Translating learning experiences into marketable skills
Eusebio Scornavacca, John and Margaret Thompson Professor of Management Information Systems // Manuel Sampedro, MBA ’99, Verizon senior vice president – field operations
We prepare our students for what they might encounter on the job. So we turn the real world into their sandbox.
“We’re always looking for ways to translate learning opportunities into marketable skills that will make our students successful,” says Eusebio Scornavacca, the John and Margaret Thompson Professor of Management Information Systems in UB’s Merrick School of Business.
Recently, Scornavacca’s UB/Towson MBA students went head to head in a case study competition to develop solutions to an actual business problem faced by communications giant Verizon: understanding how the company can make money and continue to grow using the technology it currently provides—and how it can best invest its resources for the future. And the contest provided another opportunity to experience a situation increasingly common in the global business environment, as the students developed and presented their solutions—and even interacted with a Verizon executive—entirely online.
During the event, seven teams of five students analyzed trends in the marketplace for network providers (Verizon and its competitors) in terms of mobility; high-quality, high-speed data connections; and desirable service plans. They collaborated in online forums to research the problem and created slide presentations delivered via streaming video online; in that virtual environment, they were also able to ask questions and receive feedback from Manuel Sampedro, MBA ’99, Verizon senior vice president - field operations.
Sampedro and Scornavacca evaluated the presentations, and the two teams whose work they judged to be most effective split $3,500 in scholarships from the Verizon Foundation. At a culminating awards ceremony, many of the participants met Sampedro in person for the first time.
“When I was at UB, some of the most memorable classes were those where we’d bring someone in from the business environment,” Sampedro recalls. “It connects the dots between what’s really happening out in the world and what they are learning in the classroom.”