Decisions, Decisions
Business Management students build problem-solving skills - in the classroom and the workplace.

 

From left to right, Professor Nikolaos Adamou, Elliott Williams.

February 25, 2008

Some students enroll in BMCC with an eye to going on to a senior college and pursuing a Bachelor's degree. But others are currently working in their chosen field -- or plan to be as soon as they graduate -- and are primarily interested in sharpening and expanding their vocational skills. Either way, the college’s Business Management offerings have their needs covered.

“We actually offer three separate academic tracks: Business Management, Business Administration, and Small Business/Entrepreneurship,” says associate professor Nikolaos Adamou, who notes, by way of clarification, that the phrase “Business Management” denotes both the name of the department and the academic track that prepares students for employment.

An array of choices

Upon receiving the Associate's degree, students in the Business Management track are qualified to seek positions in a broad range of fields, such as finance, marketing, advertising and fashion. “Although our Business Management track is not offered as a college prep course per se,” Adamou says, “90 percent of the students who choose it do go on to upper level colleges.”

One of the most useful courses in the Business Management track is “Managerial Decision-Making” which is based primarily on case studies of typical management problems. Students learn to identify the problem, propose alternative solutions and then zero in on the option that best supports profitability and productivity goals.

“This is a course in transition,” says Adamou. “In the past, the emphasis has been on decision-making as an exercise in mathematical programming. But we’ve found that that approach lacks direct relevance to our students’ real-world needs. So we’ve been transitioning to an approach that places less emphasis on pure math and gives students decision-making techniques they can use on the job the very next day.”

A case in point: a student who was employed as a Citibank branch manager needed to design a work schedule for her employees that placed the right people in the right positions at the right time. “It was a complex undertaking, but we found a relevant case study in our textbook,” Adamou says. “We were then able to modify it to mirror the student’s situation and then take her through the steps of creating and communicating a workable schedule.”

The classroom-career connection

Elliott Williams, who has worked for Oracle Corporation over the past three years in a range of positions -- software applications instructor, implementation consultant and, most recently, technical writer -- is currently enrolled in the Business Management track and waitlisted for admission to Baruch College. “I’m six credits shy of a Bachelor's degree,” says the former University of Memphis student . “I came to BMCC as a transfer student because I saw that some of the Business Management courses were directly applicable to my work at Oracle.”

In the two semesters he’s been at BMCC, he has learned things that have been beneficial to him as both a student and a consultant.

"In particular, Professor Adamou’s course has taught me how to address problems in a way that is understandable and meaningful to the client,” Williams says. “That’s not always possible when everything is in a mathematical context.”

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