Inside Linfield's Business Classes
Strategic Management Simulation Success
Every senior business major is required to take the capstone course, Strategic Management. In this course, students are divided into teams for the semester and are given the opportunity to work together as company co-managers on the Business Strategy Game, also referred to as “BSG.” The teams compete against their classmates in realistic global market conditions making multiple decisions in all business areas selling athletic shoes and earning points and industry ranking based on their performance. BSG not only compares the teams to their classmates but also compares them to nearly 1500 teams worldwide. Each week (one week = one year), BSG posts the global rankings of the top 50 teams, based on the Overall Game-To-Date Score. This week, two Linfield Business teams earned a spot in the Global Top 50 ranking for their performance. Team AAA Shoes (Johnson, Dahl, Cassano) achieved an overall score of 107.0, tied for the 72nd best Overall Score performance of the week, worldwide, while team Costless ShoeSource (Hight, Hight, Kikawa, Matteo) , scored 106.5, tying for the 84th best Overall Score performance of the week, worldwide. The Business Department is proud to congratulate these teams for their dedicated work and success!
Educational visit to Soter Vineyards
Two Linfield Business classes, BNSS 486 and BNAC 362, recently had the opportunity to visit Soter Vineyards. Soter Vineyards is located on Mineral Springs Ranch, a 240 acre property in Carlton, Oregon. Founded by Tony Soter, the biodynamic vineyard and ranch is managed by passionate winegrowers committed to sustainable farming. The classes took a walking tour of the property while hearing from Hallie Whyte, the Director of Sales and Operations, about the logistics of a biodynamic vineyard and farm. The ranch was beautiful, with acres of vineyards as well as 40 plus acres of forest, and of course the farm. On the farm, the classes were able to interact with dogs, cats, goats, chickens, baby ducks, baby turkeys, and two donkeys! Seeing this aspect of the company was important for the students to fully understand the meaning behind biodynamic farming.
The tour ended in the tasting room, which includes a full culinary program—this is where the farm and the wine meet. Soter even uses the produce from the garden in the tasting room as a way of tying all aspects of the ranch together. The customer’s experience is one of their top priorities, making this a very popular tasting room. The students had a wonderful time on this fieldtrip and were very active in asking question throughout the day.
Strategic Management's Board of Directors Exercise Fall 2017
The fall 2017 Strategic Management classes held their Board of Directors presentations the first week of December. All senior business students are required to take Strategic Management as their capstone course. At the beginning of the semester, students are placed in teams and given a simulated global footwear company to run for a “ten-year period” which lasts through the semester. After the simulation is completed with Year 20, the teams prepare a presentation for a panel of business professionals who act as each company’s Board of Directors.
During this year’s simulation, the students strived to find their place in the athletic footwear industry. Like any real industry, there was a variety of performance results from the companies however all teams gained solid, and highly competitive managerial experience in running a business. In the final year of the simulation, Year 20, the industry leaders Conquistadors were ranked 32nd globally.
This year, the students did a wonderful job of arriving well-prepared and demonstrating professionalism throughout the presentations. During the presentations, the Board asked some difficult questions to all of the teams about their strategic plan, decision-making and results. All co-managers responded well and truly gained much valuable experience. Overall, this year’s Board of Directors presentations were a success and we want to extend a great thank you to the four people who donated their time to be on the Board, Rachelle Quinn, Willis Damkroger, Scott Pinske, and Duncan Hart.
Strategic management gains first-hand look at the day to day operations of two different wineries
In Strategic Management, the senior capstone for all business majors, students learn how different companies’ value chain activities reflect their mission and values and also create customer value. Professors Crosley and Paine organized field trips to local wineries, A to Z Wineworks in Newberg and Brittan Vineyards in McMinnville, so that students could observe first-hand various activities related to these companies’ value chain. The tours through the wineries were led by Ellen Brittan, co-owner of Brittan Vineyards, Amy Prosenjak, President of A to Z Wineworks and Samantha Lau, the Design & Digital Marketing Coordinator at A to Z, and alumna of the Business Department at Linfield.
During these visits, students gathered information that gave them more insight into the each winery’s value chain activities, including supply chain management, operations, distribution, sales and marketing, technological development, human resource management and general administration. Following the field trips, students researched various aspects of Oregon’s wine industry, and then in a business memo compared and contrasted the two wineries’ business strategies and their value chain activities.
Dollars and Donuts
Professor Brady-Romero’s Topics in Finance recently visited Portland- based investment consulting firm, RVK. RVK, one of the largest fully independent and employee-owned investment consulting firms in the U.S., welcomed the Linfield business students and provided a first-hand look at the investment consulting industry. The students heard from many Linfield graduates as they presented information about investment manager research and mutual fund performance measurement and analytics. RVK then challenged the students to create a portfolio and utilize the asset allocation techniques they had learned in class. Senior finance major Kayla Stanton was the winner of the challenge and received movie tickets, a portfolio, and a mug.
On the way back to campus, the class was able to put their in-class knowledge to practice once more by visiting the popular donut chain, Krispy Kreme. The Topics in Finance class had recently completed a two-week long case study on the company, whose pastries appeal to students and professors alike. Throughout the case study, students analyzed items from balance sheets and income statements to ratios and overall operations. By visiting Krispy Kreme, they were able to see how everything they studied in the classroom could be applied in the business world, which enabled them to savor the taste of learning.
Strategic Management's Board of Directors Exercise
Each semester, students in Strategic Management, BNSS 495, participate in a "Board of Directors" exercise as part of their capstone experience. This interaction with a "board" of business professionals "caps" a semester-long, competitive simulation, which requires students to work as part of a team to lead an athletic shoe company and compete against other companies that are involved in international operations.
