UIndy MBA students explore service-learning opportunities with Goodwill Commercial Services

MBA students at Goodwill Commercial Services

MBA students at Goodwill Commercial Services

At the University of Indianapolis, “Education through Service” is much more than a motto.  It’s at the core of what we do.  Service-learning gives students an opportunity to put their course learning objectives into practice while also making a positive impact on the community.  A recent example of this involves students enrolled in MBA 660 Operations and Supply Chain Management.  This course prepares students to set up and manage factories.

With labor accounting for 15-30% of total factory cost, human resource management is a key part of business planning.  Two groups that are too often overlooked in these plans are those with disabilities or previously incarcerated.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 only 17.9% of persons with a disability were employed. This is nearly 3.5x lower than employment among those without a disability.  According to the Center for American Progress, formerly incarcerated people in the U.S.face a 27% unemployment rate—nearly five times higher than the unemployment rate of the general public.

As part of their operations coursework, MBA students have an opportunity to meet with the management team and shop floor associates at Goodwill Commercial Services located on the west side of Indianapolis.  The 100,000-square-foot facility is an ISO-certified contract manufacturer staffed with associates, 85% of whom are either disabled or previously incarcerated.

“Goodwill Commercial Services provides contract manufacturing and assembly services to business customers. We were very pleased to host Dr. Craig Seidelson and the MBA students to see our Tremont plant. As future business leaders, the students will be in a position to affect change through their communities and we were proud to introduce them to some of our employees,” said Jim Humphrey, vice president, Goodwill Commercial Services.

Time spent at Goodwill Commercial Services teaches University of Indianapolis students challenges that these groups face in the workforce and what can be accomplished when business leaders provide opportunities.  One student, Alice Whitaker ’22(MBA, concentration in organizational leadership), commented:

“It is so encouraging to see that a place that hires people often overlooked by hiring managers is not only in business but is thriving.  It was wonderful to get to speak to their employees and hear their stories and how their lives were touched by Goodwill.  As a future leader, I want to be someone who has a people-first business strategy and I appreciated getting to tour Goodwill which proves that this goal is possible,” said Whitaker.

Another student, Bailey Dodson ’23 (marketing) ’24 (MBA global supply chain), commented:

“It was interesting to see some of the concepts we talk about in class being put into action in terms quality, labor, and efficiency. One major aspect of the visit that really touched me was hearing some of the worker’s experiences,” Dodson said.

University of Indianapolis partners with the Financial Planning Association to present virtual Financial Planning Day Jan. 30th

INDIANAPOLIS—The University of Indianapolis’ School of Business and the Financial Planning Association will partner to present Financial Planning Day on January 30, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is open to members of the community for free financial planning services from certified financial advisors. Interview opportunities are available both virtually and in person with the University of Indianapolis’ Student Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) President Emily Muckerheide and Pro Bono Co-Director of FPA Chad Reed.

Financial Planning Day, hosted by the University of Indianapolis’ School of Business in partnership with the Financial Planning Association, helps bring the knowledge and expertise of certified financial planners (CFPs) to the Indianapolis community. Receive FREE advice, via Zoom, from Indy’s best CFPs to assist in an array of financial situations. Among the offered services include: credit/debt management, estate planning, government benefits, and personal budgeting. The Financial Planning Association is eager to help members of the community during these unprecedented times and UIndy is proud to live out its “Education for Service” motto through this event.

Learn more and register here.

The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) is the primary membership organization for financial planning practitioners who want to master the practice of financial planning, and who are committed to shaping the future of the profession.

Applied Learning is the key to the UIndy School of Business. From managing a portfolio of real money in the UIndy Student Fund to working directly with clients on project management, UIndy students “learn by doing.” Both undergraduate and graduate courses are taught by dedicated faculty, many of whom have many years of real-world experience they bring to the classroom. In addition to the classroom, students gain valuable internship experiences at nearly 100 different businesses each year and are well-prepared to enter the job market or advance in their careers upon graduation.

New book by Craig Seidelson explores shifts in U.S.-China trade 

Craig Seidelson published a book, "Operations Management in China."The coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching implications for American manufacturers who rely on China, but other factors are also in play. A timely new book authored by Craig Seidelson, assistant professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis School of Business, explores these and other U.S.-China business topics.

“Operations Management in China” published by Business Expert Press delves into the relationship between the United States and China, its largest goods trading partner.

“Roughly 12 cents of every dollar U.S. consumers spend is on Chinese-made products. Nearly 60% of all U.S. imports from China are made by U.S. manufacturers,” Seidelson explained.

