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Ask the Cougar

A Corporate Classroom

Howard Rudd, management professor and dean emeritus, School of Business

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If you're aiming to make the big leagues in the business world, it might be wise to look up Howard Rudd when you get to campus. Rudd has been at the College for more than 25 years, serving roughly half that time as the founding dean of the School of Business. Since 1997, though, he's concentrated his time teaching, as well as introducing his students to the parade of top regional and global business leaders who volunteer as guest lecturers in his classroom.

If you took his Leadership and Management Development course for the 2009 fall semester, for example, you'd have benefited from a class taught by John Hasell, former interim president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority and founding chairman of the South Carolina World Trade Center. A few weeks later, you'd have been an audience to Justin McLean '98, who became CEO of Atlanta-based Endeavor Telecom in his 20s. Two weeks later, Anita Zucker, head of InterTech Group (the second-largest private employer in South Carolina), was invited to class, and the next week, Sharon Brock Kingman '80, an Olympic Games consultant, made a visit to share her leadership experiences. The list goes on.

Rudd believes in the illustrative power of business leaders. He also believes in the value of seeing business and industry firsthand, often through factory tours and visits to company offices. Since 1979, the College has offered a study-abroad Maymester program for students interested in visiting Western Europe and learning about trade ties between European companies and South Carolina. During this three-week course, students take a management course and a history course while visiting European cultural attractions, historic sites and manufacturing facilities. Among the European companies that have operations in South Carolina and have played host to the students during their European trip are Bosch, Bayer, BMW and Michelin. Rudd says the site visits give students a glimpse of the business world in action and are helpful in learning what business trends Western Europe is experiencing that might be similar to the U.S., such as a loss of manufacturing jobs. Plus, it helps strengthen the transatlantic ties so valuable to South Carolina and the College, which suits Rudd just fine.

"I'm a bridge-building nut," Rudd says.