Many Connections. One U.

Students Meet Mayor, Key Business Leaders

on September 4, 2009 by Janet Edwards

Maryville Students Visit with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay

The John E. Simon School of Business offers a popular one-week summer course for students interested in learning about the corporate world from professionals who work in the St. Louis area. The classes, held during the month of May, fill up quickly because of the caliber of speakers.

In most cases, guests come to classrooms, however, students also venture out for office tours and visits. Typically, students hear two speakers each day.

This summer, students met with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in his downtown office. They also toured Congregation B’nai Amoona and met with Tracy Perry, ’07, controller and Maryville alumnus.

Two other alumni – Brandon Loeschner, ’02, and Kassy Harness, ’06, ’08, both of the Rubin Brown accounting firm – spoke with Maryville students and gave them a tour of the company’s Brentwood corporate office.

Other alumni graciously shared their time with the business students, including Rick Wassman, ’81, executive director of Ride On St. Louis; Tim McCoy, ’84, retired principal partner with Edward Jones; and Toni Clogston, ’88, ’01, vice president of Elsevier.

Emphasizing the areas of marketing, accounting and management, faculty who teach the courses include: Mary Albrecht, PhD; Barbara Petzall, PhD; Karen Tabak, PhD; John Lewington, PhD; and Patricia Parker, PhD.

“The courses are designed to maximize our St. Louis location,” Tabak said. “Sitting in a classroom, students can’t visualize what it’s going to be like to be an accountant – you can’t recreate what a CPA firm feels like, so this is a great opportunity for them to explore the real world.”

Following each presentation, students do an analysis of the information they learned and put it into a regional context, she said. Homework might also include writing reflective essays and/or taking data from various sources and organizing it in such a way that students are able to assess their new knowledge, Albrecht said, adding that the latter exercise “helps close the loop” on their experience.

“It’s essential to any experiential learning that students make concrete what they’ve learned,” Albrecht said. “These classes make learning fun and interesting, and allow students to become engaged in a different way.”

Students also visited with David Myers, vice president of investor relations for Express Scripts, and  Wayne Hoffman, controller at Gershman Mortgage. Evan Waldman gave students a tour of Essex Industries and Robin Boyle spoke to students during their tour of Cambridge Industries.

Such onsite visits are invaluable to students as they develop a sense of their future careers, Tabak said. “Seeing a plant sit idle due to the economic crisis and hearing about the pain of deciding who would be laid off was very difficult for students,” she said.

Photo by Amiee Shank

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