January 10, 2019
The course requires students to do in-depth market research on a real company and culminates with a team presentation to invited business executives, many of whom are Susquehanna alumni.
"GBP is unique because it requires students to complete a major consulting project during their first semester," said James Pomykalski, associate professor of management at Susquehanna. "Most universities that do something like this do it at the junior or senior level. Our course provides context to many of the concepts students will learn in future business classes."
Bailey Hackenberry, an economics major from Mifflintown, Pa., admits he was intimidated by the class as an incoming freshman, but credits the course with giving him the confidence to present in front of other business professionals and teaching him how to conduct in-depth business research and analysis.
"The most valuable thing that we learn in GBP is how to do real business research, analyses, and present that material in a clear and concise manner," Hackenberry said. "If we can do it with one company our first semester of college, we will be able to do it with any company by the time we graduate."
Hackenberry, as well as Brett Yarnall, an accounting major from East Stroudsburg, Pa., both went on to become GBP coaches their sophomore year, roles that allowed them to guide first-year students through the project-intensive course.
"As a coach, I was an extra resource for my group, which allowed them to become more comfortable with the work and the process throughout," said Yarnall.
This year, more than 40 teams of students evaluated Sonic Drive-In, presenting their ideas for how the business could expand.
Hackenberry offered some words of wisdom for the next group of freshmen entering GBP.
"Communicate efficiently and trust your team members and coach," he said. "You need to be supportive of your teammates. They have different strengths than you and you might be surprised if you allow them to do what they are good at. And remember your coach has been through this before."