College of Business to Add 'Experiential Classes' in Spring 2024

By Grant McLaughlin of The Commercial Dispatch
October 17, 2023

First-year MSU College of Business Dean Scott Grawe said he has spent the last 100 days in his new position as the school’s new dean listening to the needs of students, staff and faculty.

Now, he plans to take that information and create new programs at the College of Business and garner the attention of more local companies to provide jobs and learning experiences for the school’s 3,600 students.

“A big part of stepping into a new role at any university is understanding what’s important to the key stakeholders,” Grawe told the Columbus Rotary Club Tuesday at Lion Hills Center. “We have made a lot of connections, and we are putting the wheels in motion on some of the live learning projects and other things.”

Grawe came to MSU in July after serving as a business professor at Iowa State University for more than 13 years, where he became chair for the Department of Supply Chain Management in 2019. He succeeds former Dean Sharon Oswald, who had led MSU’s business college since 2011.

Starting in the spring, Grawe said the school plans to add several “experiential” courses throughout its nine majors for students to gain job experience and learn how to apply the knowledge they learn to real situations companies deal with regularly, such as in finance, supply chain management and sales, to name a few.

“A lot of schools will count internships as experiential learning, and internships are great, but I’m specifically looking at trying to bring live cases and live work into the classroom,” Grawe said. “… Not everybody is going to do a summer internship. A lot of our students need to go back home to help the family with a family business or farming operation, or whatever that happens to be. So if we can give them that experiential learning opportunity while they’re in the classroom during the fall or spring semester, we give them those tools that they may otherwise be missing out on.”

Grawe told The Dispatch that he and a team of faculty and staff have already recruited several businesses in Starkville to participate in the program but declined to disclose their names.

“You’ll hear a lot more about in the spring once we get those courses up and going in terms of the companies we’re partnering with and so forth,” Grawe said.

He also plans to make published research and data produced by the 79 faculty members under his purview more accessible to the public and plans to provide opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs to speak with faculty on ways to improve their own companies.

“One of the easiest ways to get access to the research that our faculty are doing is to connect with them,” he said. “When you’ve got a question related to small business or family business, we can send you the articles that professors have published, but I’d rather put you in contact with that professor. That way, they can see your operation provide more tailored and customized expertise for you.”

Grawe also plans to try and increase student enrollment into the College of Business by working with alumni and donors to provide students with more job opportunities and increase scholarship funding that pays for portions of tuition. He said the school currently provides more than $1 million in scholarships.