Now in its fourth year, the Department of Management, Marketing and International Business hosted the 4th Annual Professional Development Workshop. The two-day event, held in EKU's Business and Technology Center on November 9-10, brought together 74 students, 10 business executives, and several special guests for two days of challenging case competitions.
Developed by Dr. Beth Polin, Assistant Professor of Management, the day-long, case-competition style workshop challenged students to apply classroom learning in solving real business problems.
Beginning on Thursday evening, the 20 student teams assembled for a professional development session that covered topics including Teamwork, Brainstorming, Communication, Problem Identification, Empathy, Interpreting Data, and Business Etiquette. They were then given a case that centered on a fictional company -- BrightStart Engineering, Inc. -- that was facing a multitude of challenges including stagnant revenues and high employee turnover.
The teams worked on the case until lunchtime on Friday, when they took a break to participate in a networking luncheon at which President Benson was the keynote speaker. Students had time to chat and eat with business executives.
After lunch, students presented their case solution to the business executives who acted as judges for the competition. Five winning teams were selected for recognition, and six individual students were identified and recognized as "Most Effective Speaker." The event concluded with a case debrief with the business executives and an awards ceremony.
Winning team students were: Tessa Aminetzah, Daniel Bevins, Heather Boatman, Joshua Caplinger, Ashley Carneal, Will Davis, Kassidy Easterling, Madison Harris, Jacob Knox, Maybelline Leandra, Tim Lumbrix, Kyle Rogers, Alyssa Scharklet, Sarah Smith, Preston Spade, Dalton Stanley, Jake Wilson, and Sydney Ziebold. "Most Effective Speaker" recognitions went to: Tessa Aminetzah, Daniel Bevins, Jackson Hurtt, Jacob Knox, Abigale Wilson, and Sydney Ziebold.
Comments were positive all around. Students said they really enjoyed the experience, and many said they were already looking forward to next year's event. The Workshop gives them the opportunity to apply classroom learning to "real-world" business challenges. According to Dr. Polin, "Opportunities for application are critical in the development of business students, and this event provides just such an opportunity."
Department Interim Chair, Dr. Weiling Zhuang, said, "The Management Professional Development Workshop series is designed to offer business students the hands-on experience to apply what they learn in the classroom to solve real-world problems. During the process, students engaged in the teamwork, addressed the real business issues, and made connections with business executives and faculty. To conclude the workshop, student teams shared their thoughts on the solutions, and the panel of executive judges provided feedback and suggestions. Sincere appreciations go to those committed faculty who devoted their time and efforts to make this happen. Specifically, Dr. Polin took the leadership initiating this workshop series; Dr. Roberson and Dr. Martin served as the faculty advisors advising students and coordinating so many things throughout the process. We want to celebrate the student achievements out of the workshop, and thank those caring and committed faculty who guide students' way to success."
A special thanks to the business executives who gave so generously of their time:
- Mr. Ty Adams, Managing Director, Adams:Kinkade Design
- Mr. Chris Caldwell, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Innovative Publishing
- Mr. Duane Davis, Co-founder, Michael Neal Group
- Mr. Jeff Fultz, President, Central Bank Richmond
- Mrs. Mendi Goble, President and CEO, Richmond Chamber of Commerce
- Dr. David McFaddin, Vice President of Engagement, Regional Stewardship, and Government Relations, EKU
- Mr. Todd Jones, President, Baptist Health Richmond
- Mrs. Amy Scarborough, Vice President External Affairs, AT&T
- Mrs. Kristel Smith, Director, Kentucky Innovation Network
- Dr. Aaron Thompson, Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, Council on Postsecondary Education
- Dr. Ryan Wilson, Senior Director for Regional Planning, EKU
Polin continued that the event would not have happened without the support of faculty and staff. Dr. Tom Martin, Dr. Mike Roberson and Ms. Sandy Taylor were instrumental in the successful planning and facilitation of the event. Dr. Lana Carnes and Mr. Kevin Cumiskey served as faculty mentors to students during the case process. And last, but certainly not least, Polin was most grateful to the CBT Dean's Office, CEDET, and the MMIB Department for funding the event.