When one thinks of a business school, thoughts of applying accounting, finance, information systems, management, marketing, and supply chain to large, public corporations come to mind. However, this past fall, our sophomore students did something a little different: they applied their business skills to assist local organizations as part of a service-learning course. The numbers speak volumes: 435 students donated 8,700 hours of service to 43 different organizations. Through their work, our students impacted the lives of young children, elderly people, disadvantaged people, and neglected animals.

For the final presentation of the semester, each student group provided a five-minute summary of their experience demonstrating their ability to apply skills to a real-world setting and to effectively communicate the results of their experiences. As I judged their presentations, it was amazing to hear how this experience changed their perspective, and how impacting others had impacted them. When I asked them to summarize their greatest learning experience, it was not related to business, but to their awareness of others and the impact they can have, even now while they’re still in school. What a wonderful message for these young people to reflect upon during the holiday season.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that you will have a healthy and happy 2010.