Friday, November 15, 2013

How Is Gabelli Training Its Sophomores for the Business World?

Fordham's Gabelli School of Business always brags about its integrated core, which include cohorts, but what does it mean to be in a cohort? Coming to Fordham, I did not understand the cohorts at all, but now that I am living through cohort, I understand it a lot better. This is the concept.

During sophomore year, the business students sign up for a cohort instead of individual classes. In signing up for a cohort, students sign up for seven classes, which are taken with the rest of the cohort. The classes include: Financial Accounting, Principles of Marketing, Information Systems, Strategy 1, Management 1, Business Communications, and an Integrated Project class. While this seems like a lot of classes, some of them only meet once each week instead of twice. In addition to the cohort, students sign up for one elective. Personally, I am taking Introduction to Old Testament as my elective because I am working on a theology minor. Below is a picture of my schedule so that you can see how it works!

In each cohort, all of the students signed up for that particular cohort take all of their integrated core classes together (i.e. the seven classes previously mentioned). Although it seems weird to have practically the same schedule as everyone else in your cohort, it really allows you to get to know everyone else! It also makes scheduling meeting times with your Integrated Project team much easier.

The Integrated Project is really the most important aspect of the cohort because it really prepares the business students for the real world of business. Within each cohort, the students are broken up into teams. Each team is then assigned a company. For the entire semester, the team researches the company to identify threats and opportunities for the company, culminating in a final presentation at the end of the semester, which identify a solution to the company's opportunity or threat.

 My Integrated Project Team

While this may sound overwhelming, Fordham really has done an excellent job of preparing this Integrated Project in a way that makes it manageable to the sophomores, who are just starting to learn about the ways of business. Throughout the semester, each team has to complete deliverables, which are handed in to specific professors based on their topics. For example, the deliverable that focuses on the implementation of the team's suggested course of action for the company is handed in to the Accounting professor. However, the deliverable that focuses on the market in which the company competes is handed in to the Marketing professor.

Whenever a deliverable is due, each team then meets with the professor for a 10-minute "speed meeting." During this time, each team is given individual time with their professors in order to discuss the progress that the team is making. The professors also give feedback on any ideas or questions the teams may have. Thus, each team is given real professional advice on their ideas.

This year's companies are Take-Two Interactive Software, Pier 1 Imports, Safeway, Chipotle, Green Mountain, and Under Armour. I have a team of six people, and we were assigned to Take-Two Interactive Software. In case you do not recognize this company, you might be more familiar with their products, mainly the Grand Theft Auto series. Throughout the semester, my team and I have gotten to know each other very well because of our weekly meetings as well as random team bonding moments.

 We celebrated the end of midterms with cupcakes!

Although the Integrated Project is a lot of work, it is an amazing opportunity. Not only is it giving us an experience that will prepare us for the business world after we graduate, but it is also a great thing to put on a resume. When looking for internships, it is great to be able to say that not only are you learning business practices in your classes, but you are also putting them into action! 

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