The Integrated Business Core, or IBC, is one of the hallmarks of the entire business department of BYU-Idaho. I recently got a chance to finish this group of 4 classes, and have too many thoughts than I should about the IBC.
First, an overview. The IBC consists of 4 classes, namely Marketing, Finance, Operations Management, and Organizational Behavior. The only books we had to buy were for Organizational Behavior (hereafter O.B.). All our other text came from the Harvard Business School (mostly case studies). These classes met Monday-Friday, and rotated on a not-so-normal basis.
We were then divided up into 3 different "companies." These companies were then divided up into 4 "teams" that we would accomplish much of our in-class work with. There was also one other portion to this series of classes: we were required to come up with a business. Not just come up with a business, but write up a business plan, apply for a loan, give a presentation for a loan committee, come up with executive officers from within our company (mostly a President, Marketing Executive, Financial Executive, and Operations Executive), run this business on campus, keep track of money and finances, and finally close the business out.
Within the first month, we were hauled out near the Teton Mountains here in Idaho to a lodge known as Badger Creek. We did team-building activities (ropes courses and what not), and then were required to camp out one night - in -20 degree weather - with a circus tent (and that's not exaggerating).
We decided our business was going to be student-designed t-shirts, with concessions offsetting the cost of printing shirts. I was chosen as CEO, and I don't think I realized how much I had my work cut out for me. Managing 23 students (while I was considered an equal) isn't easy, but we made it through, and I've actually gotten sleep this semester!
Perhaps later I will make a longer post more in-depth about what the IBC entails, but here's my thoughts about the IBC, what can be better, and what I liked.
1. If I were an undergrad student trying to choose between BYU in Provo or BYU-Idaho, and I wanted to major in business management, I would choose BYU-Idaho. Reasons why:
a.) Former 10-year Harvard Business School Dean as your University President
b.) The IBC, which gives much more business experience, compared to common academia and textbook skills
c.) A required internship for all business majors, combine with Pres. Clark's contacts back east, has really given us credibility as a university and has also gotten more recruiters coming to our school.
2. The 4 core classes constitute 12 credits (3 credits each). They have actually advised that the students either take no other classes or a religion class. The business is all non-paid. The students work for free (in order for the university to keep it's non-tax status). I think that the business portion should be another 3-credit class, thus appeasing those on scholarship, or fastgrad (in which 14-15 credits are required), as well as making sure people like me don't take a high-intensity, high-work load advertising class.
3. Maybe it's because of me, and what I went through as CEO, but really, they should be exempt from a lot of things (or have monetary compensation for all the crap we put up with)
4. Reduce class numbers. Many of our classes required class participation, and with a classroom of 69 students, it was VERY hard to get your points. Add into that the wonderful students who have to make a comment about almost EVERY sentence the teacher says, and it's really tough to get your points. I figured they would have 1/2 the class in, say, Marketing and Finance, while the other half was in O.B. and Operations.
5. Reduce the limitations. We wouldn't sell here, we couldn't sell there, we would be in direct competition with the university. We couldn't sell this, we couldn't sell that, again, it would be in competition. I think that the barriers should be right up front, and if students find a better way of doing that, well honestly, more power to them.
So that's the IBC. Dickens said it best when he said "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
I'm more apt to this quote, from the same classic novel, at the opposite end of the book.
It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known