The Pitt News

Pitt business school turns twenty

By Cristina McCormack / For The Pitt News

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On its 20th birthday, Pitt’s College of Business Administration has 2,000 more students, three more majors and three more certificate programs than when it first started.

Pitt’s CBA meets the occasion, celebrating its growth as a school and focusing on the accomplishments of its alumni. For its 20th anniversary, the CBA is offering students a chance to reconnect with alumni and learn from their experiences. Yesterday at noon, faculty and notable alumni from the school took part in a webinar to celebrate this milestone.

The webinar included an interview with Arjang Assad, the dean of the Katz Graduate School of Business. The webinar, which Audrey Murrell, the associate dean of the CBA, conducted, included a slideshow. The slideshow focused on the current obstacles business schools face and how both Pitt’s undergraduate and graduate business schools are tackling those obstacles.

One of the obstacles Assad mentioned was whether or not business students receive a well-rounded education. The undergraduate and graduate business schools at Pitt offer students double-degree programs with the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and have increasingly focused on taking advantage of learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

Deborah Good, a clinical assistant professor in the CBA, said over the past 20 years, she witnessed firsthand the growth of the school.

“We are bulging at the seams here,” Good said. “I remember when we were just a small office in the basement of Mervis Hall, and now we have a whole floor of Sennott Square and classes all over campus.”

Assad and Murrell stressed the need for the business school to connect to organizations within the University and to connect with the wider community. Over the past 11 years, Pitt’s business students have participated in a total of 10,000 hours of service learning with various organizations in Pittsburgh.

Within Pitt’s community, students from the CBA helped Residence Life organize its charity basketball game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last year.

The CBA currently has 25 student organizations and conducts several research projects.

Recently, student teams from the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership studied food deserts — communities that experience low food security — to create a Food Abundance Index scorecard. The purpose of this research was to better define the term food desert and to find business solutions to address the problem.

To celebrate the anniversary, the CBA will also host events in five cities in what it calls the “Associate Dean Roadshow.” Murrell said students will meet with alumni in those cities and have the opportunity to do site visits with alumni. In November, the roadshow will visit Washington, D.C., Boston and Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Murrell, who has been a faculty member for 28 years, said experience-based education is essential to the way the CBA teaches its students.

“Over the past 20 years, I have seen an increase in the school’s global focus,” Murrell said. “It’s about taking students to the class, to the city and to the world.”

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Pitt business school turns twenty