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Release: Immediate

Iowa coach and ROTC team up in UI business school class

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Two metaphors often used to describe business management -- sports and the military -- will literally meet in the classroom Tuesday, Jan. 20 as part of a new focus in a graduate course in the University of Iowa College of Business Administration.

The first session of the course, "Strategic Management and Business Policy," will feature presentations by Bob Elliott, defensive coordinator for the Iowa Hawkeye football team, and Lt. Col. Tony Garcia, professor of military science and an instructor in the U.S. Army ROTC program.

They will each talk about approaches to strategy and how strategy is affected by changing circumstances.

The course will also be presented to students at the business school's interactive sites at Newton, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities through the Iowa Communications Network.

The course is a five-week, modular introduction to the "capstone" class for students pursuing master of business administration (MBA) degrees at the UI. For the rest of the semester, students will take part in interactive presentations by executives of Iowa-based and national companies.

Carol Fethke, professor of economics and director of the "Strategic Management and Business Policy" module, says the course is designed to introduce business students to strategic planning.

The five-week session is based on "game theory," or the idea that decision-making is influenced by the way different segments of the working environment interact.

"A successful strategic planner in business will have to deal with a wide range of interacting influences, including rivals, but also suppliers, customers, complementary enterprises," Fethke says. "How well you do is a function of what all these other interacting components do and how they change their strategy in response to your strategy."

Business educators often use analogies and metaphors from sports and the military to describe business decisions and goals, in part, because strategy has long been an important focus of the two fields, Fethke says.

"We want to have people who do strategic planning for a living come in and talk about how they approach the process," Fethke says.

The course is co-taught by John Solow, associate professor of economics, and Robert Ellis, manager of Systems Marketing for the Air Transport Division of Rockwell.


EDITORS NOTE: Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend the opening session of "Strategic Management and Business Policy." The class will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Room W107 of the Pappajohn Business Administration Building.