Student uses Bloombert terminal before class

Finance Department gains new experiential learning partner

The FSB Finance Department has become a Bloomberg Experiential Learning Partner, giving students faster access to more in-depth information, from stock prices to returns, allowing peer comparisons between companies. “By having that tool accessible to students and accessible in the classroom, it allows them to really look at what's going on in real time in the markets, not just a textbook example,” Finance chair Joel Harper explained.

Harper said more than a hundred students each year take the Bloomberg Market Concepts Course, which gets them familiar with the Bloomberg skills, what's on Bloomberg and how to use Bloomberg’s information in their coursework and in case competitions.

“I think the biggest benefit for students is that they are learning an industry tool that allows them to go into their first job and be very familiar with what is already being used. They go up the learning curve much faster, and it makes them stand out above other potential hires,” he said.

Melissa Thomasson headshot

Melissa Thomasson takes helm of Economics

After 14 years of leading the department, George Davis stepped down over the summer, returning to teaching and Melissa Thomasson became chair. “It seemed like the department and the university has enjoyed a series of many successful years. But as we know, times are changing and I was up to the challenge of seeing if we could continue to have great things happen,” Thomasson said.

“My short-term goal is to expand our portfolio of experiential learning opportunities, to get a broader portfolio. So we'll have maybe some case competition sponsored by corporations, maybe smaller in-class projects that don't necessarily go on a trip but a variety of different experiential opportunities that students can have across the major,” she explained.

Thomasson leads the department after more than two decades of working within it. “I think what's been interesting to see in the time that I've been at Miami is that we have tripled the number of majors. We don't have many more faculty, and yet at the same time, we've significantly increased one-on-one student engagement,” Thomasson said. “That's something that we're proud of and looking to expand on going forward.”

Woman looks at screen in class

Information Systems and Analytics adds graduate program

The Department of Information Systems and Analytics has becomes the third Farmer School program to add a graduate study component. “There's a market for it. There's a huge dearth in the job market for analytics skills. And there are a lot of students who graduate from across campus who struggle to find employment at the level or compensation they desire,” department chair Skip Benamati explained. “So we created a program that those students could step into for two extra semesters and leave further credentialed and enabled to not only be a psychologist or a biologist or a sports management executive or fashion designer, but they can also have strong data skills to apply in whatever discipline they choose.”

The new program has both the extra year option and the 3+1 option, similar to Economics and Accounting. “It's interesting that some of our ISA students are actually going to do it, students that are in our minor or our IS students who didn't get the double major, but now because they can leave with a masters in four years, they're doing it,” Benamati noted. “That may help keep more students here for longer. Students that can graduate early might instead stick around.”

Jan Taylor talks to students during the first day of classes

Marketing debuts new skills-based curriculum

Farmer School first-year students majoring in marketing are taking advantage of a whole new curriculum developed by the department last year. “We were looking at skills that marketing majors needed and realized, partly because of the skills taught in the First-Year Integrated Core, we were sort of moving and shifting towards a skillsbased curriculum. So what do we need to do in marketing? What are the marketing skills that they need?” Gillian Oakenfull remarked. “We felt like the knowledge areas were just shifting so quickly that anything we did for four years was going to be out of date before anybody graduated.”

The result is five new core classes for marketing majors: an analytics course, a course on developing customer insights, a branding course that features more digital skills, and a course on strategic thinking and decision-making for marketing.

“Now we're working on developing electives that will be in place that flow from those new core courses,” Oakenfull said. “Then we'll look at our capstone projects -- Strategy Works, Highwire, Foresight -- and see to what extent we need to either change them or bring in new capstones that flow from those skills that they get in the required courses.”

Students talk during a weekend program

Entrepreneurship’s Social Innovation Weekend adds new track for professionals

The John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship’s Social Innovation Weekend’s third iteration will be similar to previous years, but different in one big way.  “We focus on bringing entrepreneurial mindset, tactics, solutions, and toolsets to try to solve a big problem that we face as society. This time around, we're focused on food insecurity,” professor Michael Conger said.  

“We have a student participant track, which is kind of a hackathon-Startup Weekend style track, where students work in teams and choose some aspect of the problem to work on together. It’ll be teams with a mix of business students, global health students, nutrition students, etc,” Conger explained. “But this year, there will also be professional teams that are coming from startups in Cincinnati, government agencies, maybe even some big companies sending small teams of people who want to work on a problem related to food insecurity that they are taking on at their organization.”

“Hopefully, we all learn a lot going into this, we all have a great experience doing it, and a lot of ripple effects come out of this, such as some new projects, lots of new partnerships, lots of new ideas,” he said. “We hope that the effect of this weekend will echo for some time.”

Students make a presentation

Management Department works to create Supply Chain Excellence Center

In the coming months, Management chair Bryan Ashenbaum hopes to bring a new center to the Farmer School of Business that focuses on supply chain and logistics. “A center would be useful for housing all the activities that would connect the students and the research, active faculty, and outside stakeholders,” he explained. “Everything from companies who want to recruit, to companies who want to get in with the research activities of the faculty, companies that want to be part of a larger group of industry experts and periodically benefit from those networks and connections and wisdom that come from annual or semi-annual gatherings.”

“Our strength clearly is the pipeline to the student talent. One of the value propositions that Miami primarily puts forth is the specialized recruiting pipeline directly to our students, who we feel are stronger in many cases than at other schools,” he explained. “So the center will have a corporate partnership program. These corporate partners will, for a nominal annual fee, get specialized access to student recruiting for the majors that they want, lots of events to connect them to that student pipeline of talent. They will come in for periodic forums and round tables where they can share their wisdom and knowledge and network with other industry experts.”

Accountancy professors visit a Chicago company

Accountancy faculty visit Chicago companies to learn real-world use of curriculum.

While many people spent their winter term some place warmer than Oxford, about a dozen Accountancy faculty members instead went to the Windy City to get an idea about how well the department’s curriculum prepares students for the real world.  The faculty spent a week visiting Chicago-based public accounting firms, corporations, finances services companies, technology firms, and retail companies.

“We wanted to learn what they're doing, see how new technologies and the transformation to digital is disrupting their business, and how it's changing their business,” department chair Andrew Reffett explained. “Along with that, we wanted to learn the different attributes of employees that they're looking to hire and the attributes that they perceive as being important or necessary for employees to ascend to leadership positions.”

“It was a really good learning experience and it really supported our efforts to make sure that our curriculum is structured in a way that we're developing the skills and the knowledge in our students that they need to be successful,” Reffett said. “It largely confirmed the track that we are on, in terms of what companies are looking for in new employees, is a correct one.”