Posts filed under Teaching

Peter J. Burns III: How Do You Eat An Elephant?


One bite at a time. This was wisdom passed down from my dear departed father when I was faced with the angst of being overwhelmed with major tasks of new business ownership starting at the tender age of 19. My father suggested that I take what was apparently overwhelming and break it down into "bite size" components, attacking each piece one-by-one until the seemingly impossible task facing me was reduced to "wholly consumed elephant."

Thirty nine years later, I am taking Dad's advice yet again. Recently returning from a humanitarian mission in Ethiopia, I have accumulated no less than 42 viable projects that merit development, funding and launching into this remarkable country. Basically, I determined what was needed in that country and matched it up with what was available back here in the States, and which was within my ability to provide.

To that end, I took the "lowest hanging fruit" of a dozen such ideas and created Project Files on each. I had great luck with interns in my past US-based ventures, so I reasoned that I could access a new set of eager and talented young people to assist me this time too. I placed my request for virtual interns with specific skill sets out in CyberSpace and lo and behold, I now have nearly 60 very qualified young men and women awaiting their selection for specific projects and tasks.

Through one such intern, already recruited, I established a Project Management template that each intern will follow. Another intern selected, who is now my virtual Administrative Assistant, has organized all of the various projects (up to 50 something with my US projects combined with the Ethiopian ones) into Google Docs and Drop Box files/folders. Each intern, assigned to specific projects, is granted access to his or her projects and my Administrative Assistant is adding to each project folder as I receive more info, updates and requests on each individual project. It is amazing how much material is flowing through these combined channels and now, so efficiently!

Since I favor a mentoring-style of management and am as far removed from micro-managing as anyone I know, I informally communicate with each intern as regularly as once a week, sometimes more. I am making the move to place a new head of Project Managers, who is, herself, working on one of the major projects and happens to be going to school for a Project Management certificate.

The plan is to create complete packages of multiple projects and have a 5 page (or so) Summary of each project, complete with research, financial docs, etc, so that I can present them to my top financing resources for consideration. Then, I either fund the project myself or take on an interested joint venture partner, put in the internal operations, and assign management to handle each one.

That is how I plan "to eat this elephant." I think my dear father would have been proud. 

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Family, Volunteering, Teaching, Personal History.

Peter J. Burns III: Going Into Debt Over Attending College Is Ridiculous!


The headline of today's Arizona Republic blasts out "Defaults on student loans rising." Reading this thoroughly depressing article, we learn that the average student graduates from college with literally tens of thousands of dollars in debt. while launching themselves into one of the worst economies for job seekers in history.

Apparently Arizona's private for-profit schools have the worst record of all for graduates: the largest student-loan debt as well as the highest default rate. So, not only do these schools cost much more to attend than do community colleges, public universities and private non-profit schools, but a graduate ends up owing more student loan debt and has a much higher default rate. What a great deal. NOT!

In these times of uncertainty and economic plight, with our President urging Americans to go back to school and the need for many of us to "retool" ourselves because our former industries don't exist or aren't hiring anymore, where do you turn?

I believe that Club Entrepreneur, the Arizona-based 3500 member entrepreneurial community has a solution to offer. Through an agreement with our friends at Andrew Jackson University, an accredited for-profit inline university, Club E will offer a tuition waiver to every Arizona resident wishing to go to college. AJU offers 11 degree programs in both undergraduate and graduate programs, including the College of Entrepreneurship, where I serve as the Dean. The programs are taught by excellent professors and are solid academic offerings. Why go into debt for thousands of dollars, when Andrew Jackson and Club Entrepreneur can offer you the same education as the other Arizona-based for-profit online schools for NO TUITION?

There's even better news for all of you considering the switch to AJU with Club E's help. In 2010, with Obama's blessing, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth up to $2500, should cover literally every other cost associated with attending AJU.

You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Reach out to my friend at AJU: Tammy Kassner at who will answer all of your questions about our program.


Club Entrepreneur Offers Zero Tuition College Education for Arizona Residents

21st Century Marketing Techniques, Tax Credit Cover All Costs

TEMPE, Ariz., March 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Arizona residents can now earn a fully accredited college degree at no cost by joining Club Entrepreneur, a free online community for emerging entrepreneurs. Prospective students who sign up are eligible have their tuition waived at Andrew Jackson University (AJU), a nationally accredited online institution with eleven degree programs. Additional enrollment fees, books and materials costs, and other qualified expenses may be fully offset by the recently passed American Opportunity Tax Credit, effectively bringing the net cost of a college education to zero. (see link below)

"Our sponsored tuition program will strengthen Arizona's economic future by unlocking the gates to higher education for thousands of residents who are being shut out by the recent wave of fee increases at colleges and universities throughout the state," remarked Club Entrepreneur founder Peter J. Burns, III.

