New Business Course Bridges the Gap From Theory to Practice

Seventeen alums returned to Drew’s campus to share experience, offer advice

May 2024 – Drew University’s new Business Executive Roundtable course exposes business students to real-world business challenges and opportunities from Drew alum guest executive presentations and interactions.

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Walter Slade C'77 with Business Executive Roundtable students.

The course—yet another example of Drew’s commitment to providing experiential learning experiences—is offered to business students during their junior or senior year and is designed to bridge the gap from classroom theory to practice by providing a relevant and relatable linkage to the business world.

Introduced in the 2023/24 academic year, the course welcomed 17 alums from a cross section of industries, functions, and expertise to the classroom to share first-hand industry knowledge.

Visiting alums provide an introduction to their firm and/or industry, their role and career path, and current issues faced by the organization. Through the lectures, students have the opportunity to develop a high-level understanding of the decisions that organizational leaders must make and the forces that impact their ability to deliver on goals.

Featured guest alums included Cathy Brennan C’86, senior vice president and CFO at New Jersey Institute of Technology; Josh Barer G’13, CEO at Hibiscus Capital Management; Alison Carbone C’97, senior director of marketing at Mondelez International; and Paul Cocja C’88, vice president and head of human resources at Novartis

“The Executive Roundtable class was only possible due to the enthusiastic and insightful support of the Drew alum network and Business Department co-chairs Associate Professor of Finance Steve Firestone and Sarah Abramowitz, John H. Evans Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science,” said Assistant Teaching Professor Sean Mooney, who designed and teaches the course. “Prominent alum guest executives took time from their busy schedules to offer real-world experiences and practical advice to our students.”

“Through interactive and collaborative dialogue on campus, the students gained an enhanced understanding of the current business environment and how academic concepts may be applied to real-world applications,” continued Mooney. ”Further, the alums introduced students to numerous career paths available and offered feedback and counsel on how to best navigate their careers for long-term success.”

Walter Slade C’77, executive/leadership coach and human resources consultant at SladeCoach, LLC, thanked Drew and Mooney for the opportunity to contribute to the success of future students as he closed the spring semester as a featured alum speaker.

“It was a pleasure and privilege to speak with the students,” said Slade. “I especially enjoyed exploring the importance of knowing your values and using them as critical factors in determining your life and career choices.”

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