I’ll trade ya…

You have to be able to tell the story of your own passion
so others can buy into that passion.

-Gabriella Cacciotti, Assistant Professor

Very few things are more impressive than a savvy eight year old who recognizes the value of a pudding cup. The kid who boldly walks into the cafeteria with a smooth-talking, I’ll trade ya… and then bargains with all the diplomacy an eight year old can muster and walks away with a packet of Oreos, a bag of Cheetos and a troll head eraser. With nothing more than a pudding cup in hand, an unsuspecting classmate is left confident that said pudding cup is the most valuable thing… ever.

Students enrolled in ENT 3320 Entrepreneurship New Ventures sessions taught by Lee Grumbles and Gabriella Cacciotti were asked to hone in on their inner eight year old self for an experiential learning exercise commonly referred to as The Marble Game. The Marble Game was developed by Professor James D. Hart from Southern Methodist University as a learning exercise that helps students recognize sales strategy, self-branding, the relativity of value and asset acquisition.

Professor Cacciotti explains, “When you start with nothing (or something very small like a marble), it forces you to create value and to leverage your own story.” She continues, “You have to be able to tell the story of your own passion so others can buy into that passion.”

For the assignment, students were given a marble. Admittedly, there was nothing extraordinarily breathtaking about the marble. It was just a basic, run-of-the-mill marble. But that’s the whole point of the activity. The students had one month to master a convincing I’ll trade ya… as they bargained with all the suaveness of an eight year old to trade up from the original marble.

Professor Grumbles shares, “The notion of value is such a subjective thing.” He continues, “In my opinion, there were times students actually traded down, but in their minds they were increasing in value.”

Some of the students showed the cunning prowess of a modern day pudding swapper. There were quite a few notable trades.

  • A trade from marble, can of spray paint, hammer, walking stick, book, computer mouse to the final trade for a slightly used fire extinguisher
  • A trade from marble, bald picture of Joey King, candy, seasonal Waterloo drink, troll doll to the final trade for a live goldfish in a Ziplock baggie filled with water (which Professor Grumbles strongly encouraged be returned to its original owner)
  • A trade from marble, mechanical pencil, pack of gum, party size bag of Doritos, big bag of raisins, an HEB hat to the final trade for a green adirondack chair with a broken arm that the students repaired

Students in each of Grumbles’ classes voted on the best trade up. The winning teams were then given the opportunity to select a local charity as the recipient for all of the final trade items for the respective classes.

  • Kevin Tolotti and Rhett Bradsky 
    marble, sunglasses, a pair of cleats, a working tv without a power cord 
    CHARITY – Hidden Treasures, Caritas Waco
  • Hudson Graber and Cade Hanshaw 
    marble, phone case, perfume, box of string lights, dartboard, a pair of water skis
    CHARITY – Mission Waco

The best trade was not decided by a formal vote in Cacciotti’s classes. However, there were a couple of very clear standouts. Unbeknown to the students at the beginning of the experiment, the most engaged traders received extra credit points. All traded items Professor Cacciotti’s class were donated to the Salvation Army.

  • Zoe Brandenstein and Trey Robison 
    marble, computer mouse, Bauer hockey helmet

The overall Baugh Center Blog honorable mention goes to the trade from marble to a somewhat broken traffic light. No questions asked, but certainly ingenuity at its peak.

All in all, this was a fantastic exercise. Students were able to learn experientially, while having a little fun in the process. And if they also learned the value of saying I’ll trade ya… with all the passion and gusto of an eight year old, well that would just be cool.

Big Sic ‘em goes out to Baylor Entrepreneurship professors like Lee Grumbles and Gabriella Cacciotti who are quite literally rock stars in the classroom.

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Dr. John Chen, Associate Professor

I didn’t choose the field of entrepreneurship…
it chose me.

-Dr. John Chen

Originally from Taiwan, John Chen calls Huntsville, Alabama, his hometown. John’s education and career have allowed him to travel quite a bit, from California to Florida with several stops in between. Most recently, he has planted roots in Waco, Texas. And fortunately for the Baylor Entrepreneurship Department, John will be joining the faculty roster in Fall 2023 as an Associate Professor teaching Strategic Management / Business Policy.

