Another academic year has come to a close, and one of the things we do this time of year is review goals and objectives — which did we meet, which did we not? And it’s also a time to review not just the outcomes but the goals themselves. What are we trying to accomplish? We are a business school, but we still have to answer that age-old question from philosophy: Why are we here?

The goal of a business school is, of course, not to produce effective students — it is to take students and shape them into effective leaders, managers, entrepreneurs, accountants, analysts, economists, administrators, marketers, planners and advisers, and so on.

While much of this shaping takes place in the classroom as faculty present content, students read and complete assignments, and professors probe and challenge students in case discussions, that’s by no means the full picture. To be prepared, students have to step out into the business world but we also must bring the business world to them.

A significant element of learning occurs when students interact with business professionals in the industry, gleaning wisdom from their experience. So as we complete another academic year here at the Crowell School of Business, I wanted to give you a taste of the speakers who visited our classrooms this past year. We are proud to be associated with these leaders, and we’re glad that they are proud to be associated with us. So if this message seems like I’m name-dropping, it’s because I am.

Professor Laureen Mgrdichian taught Women in Leadership, where students conducted a workshop with the women of Hope Gardens (Union Rescue Mission) to prepare them for job interviews and build confidence and non-verbal skills. Class guest speakers included Andrea Emshoff (CW Network), Gloria Nelund (TriLink Global), Caitlyn Ramirez-Smith (Northrup), Carolyn McCulley (Citygate Films), Cindy Thompson (Capital Group), Kristin Bacon (NBC Universal), and Deborah Mayes (Tessie Cleveland Community Services).

In Entrepreneurship and New Venture Formation, Mgrdichian’s guest speakers included Darren Utley (National Franchise Sales), Sevana Saroya (Hummuna Hummus), Abel Vang (Filmmaker and Biola professor), Matthew Little (Brother's Coffee Company and MJM Entertainment Group), JD Hornberger (Port O'Call), John Maly (entrepreneur), Gloria Nelund (TriLink Global), Henry Kaestner (Bandwidth, Sovereign's Capital), Harry & Kim Bagramian (Project Giving Light), and Carolyn McCulley (Citygate Films).

Dr. Randy Markley’s Finance Capstone course had Cameron Peck of Objective Capital Partners, Los Angeles as a guest speaker. Professor Tom Wilson had Bill West, CPA (Ernst & Young, Pacific Venture Group) return to discuss accounting ethics in his Organizational Ethics course.

Professor Jake Aguas had two guest speakers in his Management and Human Resources courses. Sonja Kehnt, Senior HR Manager at Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP, spoke about finding career opportunities that align with your calling, while Karissa You, a graduating USC law student, spoke about diversity, inclusion and equality and also on business negotiation skills.

Dr. Jeff McHugh invited two guests to speak to his Leadership, Change, and Innovation class. Bill Shumard, CEO of Special Olympics of Southern California, spoke on his Five Timeless Principles for Young Leaders, and Harold Taber, former President of Coca Cola Bottling Los Angeles, shared his wisdom including the origin of Monster Energy drink.

In Professor McHugh’s Management Capstone course, guest speakers included Karlynn Holbrook (Walt Disney Company), Abigail Nishimoto (SoCalGas), Mike Kurtz (Moderna), Matt Dale (Elementum), Sarah Tse (TSE Worldwide Press), Ashley Corey (Disney Streaming Services), Sam Jackson (QMerit), Kaisa Rowe (Ro), Victoria Perry (Capital Group), Terri Van Dagens (The Irvine Company), John Shad (20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers), Courtney Schmitt (Linde Galloway Studio), Ryan Choura (Choura Events), Vanessa Bender (Stripe), Christine Delaby (Goldman Sachs), Gavin Wong (LinkedIn), Kyle Hurt (EP Wealth Advisors), and Jenna Galassi (McKesson Health Care).

Again, that’s just a few of the business leaders and organizations our students interacted with this year. So this is really an extended thank you note to all of these professionals who are giving something back to the next generation and to the cause of Christ. I am also thankful each time I hear back from them — and I hear this consistently — about how much they love investing their time in our students and seem to gain as much from the experience as our students and professors do.

On May 7, we celebrated another successful semester and another group of graduates sent out to impact the world for Christ. And, for me, seeing the impact that these friends of the Crowell School of Business have on our students is such an encouraging way to help celebrate the faithfulness of our Lord in the work we so love to do.

Please keep us in your prayers, as you are in ours.

Dr. Gary Lindblad
Dean, Crowell School of Business, Biola University