As part of their introduction to WMU, international MBA students participate in BUS 6050—Academic Communication for Business—during their first semester. The course is taught by Beth Ernst, instructor of communication, and is designed to help students learn the skills they need for success in graduate-level courses. Ernst’s goals for the course are to help students improve their writing, research and presentation skills and provide frameworks for contributing to classroom discussions and taking notes.
A hallmark of the course is the required application and preparation for WMU Grad Talks in which students must explain their work or research to a non-specialist audience within three minutes using just one static slide. Hosted by the WMU Graduate Student Association, Grad Talks is part of an international research communication competition known as the Three-Minute Thesis Competition.
FALL 2017 GRAD TALKS
During fall 2017, three MBA students were selected to participate in the event, earning 1st place and People’s Choice. Only 10 students from across WMU’s campus were selected to participate through a competitive application process.
Shreya Naseri, MBA specializing in marketing, is from Christ University in Bangalore. She won the fall 2017 GradTalks competition. She presented on why Amazon is the leading logistics ascendant in the United States. Naseri’s presentation cited the following reasons:
- Diversified market
- Value-added service provider
- Lean and cost-efficient strategy
- Technological leveraging to broaden margins
- Critical infrastructure offering to businesses
Praful Gowda, MBA specializing in international business, is from Christ University in Bangalore. He presented on the significance of experiential learning in business education. He won the People’s Choice Award at the GradTalks 2017 competition. Gowda reported that the significance of experiential learning is in students
- Learning real-life skills
- Thinking innovatively
- Becoming more self-drive
Apoorv Patni, MBA majoring in finance, is from Christ University in Bangalore. He presented on the problems of using Bitcoin. According to Patni’s presentation, problems with Bitcoin occur in the following circumstances:
- Use in developing illegal online sites selling drugs and accepting payments in Bitcoins.
- Increase in cyber-attacks, including the recent Wannacry ransomware.
- Acceptance for unregulated transactions.
“I am so proud of Shreya’s, Praful’s, and Apoorv’s efforts and persistence,” says Ernst. “We discussed the elements of professional communication in the BUS 6050 class, and they asked for suggestions for improvement. Shreya consulted with me multiple times in the Haworth College of Business Communication Center where we discussed the importance of considering the audience and meeting their expectations.”
ABOUT THE COMPETITION
The 3-Minute Thesis program—known as Grad Talks at WMU—is an international program started at the University of Queensland, Australia, and now held at over 170 universities in more than 18 countries. WMU held its first competition in November 2015. Read more about WMU’s Grad Talks.