Open for business

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Open for business

We’re teaching business from day one. Every business freshman enrolls in Business Day 1, a one-semester, three-credit course on business fundamentals. The course exposes freshmen to all the relevant disciplines: accounting, finance, managerial economics, human resources, marketing, supply chain management and IT.

Though introductory in nature, the course’s strength is its integrated approach, according to Keyes Dean of Business Administration Brian Till. “It is important that the course be a holistic and integrated view of business,” Till says. “While students get a fairly basic look at the core business disciplines, it is important that students begin to see how the different disciplines are interrelated.”

Those relationships come to bear in the course’s signature curricular component — an advanced business simulation in which student teams operate mock coffeehouses. Each team selects a CEO and other chief officers to make decisions on everything from sourcing to pricing to hiring to marketing to resolving ethical scenarios. A computer program analyzes and measures performance. Teams are ranked by their success in establishing profitable businesses.

As students review their results, learning happens.

Students learn how the different business disciplines are interrelated in the course’s signature curricular component—an advanced business simulation in which student teams are responsible for operating mock coffeehouses. 

This new teaching/learning approach came about though the collaborative efforts of Dr. Mark Eppli, formerly interm Keyes Dean of Business Administration, his Dean’s Council of Excellence and Dean Till.

One of the first lessons, according to Kevin Walsh, an adjunct instructor of management who teaches Day 1, is how important it is for the areas of the business to work together. “If one team member decides to offer a two-for-one promotion but doesn’t warn other areas to increase staff and order appropriate supplies, the team has to deal with irate customers, unhappy employees and additional costs due to emergency purchases,” he says.

Part of the instruction focuses on helping students gain an understanding for what they bring to a business. “It’s equally important to us, as a Jesuit business school, to work with the students on exploration of self-awareness, character development and leadership, and how those elements factor into personal development,” Walsh says.

Dean Till agrees. “Our three pillars are personal attention, experiential learning, and ethics and values. Day 1 exposes students to exactly who we are as a college from the moment they step in the classroom,” Till says. — CS

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