The Voice: Summer 2001

The Voice

FBE Club visits Minneapolis

    Forty business students saw businesses in action by traveling to Minneapolis for the annual Future Business Executives (FBE) Club trip. Students toured NATCO, Cargill, Ernst and Young, Wells Fargo, 3M, and Best Buy.
    “Seeing an operation physically is different than learning through classroom lectures,”
says club advisor Art Attema. Sometimes the students see cutting edge technology that surprises them. That happened last year in Kansas City at Payless Shoes. “Their distribution system was amazing,” says Attema. This year students saw one of the few large dot coms close to turning a profit when they toured Best Buy. The reason, according to Attema, seems to be that Best Buy is trying to make a seamless connection between its physical stores and on-line sales at BestBuy.com.
    “We were able to see marketing concepts learned in class in action,” says Attema. Students began to see why companies made some of the service choices they did.
    A highlight of the trip for Attema is always the contact with business alumni in the area. Students met alumni for lunch on April 5 before beginning their tours. Meeting with alums gave them the opportunity to ask questions and make connections.
    “These meetings not only help build students' confidence but also give them some very good advice about what employers are looking for,” says Attema.
    On the tour of Cargill, alum Jay Kroese, a lawyer for the company, took the students through the plant and talked with them about what Cargill stands for, what it is like to work for a big company, and what difference a Christian can make in such a setting.
    Since the tour is a student-organized event and attendance is voluntary, the trip is not a
formal part of the business program. But Attema believes it is a valuable addition. It boosts students' confidence, helps them connect concepts they've studied with actual business practices, and allows them to relate to faculty in a more informal way-often giving rise to expanded discussions on different topics related to what they've seen.

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