John didn’t grow up in an overtly entrepreneurial household. He wasn’t the kid on the block washing cars, mowing lawns, selling lemonade or hustling classmates for snacks and treats. He loved math and engineering. That was his focus as an undergrad and that’s what guided him to a career in the high-tech industry. It was after he transitioned to a more business-oriented tech role that John learned about high-caliber management and entrepreneurship research.

As a junior scholar, John’s research focus was using computer simulation methods. However, there was a shift in thinking when John was connected with an established scholar who was interested in applying the computer simulation methods to entrepreneurship. What started as an implementation of a somewhat novel research concept, ended as a career-defining moment. John explains, “I didn’t choose the field of entrepreneurship… it chose me.”

John enjoys being a collegiate professor. He considers it a privilege to have the opportunity to build relationships with students and to share his academic expertise and his faith. After several conversations with Baylor Entrepreneurship Chair, Dr. Peter Klein, and a discussion with Dr. Walter Bradley, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, John felt that God was leaving not-so-subtle “breadcrumbs” leading straight to Baylor University.

John views Baylor as a new mission field and is excited to build relationships and share his expertise at an unapologetically Christian university.

Welcome to Baylor Entrepreneurship, Dr. Chen! Sic’ em!

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Lee Grumbles, B&I LLC Faculty in Residence

“Don’t be in a hurry, but instead enjoy the process,
embrace the failures and use it all to fuel your growth as an entrepreneur.”

-Lee Grumbles

What do you do when life just kind of happens and you’re a little slow reaching your goals and dreams? For Lee Grumbles it’s a go-to Bible verse that carries him during trying times. Lee says, “I lean on Philippians 4:6 when stress and anxiety try to get the best of me.”

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
~ Philippians 4:6

Lee grew up in Houston, Texas. He completed his undergraduate work at Texas A&M. Lee spent most of his corporate career working in the commercial banking and finance industry. While working, he also earned an MBA from Sam Houston State University as well as a PhD in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. For 17 years, Lee was a vice president in commercial banking and mentored countless new bankers in areas such as B2B sales, risk assessment and portfolio management. By all accounts, a very impressive resume.

However, Lee’s goal was always to transition to academia, but “life” just kind of happened. Married with two children and a fortieth birthday around the corner, Lee realized it was time to just go for it.

Lee was initially drawn to Baylor University because of Baylor’s mission of integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment. However, after meeting with the Entrepreneurship Department and experiencing its unique culture, he was hooked.

Lee started his new career in academia as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Baylor Entrepreneurship Department in the Fall of 2020 and taught Small Business Management, New Venture Finance and Entrepreneurial Finance. 

The amount of behind-the-scenes work required with academia was a bit of a culture shock for Lee, but he soon learned to take full advantage of evenings and weekends to keep on track and not fall behind. Lee feels his years of mentoring new bankers actually prepared him for his role in academia. He explains, “I believe those experiences were extremely valuable in giving me an understanding on how to effectively work with my students.”

In the Fall 2022, in addition to teaching Lee took on the role as Faculty In Residence at the Business & Innovation LLC housed in Brooks Flat Residential Hall. In this new role, Lee serves as a resource for students to help them navigate a new life at Baylor, but he will also work as a mentor to these students as students explore business and innovation from a faith-based perspective.

While Lee knows firsthand that life happens and it’s easy to lose track of time, his advice to students is not to be in a rush. He shares, “Don’t be in a hurry, but instead enjoy the process, embrace the failures and use it all to fuel your growth as an entrepreneur.”

Lee didn’t rush and he is right where he’s supposed to be. Sic ‘em, Lee!

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Meet the New #BaylorENT Prof | Dr. Gabriella Cacciotti


“Always find love and appreciation for all that you receive in life.

-Dr. Gabriella Cacciotti

Who is the new #BaylorENT prof?
I come from a very small town near Rome and my husband is from Milan. Together with our three-year-old daughter, home is in two different places in Italy. I received my undergraduate degree from Bocconi University in Italy, my masters degree from Fudan University in China, my PhD from Warwick Business School in the UK and my post doc from Aalto University in Finland. I cannot get enough of discovering the world and understanding different cultures. I have learned a lot by living in different countries and meeting new people. The world is a wonderful place.

Why teach?
My job is beautiful. I have so many opportunities to learn and discover new things.

