Confronting change. Adapting. Serving clients regardless of circumstances. These are the traits that a great business needs to succeed. And this is what the Sigmund Weis School of Business has been doing since March.
COVID-19 has disrupted higher education, and Susquehanna has not been immune to the disruption. I am proud of the way everybody here rallied to serve our students. First, in March, our professors moved to remote teaching with one week’s notice. I was impressed by their dedication to maintaining a high level of teaching and interaction with students when we couldn’t be face-to-face anymore.
As the pandemic intensified, we found new ways to serve students. You’ll read about some in this issue, and I’ll highlight two briefly here. When the pandemic stymied summer internship and job opportunities for our students, we worked with international partners who were able to match students with remote international internships. Thanks to generous alumni support from the Eric Stein Fund for International Internships,
Jim ’65 and Carole App, and dozens of other donors, we were able to provide these opportunities to 44 students at no cost to them. Students earned two Susquehanna credits and completed an internship which gave them valuable work experience.
A second initiative we’ve created is the Sigmund Weis School of Business Virtual Speaker Series. This semester, alumni and friends of the business school, who represent a wide variety of disciplines, are presenting over 25 virtual talks to students on diverse business-related topics. Even better, we are partnering with admissions, alumni relations and our own Center for Economics, Business, and Entrepreneurship Education to provide access to alumni, K–12 teachers and prospective students.
In other news, 2019–20 was an amazing year in which we improved our retention rate yet again. Our faculty have been studying what helps students persist through graduation and have worked hard to implement new initiatives over the past three years.
We also had a great recruiting year. Our incoming class to the business school is 20% larger than in 2019–20, with 175 students in Global Business Perspectives this fall vs. 144 in fall 2019. This is more impressive given that enrollments in peer schools are down about 6%. We’ve worked hard to improve our reputation — with guaranteed international internships, increased visibility on social media, work with our Center for Economics, Business, and Entrepreneurship Education, and more. While one year does not make a trend and we still have to keep working hard, we’d like to think our success is at least partially a result of these efforts.
I tell people that the Sigmund Weis School of Business is one of the top undergraduate business schools in the world. With the chaos created by the pandemic, 2020–21 will certainly remain challenging. But with the continuing efforts of our great faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends, I expect another great year.
Matthew C. Rousu
Dean, Sigmund Weis School of Business