Seven exercises test juniors’ communication capacities

by Emily Raleigh (GSB ’16)

According to Dean Rapaccioli, “It’s not always what you say. It’s how you say it.” We talk. We text. We Facebook. We e-mail. We tweet. The question is, though, do we know how to really communicate in a business setting? Juniors enrolled in the Gabelli School’s integrated core had the opportunity to find out, deploying the skills from their Business Communications II course during the business communication simulation.

The Gabelli School of Business is known for taking learning outside of the classroom, and this course is no different. Professors Travis Russ and Meghann Drury designed this course to expose students to real-life scenarios that they may experience during their careers. In an address to open Thursday’s simulation, Dean Rapaccioli said, “You will see that you react differently as a CEO than in an interview.” That was exactly what the students discovered.

Prior to the simulation, teams of six were assigned a company to research, including Google, Wal-mart, Coca Cola, Nike and more. Ally James (GSB ’14) explained that each team created a portfolio, compiling the company’s basic information as well as recent articles regarding the company’s latest endeavors.

To launch the simulation, Dr. Russ announced: “Today’s goal is to apply what you have learned in class. Starting now, you are taking on the role of one of your company’s executives.” At each table of students sat one professor who served as the facilitator and evaluator. Students were rated on their collaboration as a team, knowledge of their research, and composure. At Ally James’ table, for instance, the students were representing Google, and Dr. Steven D’Agustino directed each of the simulation’s seven communications exercises, providing informative commentary after each one.

Each of the seven role-playing challenges was meant to evaluate a different skill, such as negotiation, intercultural dialogue, crisis communication or interpersonal communication. To be effective role-players, the students needed to know their company inside and out. This was no easy feat. Even Dean Rapaccioli said, “When I was reading the challenges, I was a little challenged myself.”

During the first challenge, for example, students were chosen at random to answer questions that Wall Street Journal reporters typically ask executives during interviews for news stories. To achieve the full mark, students had to articulate their answers in a clear, concise manner, while remaining composed and confident.

Each challenge provided students with experience they can take with them into their careers, ensuring that Gabelli students are capable from their first job interview through their highest executive position. Professor Russ and Professor Drury’s course will help to cultivate the next generation of effective business leaders and communicators.

 

Images courtesy of Plywood Pictures.

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