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Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - Revamped SBA Scholars Program preparing tomorrow's business leaders

Plan, Do, Change, Act: The basic components of a quality process. It's exactly what the SBA does to ensure its programs are preparing students to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing global business environment.

 

That's how the SBA Scholars Program evolved into a competitive business problem-driven case competition program for students in 2011-12 academic year.

 

Through the test phase, which began in 2007 with a Chrysler Corporation grant, the SBA gauged student interest in more opportunities to participate formally in community work, faculty research, peer-to-peer mentoring and other leadership building skills. Using the information gathered in the test phase from students and employers, the SBA remodeled the program that relaunched in Fall 2011.

 

Still a competitive program based on building leadership skills, the revitalized program now has a narrower focus on ensuring students develop -- and can use -- sharp analytical skills in any business setting.

 

Scholars is structured to help students master leadership skills through professional/personal development and practical application, enhance analytical and teaming skills through three judged case competitions complete with monetary awards, and begin building a professional network through a business mentoring program and their participation at select SBA events.

 

"A case competition element highlights the strategic challenges and managerial dilemmas global business leaders face, while challenging students to work within a team, under pressure to use their leadership and analytical skills combined with their business knowledge to develop realistic, action-oriented recommendations," explains Karen Markel, faculty director, strategic initiatives and undergraduate business programs, and associate professor, management.

 

"Presenting findings and solutions to a panel of judges simulates real-world settings students will experience in their professional career -- and gives them the confidence to succeed in those settings," she adds.

 

Additionally, SBA Scholars will meet twice a month during the academic year to participate in leadership and development sessions. The sessions will focus on skill development relative to class standing and provide opportunities to learn new skills, practice and self-reflect on skill mastery on competencies selected based on feedback from business professionals and faculty members. These competencies include time management, presentation, negotiation, conflict management, process management, customer focus, interpersonal savvy and more.

 

Students must be invited to participate in this competitive program. For the 2011-12 academic year, 20 students have been selected to participate, including six sophomores, nine juniors and five seniors.

 

Watch for more information about the SBA Scholars program in the coming months.