Summer Business 2013, Week 3: Credit Card Bills, M&Ms and Cosmo magazine

After learning about some of the technical side of business last week, Week 3 of Summer Business switched gears and worked through business ethics, personal finance, global business, advertising and personal branding.

Bill Liesman ’72, on Monday, and Tom Patton ’86, on Wednesday, anchored the week with discussions of business ethics. The students dove into case studies and found themselves debating amongst themselves the ethics behind business scenarios involving hiring, firing, expense reports, etc.

Prof. Anderton introduced the students to Personal Finance and Mutual Funds. Not only did he give lots of great tips on how the students should manage their money (i.e. avoid credit card debt!) but he also introduced them to websites and resources that could be used for researching mutual funds. The student groups were all assigned a specific fund, too, and then given time to research the fund and present their findings to the entire student group.

Thursday was jam packed and full of exciting sessions. Stu Graham ’67 spent the morning regaling the students with stories about his experience with an international construction company. Particularly interesting was the ethical plan that Stu described as being in place at his company; everyone was impressed to think about how ethical business practices can – and are – implemented even in large global companies.

Then, Thursday afternoon Jim Mullins ’95, Global Initiatives Director at Mars Inc, got everyone’s blood sugar up with the 100lbs of chocolate bars he brought with him. Jim talked to the students about what it’s like to work for a large private family-owned company. The students got to hear about, and sample, a variety of Limited Edition candies and got to work as teams on a case study to come up with a creative solution to a problem from several decades ago.

Rounding out a full week of classes, Friday morning was split between a session entitled “Getting Your First Job”, with Mary Donahue Quinlan ’76 from Cosmopolitan magazine, and a session on Advertising with Julie Halpin ’84. Both sessions were incredibly well received and very interactive.

Mary kicked the day off being brutally honest with the students about what they need on their resumes (think: internships not just ice cream scooping), how to write a cover letter (think: brief and readable not a term paper) and what to wear to that first interview (ironed not wrinkled and, for the girls, definitely not white boots). She also stressed to the students the importance of follow-up. I don’t think any student who was in that session will ever again conclude a cover letter with “…and I look forward to hearing from you.” Follow-up is on you, Mary told the students.

Then Julie had the challenge of being the final session on Friday afternoon at the end of a long week of classes. However, it s clear that her information on advertising got a lot of the students very excited. After giving the students an overview of the industry the students started diving into actual current advertising campaigns. Julie’s experience having started and run her own firm elicited a lot of questions from the students and it certainly seemed like her session quite likely sparked newfound interest with some of the students.

Julie will be back with the students on Monday morning for another half day session and she sent them off to the weekend with some homework: first, create a new product in an assigned category and put together a brief campaign and, second, find a favorite tv commercial and bring it in for “show-and-tell”. Check back in the next post for the results!

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Helene Horan ’06
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies