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Dynamic Learning Community : Executive Briefing Sessions Test MBA Business Communication Skills

Executive Briefing Sessions Test MBA Business Communication Skills
OpticsReport CEO Kathleen Perkins (left) hosts an executive briefing session with first-year Eller MBA students Allesondra Gronager and Mollie Schane.
Photo by Thomas Veneklasen.

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October 2010

By Liz Warren-Pederson

First-year Eller MBA students — now at the mid-point of their initial semester in the program — participated in high-stakes executive briefings as part of an in-class simulation designed to test their managerial communication skills.

The kicker? They presented to high-profile working executives.

David Goldstein (president, Diamond Ventures), Kathleen Perkins (CEO, OpticsReport), Tom Miller (Action Coach Solutions), and Susan Butler (CEO, Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders) all volunteered their time to interact directly with the students during the October 12 presentations, followed by a networking lunch.

“Our assignment was to persuade an executive, Kathleen Perkins, to sign off on a product launch,” explained Allesondra Gronager (MBA ’12). She and teammate Mollie Schane have spent the semester studying Nike as part of their business communication class.

“We all role-played in the briefing,” Schane said. “Ally was a marketing executive and I was a sales executive. Kathleen played our VP of marketing.”

“Mollie and I requested a $40 million marketing campaign budget for Nike’s newly-launched running shoes, the Lunarglides+2,” Gronager said.

To prep for their presentations, senior lecturer Diza Sauers had the students analyze past presentations, some successful and others not. “Seeing others in the same situation gave me a better perspective of what would be expected of me,” Gronager said.

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