Inside Rensselaer
* The Business of Baseball: Lally School Undergraduate  Students Pitch Ideas to Tri-City Valley Cats
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Tom Triscari (white shirt) talks with his students at the Valley Cats stadium.
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Supercomputing: Celebrating the CCNI
During the dog days of summer, a group of management students at Rensselaer had a chance to experience one of America’s favorite pastimes — baseball. Instead of long lectures and working on hypothetical problem sets, Thomas Triscari, clinical associate professor in the Lally School of Management & Technology and a longtime baseball fan, believes that one of the best ways to help his students understand business is to provide them with an opportunity to critically examine and interact with an actual local enterprise — in this case, the Tri-City Valley Cats, a minor league baseball team.

On Sept. 5, the students stepped up to the plate to deliver a series of business pitches to Tri-City Valley Cats executives Vic Christopher, assistant general manager, and Chris Turner, community relations and special events manager, along with Robert Pasinella, director of Rensselaer County’s Industrial Development Agency.

“The project, along with others that we will work on throughout the semester, encourages students to see how the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data regardless of the business environment can be applied to solve real-world business problems in an effort to make informed decisions,” said Triscari. “The interactive approach to teaching traditional business theories and principles always serves to enhance the student experience.”

As part of a two-week project in the Quantitative Methods for Business course, Triscari’s undergraduate students worked in teams to develop a set of proposals on ways that the Tri-City Valley Cats enterprise could be improved. Among the students’ ideas were proposals to increase revenue, decrease cost, and enhance entertainment product for attendees at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium (commonly known by local fans as the “Joe”). Adding a “global” twist, each team was managed by a first-year Chinese graduate student enrolled in the Lally School Pathfinder MBA program.

“As someone new to the United States, I thought this was a great opportunity to learn how to interact with American students and also businesses,” said Linna Wu, a native of Shanghai, China, and one of the Pathfinder MBA students. “Sometimes not understanding each other’s cultural differences can create many challenges. This exercise was a good way for me to start learning ways to improve my communication skills and how I work with people, especially since I am interested in working for an American company after graduation.”

“For both the American and Chinese students — the MBA students having come to the United States for the first time — the opportunity to participate in the project takes on special meaning, allowing them to learn first-hand how to manage a project, work with a client, and develop networking skills,” Triscari noted. “More importantly, it helps students to develop skills necessary to become highly valuable global ‘pathfinders’ — notably multilingual business leaders with executive skills that cross international borders, cultures, and business philosophy, as well as approaches and practices in order to facilitate innovation in developing markets within the global economy.”
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Inside Rensselaer, Strategic Communications and External Relations
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 2, Number 15, September 19, 2008
©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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