BBA capstone highlights leadership skills

In the Goizueta BBA capstone, students practice problem-solving skills in situations characterized by ambiguity. Challenging students to generate informed, well-researched recommendations integrating functional area knowledge, the capstone course—newly incorporated into the BBA core curriculum—aims to enhance a student’s capacity to engage in concrete, logistical analysis.

“It’s what employers are requesting, so that’s what we are preparing them for,” says Anna Hobby Gibbons, BBA advisement and academic programming director. “We want to give them the confidence to say, ‘I may be working at a marketing firm, and my job may be data analytics, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pull on something I learned in accounting or finance.’ We want to give them the confidence that they have a very strong business foundation and toolkit to access.”

Overseen by Charles Frame, assistant professor in the practice of marketing, the course requires students to complete two modules led by various professors. The following examples suggest the diversity of faculty offerings:

• Business law professor Allison Burdette directed a module asking students to explore water rights amid the Flint, Michigan, water crisis.

Reshma Shah, associate professor in the practice of marketing, teamed up with a professor from Kennesaw State University to offer a creativity and innovation class that focused on idea formation.

Tom Smith, assistant professor in the practice of finance, led a module on healthcare and hospital bed needs.

• In partnership with the Harlem Globetrotters, marketing professor Mike Lewis spearheaded a module asking students how a brand can remain relevant while staying true to its history.

• Deloitte, one of the industry firms involved, asked students how to reposition yesterday’s department store for success within today’s marketplace.

Students, who meet on Thursday evenings, are divided into groups and presented with a problem to resolve. On Friday morning, students return to continue their work. That evening, teams present their solutions to a council of professors, industry professionals, and peers.

As Gibbons explains, “All of this takes place in less than 24 hours, and that’s a major goal of the program. Our students are very comfortable with knowing at what point they must turn in a polished assignment. But what happens when you get that 4:00 p.m. phone call on Friday and your boss wants it by Monday? The capstone course is nontraditional, but it’s a really cool experience for the students.”

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