seal  Purdue News

April 20, 2004

Krannert enhances undergraduates' communication, team skills

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Responding to requests from students and industry recruiters, Purdue University's Krannert School of Management is providing its undergraduates training in team building and a new undergraduate management communication center.

Gerald J. Lynch

Gerald J. Lynch, associate dean of programs and student services, said through a combination of the school's strategic plan, administrative brainstorming and listening to students "we decided to use some of our new funds to round out the undergraduate experience."

The new funds are coming from a portion of the $800 increase in fees instituted last fall for undergraduate management majors. Most of the money from the increase is being used to fund the hiring of 20 new full-time faculty members primarily devoted to the undergraduate program.

Lynch, who also is an economics professor, said undergraduates expressed a desire to learn more about the team-based approach to working on the business "cases" that Krannert professors use in junior and senior classes. Cases are complex real or fictional business situations and problems to which students apply business theory, propose solutions, and then defend them.

Starting next fall, every Krannert sophomore will take a two credit-hour team dynamics course that also will introduce the theory and practice of business case analysis.

"The class will be taught by a human resources professor and cover how to work effectively in teams," Lynch said. "MBA students will assist, which addresses another expressed undergraduate desire – having more contact with our master's degree students."

MBA students also will assist a full-time professional director in the new undergraduate communication skills center to be set up in the Krannert Building. The mission of the lab will be to help undergraduate students present data and information – in papers, resumes, PowerPoint presentations and interviews – more effectively.

"For example, students will do mock employment interviews that will be videotaped and critiqued by MBA students who have significant work experience," Lynch said.

MBA students also will assist in beefing up the undergraduate career placement effort.

Lynch said the enhancements to the undergraduate program also address what corporate recruiters say they want in employees – communication skills in addition to a solid academic foundation.

"We look at the enhancements as being like an emery stone to polish our students' analytical educational experience," Lynch said.

The Krannert School has 2,534 undergraduate management majors, 307 MBA students and 111 doctoral students.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Source: Gerald J. Lynch, (765) 494-4388,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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