Association for MBA students takes learning on the road

Bradley's MBA Associations watches a fire extinguisher demonstration at the Underwriters Laboratory during their tour of the facility.

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December 12, 2012

By Kelsey Budd ’14

Bradley’s MBA Association recently visited the offices of two Illinois companies—the CME Group and the Underwriters Laboratory—to take a look at the inner workings of some key players in the business world.

MBA Association President Miriam Gillan and 20 other MBA students made trips to Chicagoland where they met with alumni employed at the two companies. Bradley alumna and Vice President of the Public Safety Advocacy, Education & Outreach at Underwriters Laboratory, Barbara Guthrie ’84, invited the MBA Association to tour the company’s Northbrook-based facility where it tests and rates the quality and safety of various consumer products.

“It’s great to see how Bradley alumni give back and are willing to host us. They want to show students what a Bradley education means to them and how it has helped them in their career,” said Gillan, an MBA student originally from Spring Mills, Pa. “It’s a really unique opportunity for us.”

The tour at Underwriters Laboratory included various hands-on demonstrations of their testing, such as setting a pan ablaze and dousing it with a fire extinguisher. For lunch, the students met with members of the company’s legal team and marketing department who offered advice on how to students can use their degrees to succeed in the business world.

The opportunity to visit the CME Group was also initiated through a Bradley alumnus, Bruce Johnson ’66, a board member for the company that owns and operates large derivatives and future exchanges in Chicago and New York. Thanks to CME, students saw the Chicago trading floor in action where traders were dealing with commodities like grain and foreign currency.

Following the tour, students ate lunch in the CME boardroom and had a question and answer session with Johnson and learned about the evolution of the trading process and how it works today.

Gillan, who works as a graduate assistant for the Foster College of Business’ marketing department, said the visits helped reinforce the club’s emphasis on experiential learning and networking possibilities.

“The alumni gave us a very hands-on experience,” Gillan said. “It was enlightening to see the whole process of their industries and to hear their perspectives.”

The MBA Association usually plans four trips a year and has already began the planning process for future visits.

“The ambition of the MBA students to go on these extra trips really speaks to the enthusiasm for the program,” Gillan said.