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Executive Lessons

Business students gain valuable insight from experienced alumni and friends.

The best way to learn is by doing, but if you can’t do that, the next best thing is to learn from those who have already done it. Students, faculty and alumni of the Dicke College of Business Administration are well acquainted with the benefits of both.

The college’s faculty and staff know that its graduates will face certain issues and situations as they head into the workforce that can’t be effectively communicated within a traditional classroom. To help them prepare, the college held its inaugural “Executive Week” from Sept. 5-7, linking the experiences of its faculty, alumni, staff and friends with the high-impact learning of its students.

Ohio Northern University Dicke College of Business Administration juniors participate in the etiquette dinner at The Inn at Ohio Northern University.The week’s activities kicked off Sept. 5 with a keynote and panel discussion on gender and diversity issues in the workplace led by Mike Kaufmann, BSBA ’85, CFO of Cardinal Health and a leading figure in the area of issues affecting women in the workforce. Featuring panelists Deann Newman, BSBA ’83, University Provost Maria Cronley, and Sheryl (Haushalter) Sopher, BSBA ’92, the discussion centered on the roles and experiences of both men and women in the workplace. It also shed some light on gender-equity issues in the workplace, a topic that really resonates with students.

“The panel discussion helped me gain a greater knowledge and feel on how to become a successful woman in the business world,” says Lindsay Walden, a junior management major from Ada, Ohio. “In addition, I learned ways I can support other women and men in the business environment, as well as several tips on how to make my voice heard when I am in a meeting surrounded by men or people who are not my peers.”

The week also included the inaugural etiquette dinner on Sept. 6 at The Inn at Ohio Northern University, which was attended by all juniors in the college and several faculty, staff and guests. 

Led by Tallene Eichelberger, a certified etiquette trainer and general manager of The Inn, the event aimed to educate students about proper etiquette at networking events and during business dining experiences. Sponsored by alumni Jay Molter, BSBA ’81, and Terri (Henby) Molter, BSPh ’81, the event provided a rare opportunity for students to practice essential networking skills in a unique but realistic setting.

Third-year pharmacy student Madison Gebhart participates in an introduction exercise during a presentation from Scott Malaney, president and CEO of Blanchard Valley Health System.“I enjoyed the etiquette dinner the most because it was an event that was saturated with information I otherwise would not know,” says Phillip Pfister, a junior pharmaceutical/healthcare business major from Columbus, Ohio. “It was a great opportunity to have interactions with faculty and students alike in a new setting.”

Networking and professionalism were the focus of the final event Sept. 7: a seminar led by Scott Malaney, CEO of Blanchard Valley Health System. Malaney spent the afternoon talking to students about sharpening their skills related to professional interactions in the workplace, interviewing and résumé-building.

Within its professional network, the College of Business Administration has access to a large pool of professionals from virtually every type of industry, including many alumni. Both friends and alumni of ONU have proven to be an indispensable resource to both the University and its students time and time again. These professionals have so much experience and knowledge to pass on, and the students, in turn, gain valuable insight and networking.

It is great to hear these professionals’ real-life stories, learn from their lessons and take their advice,” Walden says. “It’s also a great opportunity for students to realize their future potential. By meeting and listening to so many distinguished alumni, we can see how far our ONU educations can get us in the business world. By having these opportunities, the college strengthens our alumni relations, which can give current students more opportunities for internships and career relationships.

Executive Week is just one example of the high-impact learning practices that have led to the college’s success. Community outreach, student competitions, campus clubs and mentorships offer students valuable experience to complement their rigorous curriculum. Internships are required, 53 percent of which result in full-time employment after graduation, and all seniors complete a yearlong capstone project. The return on investment for students is high, considering graduates earn impressive starting salaries at top employers throughout the country.

“Events such as Executive Week prepare our students for the workforce – sharpening their soft skills to help further distinguish our graduates and separate them from their peers,” says John C. Navin, dean of the College of Business Administration. “These are the types of high-impact events that have a significant impact on our students and make ONU and the College of Business Administration such a special place to receive an education.”