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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Students Learn Innovation, Leadership at Business Intensive Seminar

Students collaborate on the problem-solving component of the seminar, where groups must devise a strategy to save a failing company.

by Elise Goitia '18

Knox students had the opportunity to be immersed in the world of business during the 2017 Business Intensive Seminar, where they spent four days focused on leadership and innovation.

Jim Foley '78, director of the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship at Bradley University, acted as the seminar's lead facilitator. With some of his colleagues, he led business sessions that complemented Knox's academic program and included topics such as effective communication, emotional intelligence, business fundamentals, and entrepreneurship.

"The idea is to help students recognize that a liberal arts discipline and business will likely be intertwined in their career in some way," said Foley. "They understand the importance of academia from a business perspective at a high-performing liberal arts school."

Jane Strode Miller '81 provided funding for the Business Intensive Program. With her extensive background in business as a "turnaround expert," innovative problem-solving became a key element of the program.

Along with the business sessions, 25 students from various fields of study were tasked to analyze a struggling company and come up with real-world solutions. They worked in small teams and later presented in front of a panel of Knox alumni judges.

"It was hard work, but the experience was realistic," commented Deja Jenkins '19. "I'm thinking of minoring in business or arts administration now because this made me realize I can be a creative writing person and still do business."

"It's a great opportunity," added Terrie Saline, director of the Bastian Family Career Center. "They learn about themselves in way that once they give their presentation, they know what they're doing. They do the research, the analysis, and then their team pulls everything together."

Miya Connors '19, a creative writing and anthropology and sociology double major, said the program appealed to her because she was intrigued to see how business could tie into her fields of study.

"I want to get into field ethnographic work," she said. "I found a lot of connections with what I learned in business with ethnography, especially with the customer development model we learned. I feel like I could really combine those skills after this program."

"It pushed me to do my best and gave me an idea of what the business world is like," she added.

This year's Business Intensive took place right after spring term classes ended. The students who participated had just completed their first or second year at Knox, and they were nominated by faculty members. 

"What I'm learning through this program will directly help me with the rest of my school time here, and for the future, post-graduation," said Morgan Potter '19, a biology major and chemistry minor. "It was great."

Alumni panelists who judged the students' presentations were:

  • Joe Bastian '67, Retired, Owner/CEO-Panera Bread Franchisee
  • Dan Spaulding '99, Vice President of People and Culture, Zillow Group
  • Helen Lin '94, Vice President, Goldman Sachs
  • Nyerere Billups '99, Associate Director, Early Development and Project Management Office for Janssen: A Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson
  • Jordi Prats '85, Director, Global Solutions Development - Maritz Motivation Solutions
  • Scott Westerman '84, Executive Vice-President and General Manager - Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits

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Students attended the four-day Business Intensive Seminar 2017, where they learned valuable business skills.

#“I’m thinking of minoring in business or arts administration now, because this made me realize I can be a creative writing person and still do business.” — Deja Jenkins ‘19

Knox College

Printed on Wednesday, June 12, 2024