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ULM and CenturyLink collaborate on new venture

Published October 9, 2013

On Saturday, Oct. 19, the University of Louisiana at Monroe College of Business and College of Education DREAM Office will partner with CenturyLink to present CenturyLink Saturday Academies—an exciting business program for middle school students.

Photo of Dr. Arturo Rodriguez

Taught by ULM College of Business professors Dr. Arturo Rodriguez and Tom DiNardin, in collaboration with Shirish Lal, Senior Vice President of Marketing at CenturyLink, each three-hour academy will focus on a different area of business as well as the school-to-work pathway.

“The Business 1001 curriculum is an important aspect of our college students’ business education,” said Rodriguez.

“We believe strongly that everyone, regardless of their profession, should be exposed to real business-world concepts and applications, which are a big part of everyone's personal lives. We aim to tailor this approach especially to youth who are trying to determine what path they will follow in their future professional careers.”

Using engaging strategies and real-world examples provided by CenturyLink employees, the program introduces middle school students to four career tracks over the course of a year—marketing, operations, finance, and technology—and highlights what it takes to get, and keep, the job.

Working in teams of four, students take on the roles of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Chief Operations Officer (COO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to develop a business plan over the course of the four academies.

Patterned after the super-secret “Skunkworks” project of World War II, these “Hawkworks” teams will work together to market, manufacture, finance, and disseminate a real robot.

“These four areas are the cornerstones of our business,” said CenturyLink’s Lal.

“One must understand how we sell our products to customers – marketing, how we get the product to the customer – operations, how we measure and fund our business – finance, and how we approach innovation – technology.  We are looking forward to working with future leaders, exposing them to how we use these disciplines to manage our business every day.”

Saturday Academies will be held in the ULM College of Business lecture hall, from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday Oct. 19, Nov. 16, Jan. 25, 2014, and March 29, 2014.

For more information and to register, visit ulm.edu/dream/saturdayacademies.html or email dream@ulm.edu