“The reality is U.S. supply chain managers need Chinese-made products because prices are among the world’s lowest and the export-oriented, manufacturing infrastructure is the world’s largest. Yet, recent events are forcing companies to reexamine the sustainability of their sourcing models,” he added.

The book explores how labor costs and corporate debt in China are on the rise, while the Chinese RMB continues to fall. As inflationary pressures build, so do political factors.

Craig Seidelson, assistant professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis School of Business

Craig Seidelson

“The majority of U.S. investment into China is through Hong Kong. Under the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, Hong Kong has been treated differently than mainland China,” Seidelson said, noting that Hong Kong has benefited from a special status in terms of investment and trade.

That status is now in doubt. Seidelson noted that a new national security law grants mainland institutions in Hong Kong responsibility for security. In response, the Trump administration has indicated that the ‘one country, two systems’ scenario is no longer valid and that Hong Kong’s special trade status should be dropped. As a result, Seidelson said tens of thousands of US companies may be forced to change how they do business in China.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic is also forcing a change in U.S.-China business relations, with American companies re-evaluating their reliance on Chinese-made products, Seidelson pointed out. In 2019, nearly 50% of every dollar spent on made in China products went to U.S. service providers. In April 2020, U.S. imports from China fell approximately 50 percent compared to a year earlier. 

“As Chinese companies shut down to control the spread of the virus, many U.S. companies were faced with the real possibility of shortages. This is particularly true in the pharmaceutical sector where China is the largest producer of the ingredients drugmakers use to make products,” Seidelson said.

Learn more here.   

Craig Seidelson has spent over 20 years in manufacturing. During this time he worked 16 years in China, building and managing factories. He is presently a reviewer for the International Journal of Operations Research and Information Systems. As professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis, he teaches logistics, quality management, and manufacturing at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He also teaches a course on Manufacturing in China. Prof. Seidelson routinely consults on these topics and presents his research at conferences around the world. Through his work as vice president of the Board at the America China Society of Indiana, he brings together U.S. and Chinese businesses. His contributions in China were recognized with an honorary professorship at Changsha University of Science and Technology.

Student-athlete Brody Conner reflects on building skills to last a lifetime

From an Academic All-American to achieving degrees from the School of Business at the undergraduate and graduate level, Brody Conner ’19 (finance) ’20 (MBA) says the University of Indianapolis has broadened his horizons for what is possible.

“I came from a very small town [Paw Paw, Michigan], which makes the world seem so elementary and set in stone. But coming to UIndy has opened my eyes through the sheer number of different people I have met, learning their perspectives on life, and how their journeys brought them to UIndy as well,” Conner reflected. 

Brody Conner is a five-year member of the Greyhounds wrestling program.

Brody Conner is a five-year member of the Greyhounds wrestling program.

A five-year member of the UIndy wrestling program, Conner is a three-time NCAA Division II National Qualifier, a three-time NCAA Elite 90 Finalist and an Academic All-American (only the second student-athlete in program history to achieve that title) with 92 career wins.

“Wrestling showed me how discipline in all aspects of life gets you to achieve your personal highest potential possible,” Conner said. “It also taught me how complete dedication to one thing can pay off in dividends.” 

Conner credits faculty including Matt Will, associate professor of finance, for pushing him to achieve his best.

“Dr. Will has continued to blow my mind in every class I had him in. Although he is a tough cookie, he is the best business professor on campus by a landslide, and getting on his good side (through grades and club participation) will pay off in dividends for you,” he said.

In addition to the wrestling team, Conner also led two Christian groups during his time at UIndy, the Community Group and FCA.

“My faith activities grounded me upon a rock stronger than my comprehension and will continue to drive me farther than anything I thought possible,” Conner said.

Conner has gained plenty of hands-on experience as a student at UIndy. He runs his own landscaping company, Growth Scapes LLC, and has done several internships with Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) in Indianapolis.

“DFAS taught me that you get out of life what you put out there, if you want to work hard and make something of yourself, you will do it. My landscaping company has taught me about relationships and problem-solving. If it weren’t for my two partners, Luke Kriech and Brian Wagner, I would not have a company to talk about. They are fantastic guys who I am excited to work with every day, and believe in their ability to help this company achieve great heights!”

After graduating, Conner plans to continue his landscaping business while working at DFAS as a financial manager. His long-term goals including building his own company, joining the FBI, investing in real estate, and starting a gym. 

“I had a very enjoyable experience in the business program here at UIndy. The classes Dr. Will taught helped prepare me for anything in the world of finance and beyond,” Conner said. “I learned how to really research and think through problems, and that skill has equipped me to feel like I can handle any issue life throws at me.”

Learn more about the University of Indianapolis School of Business.