Thanks to DePaul University’s vast network of business
alumni, prime location in downtown Chicago and strong faculty professional
relationships, DePaul business students experience learning in a practical way.
This experiential learning includes a key component—business executives in the
Business leaders’ interactions with DePaul students go
beyond guest lectures and networking dinners. Executives, many of whom are
DePaul alumni, participate in the curriculum by providing students real-world
examples of what they read about in textbooks. In fact, many students focus
their class activities on actual business issues faced by some of the nation’s
In a series of stories, we’ll take a look at the different
ways DePaul business students benefit from this unique approach that puts
executives in the classroom.
Chicago executives bring business case studies to life
Elizabeth Hernandez was convinced that the executives at
Burke Beverage Inc., should take out a loan. Hernandez, an undergraduate
finance major, based her decision on a review of the case study on Burke in
her money and banking class. The case focused on Burke, a Chicago-based beverage
distributor, which was looking to expand its operations. The question was
simple—take out a commercial bank loan or gather the funds internally to pay
for the expansion?
Just like thousands of business students around the country
who review case studies, Hernandez went through all she’d learned in class
about interest rates, LIBOR, line of credit, loan terms and other important
factors to make a decision. Yet, Hernandez had a resource that many business
students do not—face-to-face access to all the parties involved.
Hernandez and her classmates received the opportunity to
meet Tim Nolan, the CFO of Burke Beverages, as well as Mark Hoppe, CEO of MB
Financial Bank, the commercial bank that could make the loan, and Mike Smith, the
loan officer involved.
The executives came at the behest of Hernandez’s teacher, Lamont
Black, assistant professor of finance at DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business.
The experience, Hernandez says, deepened her understanding
of commercial banking and changed her career path.
“This was my favorite part of the class,” Hernandez says of
the executives’ presentation. “If you read something from a book or you go over
it in a case study, it’s not the same as when the people involved actually
explain their decision-making process. You learn much more. It got me
interested in commercial banking.”
Chicago executives added real-world advice to a case study in a Money and Banking finance class at DePaul. Participating in the class were (pictured left to right): Tim Nolan, CFO of Burke's Beverage Inc.; Seth Heape, senior vice president, MB Financial Bank Leadership Development Program; Mark Hoppe, CEO of MB Financial Bank; Mike Smith, commerical loan officer at MB Financial; and Lamont Black, assistant professor of finance at DePaul's Driehaus College of Business.
Chicago executives stream into DePaul
Hernandez’s experience is not unique among DePaul students.
DePaul’s location in downtown Chicago puts it within a stone’s throw of many of
the nation’s topFortune 500 companies. But it’s the relationships forged by
DePaul faculty and alumni that get many of those top executives to come to
Mark Hoppe, CEO of MB Financial Bank, said his classroom
participation started three years ago when he was approached by William
Obenshain, executive director of the Center for Financial Services at DePaul, to
join a committee with other bank executives.
After working with the committee, Hoppe says he met Lamont Black, assistant professor of finance at DePaul's Driehaus College of Business. The two had lunch and talked about ways to incorporate
real-world learning in the classroom. The relationship built from there and
soon Hoppe was preparing lecture notes and getting ready to present in front of
“I loved it,” Hoppe says. “I was really impressed by the
insightful questions and comments the students had. It was a great experience
and I can’t wait to do it again.”
Another executive, Harry M. Kraemer, former chairman and CEO of Baxter International,
gave a business ethics lecture to finance students this year. Why did Kraemer
come to speak to students?
“I do whatever Maureen Meyer tells me to do,” Kraemer says,
jokingly. DePaul alumna Meyer (B.S. Finance ’90) worked at Baxter and knows
Vahap Uysal, associate professor of finance at DePaul.
“When Professor Uysal approached me about someone to help
him teach students about business ethics, I instantly thought of Harold,” Meyer
says. “He was gracious enough to agree.”
Executives offer life lessons beyond the classroom
Having executives involved in classes has a profound impact
on students that can’t be replicated by textbook learning and traditional lectures alone, says Professor
“Executives can answer questions in ways that I can’t ”
Black says, “and they can give students insights that I don’t have. They’re the
experts—they work in these careers and make these decisions everyday.”
Before the executive encounter, Hernandez was convinced that
she would go into corporate finance. But after meeting Mike Smith, the M.B.
Financial loan officer who worked on the Burke case, she now knows that she
wants to do what he does.
“The best part was talking with him after class and learning
what he did on a daily basis,” Hernandez says. “Then he gave me his e-mail and
we talked more about MB Financial and my career after I graduate.”
Find out more DePaul's MBA in Finance.
Find out more about M.S. in Finance.