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George Vlahakis
University Communications

John Talbott
Kelley School of Business

Last modified: Monday, April 25, 2011

IU Kelley School's new Art of Business program directed at liberal arts and science students

April 25, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Kelley School of Business will launch a new program this summer designed for undergraduate students attending liberal arts colleges who are looking to enhance their career-building skills.

Kelley School of Business

IU Kelley School of Business

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"The Art of Business -- Business as a Second Language" also is open to non-business majors at IU and other research universities. It will feature an online component as well as a three-week immersion program that begins on June 12. It is a joint effort of the school's Kelley Executive Partners and undergraduate programs.

"The Art of Business program is designed to show students of the liberal arts how the education that they are already getting, when supplemented appropriately, provides them with the skills that they need to be successful in business or any organizational setting," said John Talbott, the program's acting director and assistant director of the Center for Education and Research in Retailing.

"Most liberal arts colleges have either chosen to explicitly not include business or they have a limited number of courses," Talbott said. "Interestingly, as we did our research, we found that the fastest growing major in liberal arts is economics, because students realize that it's a practical degree leading into a business career."

He noted that many employers are attracted to the strong communication, research and critical thinking skills that many students are getting at liberal arts colleges, as well as a broader understanding of civic life and culture.

But Talbott said what many of these students lack is practice and experience in job interviews, outside input on what makes for a solid resume, and an awareness of the kinds of careers available in organizations for those who aren't business graduates.

"Our program is designed to provide a sense of vocation, help them to fluently speak the language of business and learn the skills that will make them marketable and promotable," he said. "The program in terms of the curriculum will include a three-week immersion. Some in-bound preparation work will be done before they arrive on campus."

Kelley joins several other top business schools in offering such a program, including the Stern School of Business at New York University, the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University and Stanford University.

This isn't the business school's first foray into joining forces with the liberal arts. For example, the Liberal Arts and Management Program (LAMP), a partnership with IU's College of Arts and Sciences, continues to thrive at IU Bloomington, where it has been a fixture for more than two decades.

"Business is a umbrella profession that looks for leaders from all walks of life and professions, such as medicine, engineering, the sciences and liberal arts," said Dan Smith, dean of the Kelley School. "While Kelley offers joint degree programs for students enrolled in other schools of medicine, law and engineering, this is a unique initiative for students in the liberal arts, not only for those from Indiana University, but from around the globe. This will be an exciting leadership program from a top ranked business school and another milestone in our quest to transform people and society through business education."

Eventually, the Kelley School hopes the program will grow in enrollment to more than 200 within the next five years and sessions will be differentiated for students from various academic disciplines.

In the program, students will learn strategies for the practical application of their written and verbal communication, research, and critical thinking skills in a variety of business and organizational contexts. Each day will include at least eight hours of instruction as well as evening activities and personal mentoring.

Alumni of Kelley's MBA program who earned their undergraduate degree in something other than business have been invited back to campus to spend time with students enrolled in the Art of Business program.

Just as at many companies and with Kelley students, work will be done in teams. Senior-level faculty within the school will be involved in the teaching activities. After completing the program, students will receive a certificate and likely will have an opportunity to be placed into paid or unpaid internships that will provide a variety of helpful experiences.

"At ExactTarget, we have hired a number of employees with liberal arts educational backgrounds and the Kelley School of Business also has been a source of talent for ExactTarget," said Todd Richardson, the company's senior vice president of human resources.

"Kelley has a great reputation for preparing young people for careers in business and the Art of Business will only strengthen their reputation," Richardson added. "We love the critical thinking and written communication skills that our liberal arts hires bring to the table and think the Art of Business will help their peers better understand the value of their education within a business organization. Students completing this program will be strong candidates for our Slingshot Internship Program."

The program is designed for two dozen students entering their junior and senior years, although graduating seniors also will be considered. Students with all majors are invited to apply, including those now studying informatics, English, history and the sciences. The cost without housing is $4,950, and with housing it is $5,550. All meals and materials are included.

More information about the program is available at The application deadline is May 15.