Fogelman Focus Interactive Newsletter
Fogelman College of Business & Economics, April 2009

In this Issue...

Welcome to the Spring ’09 Fogelman College e-Newsletter

Dean Grover Looks at Revamping Undergraduate Business Programs

The Fogelman College Entrepreneurship MBA

New Fogelman College Executive MBA Project Initiative

Fogelman College Constituent Input

Fogelman College Outreach Initiatives

The Fogelman College Hosts the Disney Institute

Fogelman College Faculty News Briefs

Current Research in the Fogelman College

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Fogelman College Internships

UM Alumni Association

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For information about any of our programs please contact Dr. Tom Miller, Alumni Relations.


Phone: +1 901.678-3068

Dean Grover Looks at Revamping Undergraduate Business Programs

Undergraduate Business Programs

A centerpiece of Dean Grover’s vision for the Fogelman College is to make its degree programs responsive to the needs of the Memphis business community. Changes to the MBA programs have been implemented; the new Customer-Driven MBA program is slated to begin next fall (Fall 09.)  Now, the focus on change moves to the undergraduate degree programs.  It is just as important that our undergraduate programs are customer-focused as our graduate programs.  We have formed an undergraduate program revision committee, with representation from each of our six departments, to thoroughly review, modernize, and improve the relevance of our undergraduate degree programs.  With a great deal of input from faculty, students, and the business community, and more still coming in, this committee is considering at least five areas of program improvement and innovation.  More such areas will be considered as they come up.
  1. The four C’s.  Leaders in the Memphis business community have been telling us that while our students graduate with a solid set of academic skills, they would benefit from more interpersonal and communications skills that are necessary for achieving sweeping success in the business world.  In response, we have identified “the four C’s”: Confidence, Communication Skills (both spoken and written,) Creativity, and Emotional Control.  Extensions to these include an ethical understanding of business and such practical matters as interviewing skills.  We are determined to develop our students into graduates who can confidently make convincing presentations to corporate executives.  Graduates who can successfully sell new ideas to their companies and products to their customers.  Graduates who can create and grow new and successful companies.  `Graduates who can take the University of Memphis motto: Dreamers, Thinkers, Doers, and earn the respect of their business world colleagues while advancing their organizations and themselves.

    We intend to introduce the four C’s into our programs with the help of an “Action Board of Executives” consisting of role models from the Memphis business community.  We anticipate that this group’s planning meetings will be virtual, utilizing the latest in cyberspace technologies.  However, for student coaching, on-site participation from these business people will be required.  This coaching can range, for example, from visiting classes and critiquing presentations to coaching students on office etiquette and interviewing skills in specially offered seminars.  It will give our students and key Memphis business people a unique opportunity to get to know each other which is clearly a solid win-win proposition.

  2. Foreign University Exchange Programs.  We all know that, in terms of business, the world has gotten a lot smaller.  Yet, the rich variety of cultures around the globe persists and must be understood by business people who strive to be successful in this environment.  With this in mind, we intend to develop alliances with foreign universities to promote foreign exchange programs.  As our Fogelman College students spend time at foreign universities, they will experience how business is conducted and how people live in other countries.  They will learn about foreign cultures in ways that cannot be accomplished through textbooks.  Students in the exchange program from other lands will derive the same kinds of benefits from studying at the U of M. This exchange of cultures, and better and higher doses of international experience, will give our graduates a unique advantage in the marketplace, while also developing new connections between the foreign exchange students who study here and the Memphis business community.

  3. Match Students to Majors.  It takes people with a variety of aptitudes and skills to run a successful business.  Businesses today need a range of professionals from accountants to salespeople, to information technologists, and so forth, and each employee must be excellent at what they do.  On an individual basis, it is important to match people to the field in which they can be most successful, which is clearly to their benefit as well as to the benefit of their eventual employer.  The Fogelman College is going to begin an effort to guide its undergraduate students toward business majors at which they can excel.  This will be accomplished through the evaluation of students’ ACT/SAT scores, performance in freshman and sophomore courses, and in-depth interviews.  We want all of our students to succeed as we produce useful, practical generalists as well as knowledge specialists.

  4. Develop Flexible Degree Requirements.  Business, as we know it today, requires people who have a broad base of knowledge, who can function effectively in cross-functional teams, who can understand and make contributions not only in their immediate jobs but also in other corporate areas with which they interact.  With this in mind, we intend to review the degree requirements in the various Fogelman College majors and inject a new level of flexibility in both required and elective courses.  For example, a course in negotiation is traditionally a marketing course.  But, in today’s business world, what business school graduate would not benefit from such a course?  Thus, we are going to strive to target course selection towards students’ individual needs without their being penalized by strict degree requirements.

  5. Value Propositions for Each Major.  We want to take a step back and take a good look at each of the majors in the Fogelman College.  What should graduates of a particular major have learned to be effective in today’s business environment?  The world of business is changing too quickly for these value propositions to remain static.  We intend to review our courses and course content, adjust as necessary, and develop an atmosphere of continual course and course content review.  We want to have a set of programs in place that will produce a range of successful business graduates, while at the same time not trying to be everything to everybody.

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