Why Baylor?
The environment at Baylor is wonderful. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with my students in a way that has a positive impact on them and helps them grow.

Thoughts on Waco?
The sense of community is incredible. I’ve never lived here, but it feels like I’ve come home.

#BaylorENT in three words or less…go.
Collegial, Professional, Inspirational

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.


Meet the New #BaylorENT Prof | Dr. Justin Yan


“It’s so exciting to be in a new place, to work with new colleagues and to meet new people.

-Dr. Justin Yan

Who is the new #BaylorENT prof?
I grew up in Inner Mongolia, a northern province of China. For my undergraduate work, I studied at the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in Beijing. I came to the U.S. about eight years ago and received my MBA in Finance from Seton Hall University. After my MBA, I worked in the financial service industry and as a financial analyst for Bloomberg LP and I co-founded FISH institute, an online education service firm that provides assistance to foreign students in the U.S. I recently wrapped up my Phd. in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I like to travel and hike. Fun fact — I’ve been to more than 38 states and 50 national parks and historical sites so far.

Why teach?
For me, teaching is a combination of an intense, intellectual challenge that comes with research and a thrilling, interactive experience that comes with teaching and mentoring students.

Why Baylor?
The University’s Christian guided mission was a major factor when deciding on Baylor. But Baylor also has one of the best entrepreneurship programs in the nation and a top-ranked entrepreneurship research group. 

Thoughts on Waco?
I wasn’t expecting the great cultural and racial diversity of the local population. Another surprise was the weather…

#BaylorENT in three words or less…go.
Collegial, Diverse, Prestige

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.


Meet the New #BaylorENT Prof | Dr. Jim Kee


I’m most looking forward to seeing first-hand
the success of my students.”

-Dr. Jim Kee

Who is the new #BaylorENT prof?
I’ve lived all over. I was born in Los Angeles, lived in Tulsa for ten years and graduated high school in Houston. Interesting James Kee trivia, I was a Radioman with the US Coast Guard and was one of the last to learn Morse code. My wife Lea and I have been married for 28 years. Our son Robbie just graduated from Notre Dame and our daughter Kellie is a sophomore at Oklahoma University. Before moving to Waco I was the President of South Texas Money Management, a $4 billion investment advisory firm which was sold last year. 

Why teach?
As a professor, I have the opportunity to share my life experiences with students with hopes of helping them achieve success in their careers. 

Why Baylor?
Without a doubt, Baylor’s Christian mission was a deciding factor to move to Waco. The world needs institutions like Baylor, and Baylor students can and do influence the world. 

Thoughts on Waco?
Cameron Park is this beautifully hidden little gem tucked within Waco. 

#BaylorENT in three words or less…go.

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.


Meet the New #BaylorENT Prof | Dr. Lee Grumbles


My hope is that students with non-entrepreneurial backgrounds
will take one of my courses and be motivated to start a business.”

-Dr. Lee Grumbles

Who is the new  #BaylorENT prof?
I grew up in Houston, Texas. My wife Lauren and I are the proud parents of twelve-year-old Ethan and nine-year-old Avery. I completed my undergraduate work at Texas A&M. After that, I spent almost twenty years working in the commercial banking and finance industry where I helped new and mature ventures grow by providing them with external capital. During this time, I also earned my MBA from Sam Houston State University as well as a PhD in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University.

Why teach?
The opportunity to mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs is an experience that can’t be beat.

Why Baylor?
Lauren is a Baylor grad, so I have an affinity to Baylor albeit by proxy. The deciding factor to yes, we’re moving to Waco really comes down to Baylor’s mission to integrate academic excellence and Christian commitment. To work for an employer that openly supports my faith is an unbelievable opportunity.

Thoughts on Waco?
Construction! I suppose that’s the positive side of growth. Seriously though, who knew Waco was surrounded by so many charming communities?  

#BaylorENT in three words or less…go.
Discovering tomorrow, together.

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.


