Three Cheers for the Students in Villanova’s Summer Business Institute

Every summer, Villanova University offers what is known as the Summer Business Institute, or SBI.

Here is some info about the program from its web site:

SBI is a full-time, 16-credit program held on Villanova’s campus, which focuses on finance, economics, accounting, marketing, management, analytics and information technologies. Created exclusively for non-business majors in 1997, SBI has educated more than 1,400 students in the fundamentals of business.

Through the Institute, students gain fluency and competency in business basics. The unique and interactive Professional Success course, designed to help students develop their professional brand and job search skills as well as gain exposure to career options and industry representatives, complements the business curriculum. One of the highlights of the Professional Success course is a business etiquette dinner, which I have written about before.

Regardless of desired outcome – complementing a primary field of study, developing entrepreneurial interests, pursuing a career in business, and/or gaining a personal understanding of the economy – SBI provides the foundation.

The program not only provides you with an understanding of key business fundamentals and career development strategies, but also delivers a wide array of additional benefits:

  • Diversified academic credentials
  • Enhanced professional competence and confidence
  • Refined problem-solving and decision-making abilities
  • Expanded communication and teamwork skills
  • Broadened perspectives regarding career options

I think I have taught in the SBI program every summer since its inception; it is always one of my favorite teaching experience during the year.

The students are excited to be in the program, and recognize what a commitment it is. The program starts right after Memorial Day, and goes until the first week of August.

Students are typically in class every day from 9-12 and again from 1-4, and many of the courses are team taught. For example, I am one of the teachers in a combined Accounting and Finance class. I have also taught as part of the combined Management and Marketing class.

In addition to being in class six hours per day, the students also have homework most nights and studying for exams. For example, tomorrow students have an Accounting exam, Friday they have an Analytics exam, and Monday they have a Finance exam. A few days later, the same cycle repeats.

As part of the Management and Marketing class, students work on a real world project with a local firm that has agreed to work with our students. In the past, the SBI students have worked with firms such as Wawa, Vanguard, and this summer, Turn5. The project usually entails a new product that the firm is thinking about offering and the students do market research on the idea, and then present their ideas to executives from those firms. It is a great way to wrap up SBI.

To say SBI is intense is an understatement, yet the students happily stick with it. They realize the many benefits of combining their arts, science, engineering, or nursing major with a foundation in business, and many often pursue additional business courses after SBI. As a result, a few students choose their original career plans as a result of SBI.

Most of the students are Villanova students, but we do get a few non-Villanova students in the program. We also get all levels, from rising sophomores to recent graduates. While any time, is good, I think the earlier in your academic career the better. First, most freshmen and sophomores may not get internships during the summer, and so SBI is a good alternative. Second, the earlier you complete SBI, the more options you have to pursue additional business courses.

So here’s three cheers to the SBI students, both past and present. I admire your willingness to enroll in such a challenging program, and the positive attitude you maintain throughout the program. I hope the graduates have found it beneficial, and that the current students have success in the program, particularly with your Accounting exam tomorrow!

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