Innovative Teaching in the MBA Program
The School of Business prides itself on its relationship-driven learning and its ability to provide integrative learning experiences to students both inside and outside of the classroom. Dr. Michael Dobbs, Assistant Professor of Management and graduate faculty member, is just one example of the excellence in teaching that our faculty regularly provide to our students. Dr. Dobbs was recognized as the winner of the 2010 Outstanding Teaching Award at the School of Business Faculty Awards Ceremony. Here are just a few ways in which Dr. Dobbs' teaching reflects the excellence that is a cornerstone of the School of Business.
Taking concepts out of the classroom and into the reality of the business world is an eye-opening experience for students and an important component of the concept of integrative learning that characterizes the teaching philosophy at EIU's School of Business.
MBA students in Dr. Michael Dobbs' Strategic Management class (MBA 5000) regularly serve as strategic management consultants for area organizations. Students conduct comprehensive analyses of the organizations themselves and the political, economic, cultural, technological, and competitive environments in which they operate. Students then generate several new strategic initiatives and evaluate them to see which ones best leverage the strengths and opportunities of the organizations while addressing their most pressing weaknesses and external threats. Students then make recommendations to the organizations for new strategic directions and provide general frameworks for implementation.
Nathaniel West, owner of West Photography in Mattoon, IL, and the beneficiary of students' consultant work in the spring semester of 2011 said of the project, "It was a tremendous help, and I think it will have a tremendous effect on both the future of my business and my family."
Students have also had very positive reactions to the projects. Tristan Pisarczyk commented, "I found the project very valuable. My entire goal in pursuing an MBA was to gain practical skills that would help me to do my job better. The project gave me the opportunity to put into practice what I learned in class." Another student, Ryan Siegel, echoed those thoughts: "The strategic consulting project was extremely valuable to me, giving me a deeper understanding of how companies really operate and how companies can grow more efficiently starting with a vision, using a strategic plan, and finally implementing the plan and measuring its results."
Undergraduate students in the capstone course for all business majors (BUS 4360, Strategy and Business Policy) benefit from this real-world perspective as well. Dr. Dobbs uses hundreds of examples from the business world in case studies, videos, and interactive lectures to illustrate the principles and concepts of strategy. A student recently posted on a blog that, "Dr. Dobbs will ensure that upon completion of this course, each student will truly understand the subject matter. The exercises in the course are designed to be applicable to real world problems and not just busy work. He is readily available to listen and help and is genuinely interested in his students well being! Highly recommended!!"
The quality of instruction in the School of Business is not just benefiting students, but is having a positive impact on the local community, both now and in years to come, through applied projects like those described above, and as well-trained graduates take positions with local employers or start their own businesses providing valued products and services to the community.