Club Entrepreneur is the latest addition to AJU's growing list of business and organizational sponsors who want to offer educational opportunities to their employees or members. Interested students must join the sponsor's e-mail list or online network in order to qualify for the tuition waiver. There is no cost to the sponsor or the student to participate.

"Traditional educational institutions find applicants by paying hefty fees to educational websites which collect and sell personal information of interested students," explains AJU President Don Kassner. "We eliminate this costly middle man by partnering with groups that are trying to reach the same population we are," he adds.

Students are under no obligation to maintain a relationship with their sponsoring organization and will continue to have their tuition waived even if they sever ties with their sponsor. "It's really up to the individual sponsor to maintain a good relationship with the student," according to Kassner. Sponsors are prohibited from selling or sharing the personal information of their sponsored students.

Participating students can choose from a variety of Associate, Bachelor and Master degree programs in business, communication, health care administration and other fields. Courses and assignments are administered "anytime anywhere" on AJU's secure, user-friendly online platform. For more information on the sponsored tuition program, visit Club Entrepreneur at and Andrew Jackson university at


Let's get America back on her feet by helping to educate our citizens.

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Teaching, Entrepreneurs.



I often like to paraphrase that great English statesman and warrior, Winston Churchill, who stated "Never, ever give up..." If that isn't the best war cry of the entrepreneur, I don't know what is. As a self-proclaimed "pureblood" entrepreneur, I really do "walk the walk" and have especially done so these past several years. Starting in 2006, I taught my first class in the field of entrepreneurship, as an Adjunct at the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. I called the class, "Ready, Fire, Aim" and those 19 students ignited my interest in education in a big way.

I was invited back by Dean Mark Jacobs to teach and oversee four classes that second semester and our enrollment grew to 94 students. My "Barrett Honors Entrepreneurship Program" was gaining great traction and I had high hopes to expand the entrepreneurship curriculum throughout Arizona State University. Naively, I reached out for what I thought was a logical ally, the W.P. Carey School of Business and was soundly trounced as a "non-academic," teaching what would surely prove to be a "fad," according to their Dean. I was disappointed but not beaten.

At the urging of the principals of the Phoenix-based Grand Canyon University, I laid out my ambitious plans to create the unique College of Entrepreneurship, hopefully at their university. I shared my disillusionment at ASU's short sightedness at not working with me on what promised to become a unique differentiator and real asset to their school and we fashioned plans to go ahead together.

Eight months after our first meeting, Grand Canyon University was the first school in the country to offer a College of Entrepreneurship. That was January, 2007. The first students followed me from ASU over to GCU on a full academic scholarship and I set about creating the pipeline of new students to enroll in our new school. Aside from giving me this great opportunity, GCU really didn't commit any effort or resources to market our school but I was wholly committed, so I spent my own money to pave the way for the Nation's first College of Entrepreneurship, figuring that their success was my success.

Along the way, the little-known Grand Canyon University started getting some seriously positive press because of the new CoE. We were written up in the venerable WALL STREET JOURNAL, CNN Money wrote about us, along with scores of other periodicals and online sources that were very interested in the "NEW Business School" model that I invented. Only 6 or 7 months after the school's start, FORTUNE Small Business Magazine named GCU's College of Entrepreneurship as #2 out of the top 5 entrepreneurship programs in the United States. I promptly mailed the story to ASU'S Dean to share with him how my "fad" was doing!

The program at GCU gained great traction and I enthusiastically threw myself into the project. I had created a revenue share arrangement with the school and based upon the anticipated future income, I started spending tens of thousands of dollars on new lead generation software and campaigns as well as advertising in targeted publications for the new school. All this came for naught because after only a few more months I received a termination notice of our deal together, citing the lack of student enrollment. This was ludicrous because we had only just gotten started. I learned of the real motivation for this months later when GCU became the only public offering in 2009 and raised their cap rate to over $1.5B. Apparently, they just didn't want to share.

I went to my attorneys to discuss what had happened and they gave me invaluable advice, "get over it and move on." GCU had way too much money for me to fight back but they couldn't take away the fact that I founded the country's first College of Entrepreneurship and despite what Grand Canyon University claimed, it was very successful. I decided, at my attorney's urging, to find a compatible school, that would actually sign my contract, and start another College of Entrepreneurship. I took this advice to heart.

I am now the Dean and on a contracted rev share basis with the accredited online school called Andrew Jackson University in Birmingham, Alabama. I was made the Chancellor of the new College of Entrepreneurship at Southern States University, which just received their accreditation status. SSU is in San Diego and we're now working on another of their schools which has it's own law school and we're discussing forming the country's first JD/MBA in Entrepreneurship together. I'm also working on a new CoE in Michigan and am even in discussions with the local Indian Nation to open up our program at their university.

As an eternal optimist, (read: entrepreneur) I know that when tough things are thrown at you, it is important to see them as opportunities and that you must "Never, ever give up!"

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Personal History, Teaching, Entrepreneurs.