How to Succeed in the Business School Seminar

Instructor: Dr. Randall S. Hansen
Office (LBC 414D) Phone: 822-7495
Office Hours: Th, 12:30-3:00; F, 11:00-2:00; and by appointment


This course introduces students to the Business School. The professors and co-teachers will create an environment where the students are able to acquire and develop the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the business school. [University Bulletin Description]

You'll have multiple opportunities to learn, practice, and perfect the skills that employers seek from college graduates, including communications (writing, talking, presenting, listening), team-building and teamwork, professionalism, creative problem-solving, and analytical/research skills -- all while reviewing the major areas of business.

While the professor and student co-teacher can guide you and give you direction, you must remember that only you control your educational fate. The transition from high school to college, from teen to adulthood, is one that has many rewards and many challenges. Thus, part of learning objectives of this class is about making you better students, better learners.

Other things you'll do and learn in this class:

  • Career Assessment and Research
  • Ethics and Social Responsibility
  • Work Teams and Team-Building
  • Community Responsibility and Service
  • Participating in a One-Day Ropes Course
  • Dealing with Conflict and Stress
  • Personality Type and Differences
  • Multi-tasking, Delegation, and Time-Management
  • Value of Community Involvement
  • Choosing Courses and Professors
  • Taking Advantage of the Many Cultural Activities on Campus

Overall, this course should be a great learning experience!



Ferrell, Hirt, Ferrell: Business: A Changing World. Irwin McGraw-Hill.

Underhill. Why We Buy. Simon & Schuster.

Business Week

University Bulletin.



Grading will be done on a numerical scale during the semester, with a final letter grade determined at the end of the course. Each graded item has been given a point value, and the percentage of points to total points will determine grade. E.g., 910 points (out of total 1,000) is an 91 -- an 'A-.'

Plus/Minus grading will apply: 93-100 A; 90-92 = A-; 87-89 = B+; 83-86 = B; 80-82 = B-; 77-79 = C+; 73-76 = C; 70-72 = C-; 67-69 = D+; 63-66 = D; 60-62 = D-; under 60 = F.

  • Personal Journal -- 300 points
  • Retail Analysis -- 200 points
  • Tests (2 @ 100 pts. each) -- 200 points
  • Community Service Project -- 100 points
  • Class Participation -- 150 points
  • Interviews -- 50 points
  • Total Possible Points -- 1,000 pts.

IMPORTANT: See the BN109 Calendar for class assignments, readings, and due dates. Readings and assignments are due the date shown on the calendar. Dates subject to change.


Personal Journal Portfolio:

Keeping a written journal is a great way to keep track of your feelings and activities as you make this major transition in your life. Once the semester is over, ideally, you'll keep this journal and return to it -- perhaps in your senior year -- and reflect on your growth and maturity. You do not need to keep a daily record of your experiences, emotions, and actions, but it's expected that you will average a few journal entries per week.

As you begin thinking about your journal, please check out these journaling resources, where you can read about the benefits of keeping a journal, as well as strategies for writing and organizing your journal.

Besides recording your informal thoughts, experiences, and emotions, you will be required to include the following items in your journal. Please note that ALL work must be your original writing:

  • Chapter Outlines and Key Terms
  • Personal Assessments and Reactions
  • All Homework Assignments
  • Record of Your Company Stock
  • Record of Co-Curricular Activities and Meetings (min. 4)
  • Reactions to events in DeLand community (min. 1)
  • Chapter Reactions to Call of the Mall

Your journal should be kept in a binder, allowing you to move items in and out with ease. You will be graded on your commitment to journaling and the thoroughness of your journal. While you should maintain good English standards, you will not be graded on the quality of your writing style -- just on the content. The actual format and organization of your journal is an individual decision -- although we suggest you use some sort of dividers to separate sections.

Incomplete journals will result in reduced grades.


Retail Analysis:

Working in teams of 4-5 students, you will choose (and get approval) a retailer that the group wants to study. Using what you are learning from Why We Buy and other sources, you will complete a detailed analysis of your retailer. This project will require conducting both secondary (from articles, journals, etc.) and primary (personal observations) research.

Your goal is to learn as much as possible about the retailer your team chooses. The focus should be on the specific brand, but if your retailer is part of a larger company, some analysis of the corporate parent will also need to be completed. You will want to examine things such as the outside of the store, store window displays, store signage, store layout and design, typical customer(s), history of the brand, current status (in terms of sales, trendiness, etc.), and overall appeal of the retailer.

Your team will be asked to submit progress reports throughout the semester, so start planning early once you are in your team!

Your team will be responsible for both a written report (up to 10 pages) as well as a 10-minute presentation on your findings. Grading on both aspects will be on the following criteria: content, overall quality and comprehensiveness, creativity, use of relevant course concepts, and professionalism. Please note that the presentation can take any form -- and we greatly encourage creativity in the delivery of the material. (Multimedia presentations are highly appreciated.)

A team member that fails to participate in this activity will result in earning no points for this assignment.



