July 20, 2011

Business Learning Community Students Take Trip, Make Important Connections

Community Group Photo

Members of the UNL Business Learning Community pose for a picture with CEO, Larry Compton, and Penworthy Bear, at the Penworthy Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 1, 2011.

Pictured from left to right: Back row: Katy Steffensmeier, Avery Tummons, Seth Mangels, Alie Bandasack, Larry Compton, Ben Young, Michael Skul, Alex Ficken, Alex Salcedo. Middle row: Rachael Dvorak, Brandy Newbanks, Macey Morgan, Kyle Pierce, Molly Deseck, Tina Martinez, Collin Vacek, Abhay Mistry, Brian Tovson, Ashley Bjurstrom, Taylor Dion, Nathan Kloxin. Front row, kneeling: Bede Bolin, Rayza Ramirez, Tegra Straight, Mary Mitenko, Nick Turner, Dylan Naranjo

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Business Learning Community students went on their annual trip in April, traveling to Milwaukee, Wisc., for three days. The group of 29 students visited the Penworthy Company, a kindergarten through fourth grade publishing company and the Harley Davidson headquarters.

The Business Learning Community is made up of 60 students who have been admitted into CBA and live on one floor in Abel Hall. They take many of the same classes and participate in activities planned specifically for them.

“These students enjoy the advantage of living among others who are going through similar academic experiences. The community also benefits from the leadership of sophomore and junior business students, who have already taken some of the classes and can offer support and advice from their own experience,”  Business Learning Community Director Bede Bolin said.

Bolin organizes the Business Learning Community trip every year by asking an alumnus of CBA to host the students and provide a tour of the company while describing different aspects of their business. This year, Bolin contacted Larry Compton, a 1970 graduate and owner of the Penworthy Company. Representatives of the company met with the students and gave presentations on a variety of business-related topics.

“When the students visit these companies, the business representatives present the function of the company and explain the strategic plan, products and the marketing plan. They also have people from the marketing and accounting departments talk to our students,” said Bolin. “Penworthy is in sales and marketing, so we had their chief marketer and salesperson come and speak to us. They have both field and in-house sales people, so we heard perspectives from both sides. The students learn a broad spectrum.”

The Penworthy employees also provided a look into their hiring practices, detailing what they look for in applicants and recommending ways to handle interviews.

Students looking at exhibit
Bolin also planned a few leisure activities during the trip. The students went to the Milwaukee Public Museum, one of the country’s largest natural history museums , took a sky box tour of Milwaukee where they learned about the history of the city and attended a Milwaukee Bucks basketball game. One aspect of the trip that freshman accounting major, Seth Mangels, appreciated was that it was affordable.

“The cost of the whole trip with two nights stay in a nice hotel, bus travel and meals was right around $100,” Mangels said. “It was a good value for a weekend with your friends while seeing inside a business, getting tips on interviewing strategies and other information about business.”

Mangels added that being part of the Business Learning Community allows him to live and study with people who are positive influences. They are also taking the same classes.

“They’re going to help you out and you can help them out. That is a great advantage. I would highly recommend the Business Learning Community, because you get to meet people who you’re going to go to class with for the next four years. You make new friends and have an awesome experience.”