reality yet a good dose of reality. Its practical experience,” Wallace said.

In one of his undergraduate classes, Wallace paired with other business students to develop and sell an idea.

Students were given $5,000 from the business department to design, produce, market and sell a product, Wallace said.

David Allen, director of the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship, said the class allows students to gain real-world experience with their business.

“Classes allow students to start their own business. It involves real-world stuff that potential business students need to know,” Allen said.

Some of Wallace’s graduate classes included working with undergraduate engineer students to help them sell their product to potential businesses in which they acquired revenue from the product.

Wallace said he decided to continue his Baylor education in 2010 by pursuing his master’s degree in business and specializing in entrepreneurship.

One of Wallace’s past professors, Doctor Greg Leman, director of University Entrepreneurial Initiatives said, “Entrepreneurship is more than a skill set, its a mindset. A mindset to take what you see in the world and enable you to make a change.”

After helping to establish his lawn company three years ago, Wallace decided to leave the corporate office to manage the businesses’ Dallas location.

With 85 franchises across the U.S. and Canada the company offers basic lawn care, fertilization, weed elimination and similar services.

Their services include installation systems, landscaping and design, outdoor lighting, yard care, snow and ice removal, commercial ground care and pesticide spraying.

The number of students enrolling in Baylor’s Business School is increasing, according to the Baylor Institute Research and Testing.

In 2004, there were 2,653 undergraduate students enrolled in Baylor’s Business School.

From 2004 to 2012 there was an 11 percent increase in students who enrolled in Baylor’s business school.

“Baylor’s Business School gave me a good chance to start getting to know the business world, despite having a good idea or product, there is much more to starting a business,” Wallace said.

Wallace said he plans on pursuing his own personal goals of owning a restaurant or service-type companies in the future.