From the Stanford Report, July 21, 2014
Inspiring Stanford humanities majors to consider business careers
This summer was the first time that Stanford provided funding – with support from the Office of the President – to help Stanford students majoring in the humanities and the arts take part in the Summer Institute for General Management at the Graduate School of Business.
BY KATHLEEN J. SULLIVAN
On a recent summer morning, a lecture hall at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) was filled with students from around the world who were ready to analyze the fall – and subsequent resurrection – of an American kidney dialysis company.
To prepare for the lecture, titled “A Deep Dive into Company Culture,” the students had read a GSB case study that described a company, Total Renal Care, which was once plagued by financial, operational, regulatory and morale problems.
Sarah Soule, the Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior at the GSB, stood facing the class of dozens of students majoring in the humanities, engineering sciences, economics and finance, law, social sciences, and natural and life sciences.
It was the third week of the Summer Institute for General Management (SIGM), a month-long program designed for exceptional college students – rising juniors and seniors –majoring in non-business fields and recent graduates with non-business degrees. The program is now in its 11th year.
“Let’s begin in 1999, when Total Renal Care was a very troubled kidney dialysis company,” said Soule, one of a dozen MBA faculty members who taught the SIGM students.
“What were the problems with the company?” she asked.
Sitting in the third row, Stanford junior Natasha Mmonatau, a history major concentrating in 20th-century African history, offered the first observation.
“They had acquired a lot of companies, similar dialysis centers, and they had trouble integrating them into their existing model,” said Mmonatau, one of eight undergraduate humanities and arts majors at Stanford who received university funding to take part in this summer’s program.