The New YSU! Business College Impacts Community

By Betty Jo Licata, dean of the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Recently, I had an interesting discussion with students when I asked, “Who are the customers of the Williamson College of Business Administration?” Initially, of course, the answer was “we are.” Upon further thought and discussion, the students agreed that prospective employers are also our customers.

In the Williamson College of Business Administration, we are committed to providing our undergraduate and graduate students with rigorous academic preparation that emphasizes applied learning, career-related experience and the top four skills employers demand: problem-solving, communication, teamwork and leadership. Our students’ educational experience is designed to develop knowledge and skills through internships, consulting projects, student organizations and professional certifications.

Internships are one of the hallmarks of a WCBA education. Our Center for Career Management has been instrumental in expanding our internship program and the full-time placement of our graduates. This past year, 59% of graduates completed at least one paid credit-bearing internship and these students have a significantly higher placement rate than students without an internship.

Internships are one way in which our students apply their knowledge and skills in the business world. This past year, more than 700 students also completed consulting projects for 117 businesses and nonprofits. Projects included marketing plans, human resource audits, exporting plans, advertising campaigns, web site design and cost analyses.

To compete in the business world, our students are completing degree requirements and earning professional certifications that provide nationally recognized verifications of specific skills. IISE Lean Certification, IIE Six Sigma, Microsoft Technology Associate, Google Analytics, HootSuite and Certified Global Business Professional are examples of the certifications that are incorporated in some courses.

Our commitment to the region extends to supporting economic development and building a strong community.

This year, our Small Business Development Center and Export Assistance Network served 392 SBDC clients and 136 exporting clients. This resulted in 20 new businesses, four companies that began to export, 150 new jobs, 800 retained jobs, $520 million in sales growth and $8.3 million in capital formation. This is an exceptional return on investment of state and federal funding for the SBDC and EAN.

Our Center for Nonprofit Leadership is instrumental in developing professionals and business leaders who will serve nonprofits. Through our Pay It Forward initiative, students raise the money, issue a request for proposal, and select the grant recipient. Students also conduct annual organizational assessments, commit their time to serving nonprofits and co-lead our WCBA Dare to Care Day.

Faculty excellence is key to preparing students and impacting our community. We are fortunate to welcome six new faculty members with expertise in operations management, management information systems, accounting information systems and accounting.

Our faculty’s accomplishments have been recognized with national and state awards. Dr. Marsha Huber received the American Accounting Association/J. Michael and Mary Anne Cook/Deloitte Foundation Prize for teaching excellence, Dr. Kendra Fowler received the Best Paper Award in the integrated marketing communications category at the Association of Marketing Theory and Practice annual meeting and Dr. Karin Petruska received the Ohio Society of CPAs’ Outstanding Educator Award.

The excellence of our students, faculty, staff, programs and services is recognized with accreditation by The Association for Collegiate Schools of Business. Only 5% of business schools worldwide have earned this accreditation, and we are proud that our commitment to innovation, impact and engagement is recognized by AACSB.

We welcome the opportunity to continue to develop tomorrow’s business leaders.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.