March 14, 2014

Preparing for the Real World

New corporate boardroom at Isenberg
Isenberg School of Management dean Mark A. Fuller with students in the Arthur ’57 and Barbara R. Elkins Business Intelligence Boardroom.

The hands-on, real-world learning at Isenberg School of Management now includes a corporate boardroom where students can practice making presentations and other activities in a formal, business-world setting. “A key purpose of this new room is to help make students business ready,” says Mark A. Fuller, dean of the school.

Open since the start of the spring semester, students say they are eager to use the room and benefit from the experience. “This room helps us enhance our skills so we are better prepared to go out into the workforce,” says Jacqueline Judson ’16, an operations and information management major.  The practice of presenting in a boardroom will make real-world presentations “second nature and you will not feel like a deer caught in headlights,” notes Judson. Alex Silva ’15, also an operations and information management major, says, “A room like this makes students more comfortable for future encounters.”

Fuller says the room will underscore the importance of the event, requiring students to be prepared—from high comprehension of materials to wearing business attire. “This is a way to pressure test our students. We don’t want their first boardroom interaction to be in the workforce. We want to try to simulate those experiences as early and as often as possible.”

Renovations that turned a general-purpose room into the 20-seat boardroom equipped with monitors and communication technology on the first floor of the management school were completed in January thanks to a generous gift from Arthur ’57 and Barbara R. Elkins that helped defray the cost of the project. In addition to student presentations, the room, formally dedicated on March 10 and named the Arthur ’57 and Barbara R. Elkins Business Intelligence Boardroom, will be used to host distinguished alumni and will be available to faculty to use for research. The technology will allow a range of activities, from analyzing big data to staging a remote panel discussion.

Fuller, Isenberg dean since 2009, says the improvement in facilities is all part of the school’s strategic plan to become a more highly ranked business school. Areas that have been improved are undergraduate and graduate curriculum, career and professional development, and executive and corporate engagement. “These improvements and new facilities will make students more competitive,” he says.