Two tests are scheduled during the semester: a midterm and final. Details about the tests will be announced prior to their scheduled occurrence.


Community Service Project:

Working in teams of 4-5 students, you will plan and participate in a service project in the local community. Volunteering and community service is something Stetson University values -- and something that will also be a good item for your resume.

There are numerous opportunities to get involved in the community, and your team can venture out on your own or use the resources of the Stetson University Community Service Office, located in the Hollis Center.

Each team should submit a one-page proposal, due date listed on course calendar, detailing the nature of the work to be performed, why the project was chosen, and its anticipated community impact. A general guideline for the project is that each team member will make at least a 4-hour commitment to the volunteer work. Note that the team does not need to complete the project during the same block of time.

Once approved, your work must be completed during October.

Your team will make a short (10-minute) presentation to the class, as well as submit a summary report (4-5 pages) of the completed project -- including pictures of your team in action. Both the report and presentation should focus on how you chose the activity, what you accomplished, the impact on the community, and what you learned from the experience.

Presentations will be graded on their communications and entertainment value, professionalism, and use of visual aids. Papers will be graded on content, style, writing quality, and professionalism.

A team member that fails to participate in this activity will result in earning no points for this assignment.


Class Participation:

It is expected. You must attend class, come prepared, and offer your thoughts and opinions. You must be an active learner. Class participation is not an automatic grade -- you must earn it with earnest, thoughtful, and professional participation in all activities. Our class is only as good as you make it through participation.

Please note: Any unexcused absences in excess of three (3) will result in earning no points for participation.



You are required to conduct two interviews during the semester, one with another student and one with a professor. The student must be a junior or senior, ideally in your major (or potential major). The professor can be any faculty member at Stetson University, but should ideally be one that teaches in your major.

Your first step is brainstorming a list of potential interviewees. See course calendar for the deadline.

Once your choices are approved, you should complete the interviews during October. What you ask in these interviews is up to your discretion, but should include questions that will provide you with more information on your major, career choices, courses, internships, etc. -- information you need to succeed in the business school and beyond.

A report on your interviews is due by the middle of November. The report should fully identify each interviewee and provide a snapshot of what you learned -- and be no longer than three pages.

You will be graded on the timeliness of submitting your list and conducting the interviews, and the report will be graded on quality of writing, professionalism, and quality of interviews.


Miscellaneous Policies and Classroom Management:

No food or beverage other than water allowed in the classroom.

Come to class prepared!

All formal papers must follow standard college formatting standards, including normal fonts (such as Times, Arial, Tahoma), normal font sizes (10-11 pt.), normal margins (1"), letter size white paper, and black ink. Multiple pages should be numbered, titled, and stapled together.

Please remember that your first draft of a paper should NOT be your final draft. A rule of college writing is that you construct a draft, edit it, rewrite it, edit it again, and do a final edit and proofreading (beyond simply using a spellchecker) before you submit the paper to the professor.

This class is all about college success, and one of the key lessons you must learn is that you are responsible for your actions, thus if you miss a class, it is your responsibility to get any material from that class. No material can be submitted late unless you have an acceptable excuse. If you know you are going to miss a class (sports, family obligation, etc.), please discuss with the professor or co-teacher PRIOR to your absence.

There is rarely anything called extra credit. Your grade is based on your entire semester of work, so pace yourself to excel from August to December.

Always try to make it to class on time, but it's better to be late than not to attend at all... so, if you must be late, please come, but please make as quiet and graceful an entrance as possible.

Attendance will be confirmed with a daily sign-up sheet. It is your responsibility to make sure your name is on it for each class you attend. It is a violation to sign anyone else's name to the list -- and serious consequences will ensue if you are caught doing so.

Professionalism is required in all aspects of your classroom behavior. Academic honesty is essential in all aspects of this class -- and is expected from all students.

Please do not hold conversations with classmates whenever the professor or another student is speaking. Your undivided attention in class is a must. An atmosphere of mutual respect is in order.

Remember to turn cell phone to silent mode -- or better, turn them off. And certainly, no text messaging during class.

Please note: The professor reserves the right to request a student to leave if his or her behavior seems inappropriate and disrespectful.

Class will begin and end as directed by the professor. Please do not shuffle papers, close books, or offer other hints as to the time.



Times and dates are subject to change -- check the BN109 Course Calendar for the most current due dates. Be prepared.

It is expected that all work you submit for a grade in this class be original and prepared for this class only. You are also expected to abide by all aspects of the University Honor System.

Please do not ever utter these words when trying to make a valid point: "I saw it on Fox News." Fox News is an oxymoron -- and certainly not news but opinion; and if you watch it, you should supplement it with one or more real news programs, such as CNN, BBC News, MSNBC, or the Newshour with Jim Lehrer (PBS).

I am always willing to see my students and will go out of my way to schedule meetings. Please make sure that if you make an appointment, that you keep it. Finally, as will quickly become apparent, email is by far the easiest and most reliable method to reach me.

Please always do your best work. As one of my favorite students used to say: "Work hard to play hard."

Go back to Dr. Randall Hansen's Courses Page.