College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Everything We Learned About Professional Responsibility


1/14/2013

by Santhosh Nandhan

On December 12, 2012, more than 500 freshman business students presented to professionals from John Deere and Abbott, College of Business faculty, and fellow students as part of the Business 101 capstone poster session. The College of Business’ introductory course, which is required curriculum for all first year business students, is focused on the development of students’ principles of professional responsibility, and their individual decision-making abilities to apply responsible values and a code of ethics.  

Much of the course builds on the concept of the “Decision-Making Framework,” represented by a series of questions that can be applied to any situation with the goal of professionally responsible analysis producing professionally responsible decisions. To observer and junior classman Ariel Jin, the value of the framework was clearly demonstrated during the poster session, “The decision-making framework they learned and applied in their analyses is definitely a huge first step forward in their journey of understanding business ethics and professional responsibility.”

This year, under the guidance of course manager Billy Tabrizi ‘12, the annual poster session was “redefined with a renewed focus on professional responsibility and practical business applications across the board.” Changes included a shift away from new product development and a refocus on company values and sustainability, along with changes in structure more closely resembling a case competition, giving students experience that will help them as they progress in their undergraduate careers.   

“This event only takes place once in a College of Business student’s career.” Tabrizi said. “It is an integral part of the learning in this course and the foundation of professional responsibility across the College.”

During the Poster Session, freshman students were broken into teams of four, and tasked with demonstrating the benefits of their assigned product to judges, who represented various key stakeholders of the firm.  

Freshman students walked away with memorable experiences. “The poster presentation was definitely one of the highlights of my freshman year so far,” said Megan Lawlor, member of winning team “Risky Business. “It was thrilling to see our work pay off when we were awarded a scholarship.” The awarding of scholarship money, another more recent addition to the event, was added with the idea of creating a sense of competition and personal stake.

The event ties together each of the course concepts and gives students a chance to demonstrate their mastery of the Decision-Making framework. According to freshman student and participant Dave Lorenc, it serves a great purpose. "[The Poster Session was] a stimulating experience that succinctly tied together everything we have learned as a class about professional responsibility."

UIUC College of Business