Professor takes business savvy to Bulgaria

Michigan State Roundup

Published October 1, 1993  | October 1993 issue

Upper Peninsula businesses aren't the only ones involved in exporting. Marquette's Northern Michigan University (NMU) exports faculty expertise.

David Rayome, professor of accounting and finance at NMU, has made three trips to Bulgaria since March to educate would-be business owners. Rayome and his partner, a finance professor at the University of Tampa, have taught more than 200 academics and new business people how to run a business in a free-market economy. "The only reason anyone buys a business is to buy the ownership rights to future profits," Rayome says. "This concept is foreign to most of the students."

The seminars include sessions on macroeconomics, accounting principles and cash flow analysis, and a final class exercise on financial statement analysis and business forecasting.

With about an 80 percent annual inflation rate in Bulgaria, a session on determining a risk-free rate of return and adjusting a business plan for inflation is very popular with participants, Rayome says. "Until 1989 nobody worried about profits or returns."

Successful completion of the classes is required before prospective business owners can apply for a government-issued Company Valuation License. The license is necessary for a Bulgarian to open a business.

Rayome has been impressed with his students' credentials and level of enthusiasm. Presenting the seminars is like "giving water to a thirsty person," Rayome says. About 95 percent of these entrepreneurs are engineers or hold doctorates in science or economics.

Additional visits to Bulgaria may be on the horizon for Rayome. The Bulgarians have expressed interest other topics, such as small business management and real estate valuation.

"We're also broadening the views of NMU students," says Rayome, who brought along a graduate student on his most recent trip. Discussion is under way to establish a student or faculty exchange program between a Bulgarian university and NMU.

Kathy Cobb