Taking Care of Business: Experiential Course Connects Students & Alumni
Since its inception in 2014, St. Lawrence’s Business Case Study course has provided students with the tools needed to analyze real-world industry problems while developing thoughtful solutions. The best part? The alumni network and local business owners are there to offer expert insight.
This spring, students studying economics, business in the liberal arts, sociology, government, psychology, global studies, performance and communication arts, and environmental studies immersed themselves in the business industry. Embracing the transformative nature of experiential learning at St. Lawrence, they examined corporate missions and business models, collaborated on business arguments, and explored potential careers with the help of familiar experts.
“As part of this course, St. Lawrence alumni volunteer to Zoom in from where they live and work to discuss their professional careers,” said Adjunct Professor Marty Whalen ’84. “They provide a real-world component to the course while forging career networking connections with students.”
During this year’s business case study competition, students put their knowledge to the test as they analyzed business mogul Elon Musk’s technology initiatives, product development, and profitability in the Harvard Business School case, “Elon Musk’s Big Bets.”
“I chose this case because of its complexity,” Whalen said. “It had several components, across several industries, with Elon Musk at the helm. Students examined financial data, risk management, and Musk’s leadership while reviewing other business factors before recommending reasoned strategies for profitability.”
Tapping into the power of St. Lawrence’s No. 4 ranked alumni network and North Country connections, the competition was judged by local businesspeople, a lawyer, and officers of St. Lawrence County’s Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Development Agency: Rainbow Crabtree ’99, Ben Burds ’11, John Collins ’92, Brooke Rouse ’06 and Patrick Kelly.
“The Laurentian network is critical to the success of this course,” said Director of Career Connections Geoff Falen. “This experience helps students expand their professional networks with members of the Laurentian community. The wide range of industries and organizations reviewed gives students insight to make informed decisions about the career paths they choose after graduation.”
“As an alumna and former economics major, it has been rewarding to teach the course for the past two years,” Whalen said. “It’s great to see students from so many disciplines exploring potential business career interests, collaborating to develop innovative presentations for the culminating case competition, and defending their solutions by fielding questions from the panel of expert judges, most of whom are alumni.”
Learn more about our Alumni Network