From Introductory Orientation to Integrated Application
Published on December 11, 2012
The Sigmund Weis School of Business at Susquehanna University strategically bookends its four-year programs with two courses for all students majoring in business—the Global Business Perspectives course for first-year students and the Business Policy and Strategy capstone course for seniors. Both courses provide opportunities for students to connect in person with alumni, and in the case of the senior capstone class, to appreciate and question the career decisions and expertise of alumni guest speakers.
Associate Professor of Management David Bussard and Assistant Professor of Management Mark Heuer team-teach the Business Policy course. Their goal is to engage students in the skill-building and decision-making that are essential to analyze and implement organizational strategies. Working as if they were CEOs, general managers or entrepreneurs, students analyze and resolve the critical problems faced by the top management in real companies, both domestic and international. The course features plenary sessions with business executives on Wednesday evenings throughout the semester. Similarly, in the first-year Global Perspectives course, the Monday evening plenaries feature presentations from alumni, area business leaders, and faculty on key issues of strategy and decision-making.
Alan Bennett ’72, who served as the 2012 Sigmund Weis Memorial Lecturer and an executive-in-residence, is one such alumnus. As a former chief executive officer of H&R Block, Bennett shared his extensive perspectives on corporate culture with students, identifying five factors that lead to a successful corporate culture: responsibility and accountability, goal setting, open information sharing, an engaged workforce and ethically sound business practice. Teague Emery ’13 said that Bennett emphasized the importance of clear, measurable goals that are appropriate, impactful and evaluated against competitive drivers to foster continual improvement. Emery said his overall take-away was to “continually measure yourself against your goals and standards. Otherwise, improvement and success do not occur.”
When the current seniors were first-year business students, they received an overview of business fundamentals in Global Business Perspectives. After focusing on their academic majors, minors and concentrations for three years, the seniors come back together for the capstone Business Policy and Strategy course. It integrates the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their various courses, internships and study abroad, all with a view toward real-world applications. Emily Jones ’13 said, “Whether we become the owners of our own companies or executives in Fortune 500 companies, we will be able to apply what we have learned during our four years of study in the Weis School. One day, I hope to come back to a Susquehanna policy class and tell the seniors about how my Susquehanna education was invaluable.”