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Executive Class

Executive Classroom, an innovative new course in the Dicke College of Business Administration, prepares students to lead in a changing world.


This story appears in the Fall 2013 issue of Dicke Magazine.

“Many ONU business graduates find themselves heading up cross-functional teams after only a few years in the workforce,” says Matt Lambdin, director of experiential learning at the college. “Our graduates tend to get promoted very quickly,” he explains. “This course gets them ready for these roles.”

Executive Classroom is presented through the collaboration of four professors: Lambdin; Dr. Michele Govekar, professor of management; Dr. Paul Govekar, associate professor of management; and Dr. Susan Schertzer, associate professor of marketing.

Through targeted readings, class discussions, research and networking events, students explore their leadership potential. They learn about different leadership styles, the qualities of successful leaders and the paths to leadership. The course’s cornerstone is a trip to a major metropolitan area at the end of the semester, where students interact with business leaders from a variety of industries.

“With a focus on ethics and leadership, Executive Classroom is different from the travel courses offered at other institutions,” says Dr. Paul Govekar. “It’s not just about making connections,” he explains. “Students are exposed to academic and real-life examples of ethical decision-making in order to understand its application as a leader on executive teams.”

The course debuted this spring with 11 students – nine seniors and two juniors – enrolled. Professors invited students who had demonstrated exemplary leadership in their coursework and outside activities to participate in the course.

The class met for five sessions during the semester and then traveled to Chicago from May 14 to 17 for an intense four days of meetings, networking events and cultural experiences.


Students in Executive Classroom blogged about their experiences in Chicago. Here’s what they say:

"I escaped the cornfields of Ada and immersed myself in the skyscrapers of Chicago. The city of Chicago truly has something for everyone.” – Leslie Smith, BSBA ’13

"Being able to interact with ONU business alumni was very beneficial. All of them were successful and impressive leaders in their respective fields, and they shared insights on how we could achieve the same success as we begin our careers.” – Ryan Sabol, BSBA ’13, first-year law student

"We increased our level of comfort with interacting in a professional environment with people who possess more experience than we do.” – Maria Camilla Aldana, BSBA ’13

"I encourage all students to take advantage of this opportunity because it was worth every ounce of my energy and time.” – Terryn Turner, BSBA ’13

While in Chicago, students visited the headquarters of the Chicago Bears, JPMorgan Chase, AT&T, Deloitte, On Target Performance Group, Harbor Capital Advisors, and Cook County Hospital. Executives at each location shared sage advice on topics ranging from leadership and résumé writing to work-life balance and retirement planning.

Students witnessed the downsides and upsides of living and working in a big city. They dealt with transportation problems and marveled at the city’s diversity and the fast pace of life. They sampled cultural offerings, dining at popular restaurants and taking in a Chicago Cubs game, a comedy club skit at Second City, and a theatre performance of the “Book of Mormon.” Lambdin says the visit to Chicago inspired students to not limit themselves. It gave them confidence in their ability to excel and lead in new and unfamiliar environments. A networking event with ONU alumni living and working in Chicago reinforced this message.

Ann Marie Densmore, BSBA ’13, who is returning to ONU this fall to pursue a Master of Professional Practice in Accounting, says meeting with the alumni had a huge impact on her. “Hearing their stories about how they’ve come to where they are in their lives was very insightful,” she says. “I’ve realized I need to be more confident in my skills and in what I have learned.”

ONU alumni played a vital role in the success of this first course, says Dr. Michele Govekar. “Without their assistance in providing meeting space, acting as presenters and enlisting other executive presenters, this high impact learning option would have been prohibitively expensive,” she says.

Lambdin says the 2014 class will return to Chicago. In future years, however, he plans to take Executive Classroom to other cities, such as Atlanta or New York, or even to an international location. He hopes to enlist ONU alumni in other locations who are willing to host students at their business or participate in a networking event. If you are interested in helping with a future Executive Classroom course, please contact Lambdin at or 419-772-2609. ONU