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By Trevor Diddell
BSBA Marketing ’10


Pre-business freshment participants in the MIS 111 Honors Project Showcase.

Pre-business freshment participants in the MIS 111 Honors
Project Showcase.

On December 17, 2009, McClelland Hall’s Estes Atrium played host to the MIS 111 Honors Project Showcase. The event, now in its second year, highlights a semester of work by pre-business honors freshman.

“More than an MIS class, MIS 111 Honors is a business course that builds skills and shows students what the Eller College is all about,” explains senior lecturer in MIS William Neumann, who teaches the course and coordinated the event. One of the goals, he says, is to give future business students a preview of what it’s like to be an Eller student, and keep them on track to apply for professional admission.

“It’s important for some of the best and brightest to experience Eller early on in their UA experience,” Neumann says.

During the semester, he pairs teams of students with UA clients such as Arizona Football, Steward Observatory Mirror Lab, and the UA BookStores. The students work to solve particular business and technology issues for their client organizations, with the overall goal of demonstrating the link between students, faculty, and industry on campus.

The students spent their semester interviewing their sponsors and conducting research to solve particular technology issues. While learning about general business skills, the students also gained a better understanding of how technology effects each department within the University.

Sam Burns and Casey Orth, both pre-business freshmen, worked on the Arizona Football project. “I learned a lot about the importance of databases in the management of a lot of people,” says Burns. “The football operation at the University of Arizona consists of hundreds of people. Mr. Harper, who is the director of the football operations, is in charge of keeping tabs on all these people. It would be impossible for him to manage all these people on the level that is expected of him, without the use of databases.”

“It was fascinating to learn everything Coach Harper takes into account when helping Coach Stoops run the team,” adds Orth. “The thing that stood out the most to me was the logistics that go into planning a trip. Harper organizes the entire trip from beginning to end. He scrutinizes things as small as what kind of food players, coaches, and the press can have on the plane and as prominent as making sure everyone clears security for the TSA.”

The skills that students developed over the semester converged at the tradeshow-format showcase. Neumann selected the location — McClelland Hall — specifically to expose students to a building they might only visit a handful of times before applying to Eller. “I told them it will be finals week and that they will be essentially in the way,” Neumann says. “My hope was to give a feel for the Eller College and the students.”

“It is hard to get a feel for life in Eller when your only tie as a pre-business student is your first semester class in Harvill,” says Burns, who is planning to apply for professional admission, and says he’s interested in marketing and the entrepreneurship program. “The project showcase at the end of the semester gave us a chance to spend time at McClelland Hall.”

“I feel like Dr. Neumann’s showcase project enabled me to get a taste of being an Eller student because this project permeated all majors at Eller,” Orth says. “We got exposure to management, accounting, MIS, and marketing — all within an entity that seems non-related to business, a football team.”