During the "board" exercise, student teams present, and answer questions regarding, their strategic plan and the results of their business strategy and their financial and operational decision-making. "Board" participants who questioned, and then provided oral and written feedback to student teams this semester included the following: Professor Randy Grant, Economics Department, Linfield College; David McLean, Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions and Marketing, Pacific University; Bill Wainwright, Project Coordinator, Fisher Investments; and Paul Nishizaki, Commercial Account Manager, Aerotek. Bill and Paul are Linfield alumni.
Linfield students from Professor Romero’s advanced senior finance course and Linfield’s chapter of Delta Mu Delta, an international business honor society, had the opportunity to visit RVKuhns, an investment advisory firm in Portland. Linfield students were welcomed by the RVK team and were the recipients of numerous presentations about the investment consulting industry. Additionally, students were able to participate in an asset allocation game in order to test their ability to design a portfolio containing various asset classes, such as domestic and international equities, fixed income, and real estate, with the goal to maximize return in relation to risk. Brian Balsiger won the game and left with both bragging rights and a pair of movie tickets. Students were privy to multiple presentations on the roles that investments consultants, investment manager researchers, and performance measurement analysts have at RVK and how they work collaboratively together to benefit the clients. This was particularly special as the majority of the presenters were Linfield College Alumni, including Spencer Hunter ‘08, Cole Bixenman ‘11, and Wil Hiles ‘12. The speakers were more than willing to answer questions and current students enjoyed hearing about the career journeys that Linfield Alumni have had at RVK. Ultimately, the visit to RVK was enlightening to all attendees and students took away a lot of valuable information about their own prospects in the finance world.
Business Law students learn from Seeking Justice Project speakers
Guest speakers Herb Tsuchiya, Yosh Nakagawa, and Brooks Andrews made a profound impact on students in Denise Farag’s Business Law I courses (BNSS 340). The guests were on the Linfield campus as a part of the Seeking Justice Project, a program focusing on the events and aftermath of the forced internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII. Each had ties to Camp Minidoka—an internment camp near Twin Falls, Idaho, where many Northwest Japanese Americans were sent. Herb Tsuchiya and Yosh Nakagawa were young boys when they were re-located with their families to Camp Minidoka. Both offered first-hand accounts of not only their experiences in camp, but their personal journey following their release. Brooks Andrews offered a unique perspective for the students. His father was the English-speaking pastor at the Japanese Baptist Church in Seattle. After Pearl Harbor was bombed, and Executive Order 9066 was issued by President Roosevelt, the church stood empty. His father packed up the family and moved them to Twin Falls to serve the internees. The speakers both inspired and challenged Farag’s students.
Organizational Behavior students aid sustainability efforts at Linfield
Students in Sharon Wagner’s Organizational Behavior course (BUSN 407) collaborated with students in Rob Gardner’s Sociology of Community course and Jeff Peterson’s Social Research Methods course to complete a project on sustainability at Linfield College. The project’s purpose was to increase understanding of sustainability views and practices at Linfield (Mac campus), and identify levers for behavior change. Duncan Reid, Linfield’s Sustainability Coordinator, was the organizational client for the project. Representatives from BUSN 407 presented the findings of the project to the President's Advisory Committee for Environment and Sustainability (ACES), recommending four levers for behavioral change related to sustainability at Linfield: Increase Awareness, Communicate and Advance Vision, Build Supportive Culture, and Reward Behavior. In October, Duncan Reid will present the findings at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Portland in October. He will be accompanied by BUSN 407 student Spencer Rutz.
Jan Term students learn about social enterprise
During January Term the students of Dr. Nelson’s BNSS 486 Social Enterprise class learn about the concepts of social enterprise through lectures, guest speakers, and field visits. This opportunity allows students to gain more insight and awareness of social and environmental issues in the field of social enterprise. During a recent administration of the course, students visited Mercy Corps, Bob’s Red Mill, Medical Teams, Southeast Grind, and Sseko Designs. Through interactions with social entrepreneurs, students were able to learn about social responsibility and how this is an important factor in the operations of an organization. At the end of the course students presented on promoting a social enterprise and were also asked to reflect on what they learned from the course. This elective course provides a great opportunity for students to learn about social responsibility, fundraising efforts, ethics, and also brings awareness of global issues.
Student-led experiential exercises in team dynamics
In Sharon Wagner's Team Dynamics course BNMG 436), students study why teams succeed and fail, and learn how they can impact team processes as a team member or leader. They participate in assessments and exercises designed to increase self-awareness, observation skills, and team facilitation skills.
For their final project, students work in teams to develop and conduct an experiential exercise for the rest of the class. Each student's project grade is determined in part by their instructor, their peers, and their own self-assessment. Each student also writes a paper analyzing his or her experiences as a team member. Students chose to lead exercises highlighting such group processes as creativity, conflict, problem-solving, and communication.
Team Dynamics is an elective course for students majoring or minoring in management, and is open to all students who have completed BNMG 310: Organizational Behavior and Management.
International Management global research
In Russ Paine’s International Management class (BNMG 410), students work in teams to research the challenges and opportunities of a global region: Asia, North /South America, The European Union, and the Middle East/Africa. Students develop an understanding of challenges and opportunities for doing business in these regions by analyzing regional and country-specific demographic, political, legal, cultural, and economic environments.
Members of each student team play roles as members of executive management for a global company. They present their strategy and management plan for delivering a product or service in their region. Other class members participate actively by assessing the effectiveness of the presentations.
International Management is an elective course for the management and international business majors, and for students completing the management minor.