ENT Buzz | David Scheaf

David Scheaf, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship



I called Columbus, Ohio home until I left for North Carolina to attend college at Queens University of Charlotte. I met my wife, Courtney, at Queens University of Charlotte and we dated for 6 years before getting married during my final year of graduate school. I attended UNC Charlotte for graduate school where I received my M.A. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Ph.D. in Organizational Science with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship. After I received my Ph.D., Courtney and I moved to Waco where I started my first Assistant Professorship at Baylor University. Courtney and I recently welcomed our son—James—to our family. Our little family couldn’t be happier living in Waco and being part of the Baylor community.


I just wrapped up my second year as an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship. I actually wear two hats as an Assistant Professor — researcher and teacher. To be completely honest, I love both! Being in the classroom was my primary motivation for choosing a career in academia. I am passionate about challenging students to think critically and I love watching them get to those personal ah-ha moments.


The Entrepreneurship Department has so many hands-on opportunities for students, opportunities to gain real-world experience outside of the classroom. The 1846 Student Incubator, for example, gives students extraordinary support for their entrepreneurial endeavors. Baylor Angel Network is also a great opportunity for students as they evaluate start-up companies, which can ultimately help them get jobs in Banking and Finance.  


Is it even possible to pick just one favorite Baylor tradition? There are so many. I can’t pick just one, but my top three traditions would be Christmas on 5th, the Baylor Homecoming parade and Pigskin Revue.


New Entrepreneurship majors should be ready to learn how to think rather than what to think. This will make their experiences in the classroom even more worthwhile.

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.


ENT Buzz | Les Palich

Les Palich, Professor of Entrepreneurship



I didn’t grow up in Texas or go to Baylor, but I got here as fast as I could. My wife, Dianna, and I both grew up in the Phoenix area, and I completed my undergraduate studies at a small Christian college in Manhattan, Kansas. A few years later I went back to school to earn an MBA and eventually a PhD at Arizona State University. My next stop was Baylor. We felt a strong sense of calling in coming to Baylor and Waco. This is definitely where we belong.


I taught my first class at Baylor in the summer of 1991. It’s one of the courses I still teach today: Strategic Management, the capstone course for all business majors. Since then I have gone on to develop and/or teach other courses for both MBA and undergraduate students, most with an international business focus. Some of my most memorable experiences have come from leading study abroad trips for Baylor students. I’ve led more than 30 groups to Europe and Latin America, and the experience of introducing our students to the places we visit is indescribable!


My colleagues at Baylor are among my closest friends. You would be hard pressed to find a group of faculty and staff who function as well together as we do. In the Entrepreneurship Department we tend to lean toward entrepreneurial thinking, innovative thinking. It’s important that we model creative opportunity development for our Entrepreneurship students, and I really think we hit that mark. Perhaps that explains, in part, why our program is so highly ranked. 


My favorite tradition at Baylor is Diadeloso, and not because we all get the day off! Central Texas weather in April is fantastic. Combine that with the casualness of the interactions between faculty and students and you have the makings for a wonderful and unique experience. All of the fun activities of the day are icing on the cake.


Keep an open mind about where you see yourself going. Don’t let uncertainty keep you from giving it your all and just going for it. The skills and insights you take away from the experiences are key to your success whether you continue with an entrepreneurial path or not.

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.


ENT Buzz | Bradley Norris

Bradley Norris, Director Technology Entrepreneurship



I earned my undergrad in computer science and math from Indiana University Bloomington and my Master of Science in management at Purdue University Krannert. My wife, Laura, and I have three wonderful kiddos. I have been on staff at Baylor for fifteen years now, and have loved every minute of it.


I am the Director of Technology Entrepreneurship and I serve on Baylor’s new Lab-To-Market team, a partnership between the Vice Provost for Research and Hankamer School of Business. This fall I will start a new journey also serving as the Faculty-in-Residence at Brooks Flats, home to the Business & Innovation LLC. My wife, youngest child and I will move into the dorm in August. To have the opportunity to live on campus and mingle with students outside of the classroom is so exciting.


I’ve had the privilege to work on real-world class projects including local Waco companies like Bankstons and Butter My Biscuit to NASA’s Neil Armstrong Flight Research Center to a billion-dollar pharmaceutical startup.


Baylor Homecoming is amazing! I especially like the parade. The floats that the students work so hard to make are incredible.


Always make time to check out guest speakers. Baylor, the business school and the Entrepreneurship department all bring in an incredible roster of speakers who come to campus for you. Be there to learn, to appreciate and to meet!

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.