22, No. 14, Feb. 20, 2003
As the world of business
changes, so does the UI College of Commerce and Business Administration.
The college has developed a blueprint for a new model of business school
where teamwork, entrepreneurship, technology and diversity will be emphasized
in an ongoing program of self-improvement.
"Our goal is that our students, when they enter an organization,
are able to hit the ground running, not just in academic and analytic
skills, but in interpersonal and practical business skills," said
Avijit Ghosh, dean of the college.
To better reflect its mission, the school is changing its name to the
College of Business. The proposal was passed by the UI Board of Trustees
at its meeting
Feb. 12. "We teach about business," Ghosh explained. "Commerce
is not a word in common parlance today." Under the proposal, the
word "administration" will be dropped because "it does
not give the sense of entrepreneurship we want to create."
Undergraduate curriculum should reflect the fact that navigating rapid
economic change has become critical in business life. Ghosh also believes
learning to work together in a business environment that is "inherently
global and diverse" is crucial for future leaders.
"Business leaders need to have interpersonal skills along with
analytic skills. Our students need to learn how to interact with each
other and do successful group projects, which includes learning shared
accountability and responsibility as a way of working with diverse groups
Ghosh said Illinois will develop vigorous student internship programs,
not only in the summer, but also during the academic year, by working
with Champaign area businesses. In "An Agenda for Excellence,"
a paper outlining the college’s goals, Ghosh wrote of the need
to expand or create programs in private equity, new venture creation
and the digital economy.
The business school hopes to marry its traditional strengths in finance,
accounting and marketing with the university’s strengths in technology
and science. This means not only working with the engineering and agriculture
colleges, but also helping students participate in incubator companies
at the university’s research park.
Ghosh emphasized that changes in undergraduate and MBA (master of business
administration) curricula will be gradual, taking the proven course
work of the present and directing it to new horizons. He cites, for
example, a marketing course that will teach not only the fundamentals
of selling retail goods, but also new technology products.
"Our overall vision is to emphasize professional business education,"
he said. There are "tremendous possibilities" to organize
symposia and seminars to promote interaction among students, faculty
and industry professionals.
The impetus for greater technology training comes in part from feedback
by corporate recruiters and in part by observing changes in the marketplace.
"We have a philosophy of continuous improvement. This is how business
organizations work, and this is how we need to work."
New initiatives under way to improve education and research include
developing accounting methods for better measuring business "value
drivers" such as technology, processes and other intangible assets.
This research is being funded by a $2.8 million pledge from the accounting
In addition, the college has opened the Center for Enterprise Development
at the Illinois Research Park and Incubator and the Office for the Study
of Private Equity and Entrepreneurial Finance.
The technology and management minor for undergraduates in business will
be expanded in future years, said Ghosh, as will international business
education conducted through course work. The college’s blueprint
paper noted that "today’s business leaders must make all
their decisions with a global perspective. To prepare such business
leaders, the college needs to ensure a global perspective in all its
New emphasis on teamwork and entrepreneurship
at business school reflected in new name
(217) 333-0568; email@example.com
by Bill Wiegand
in a name?
Avijit Ghosh is dean of the newly named College
of Business. The new title will more accurately
reflect the college’s mission and will enhance
recruitment of prospective students and corporate