Utah State's "Partners in Business" Program

Posted - Nov. 3, 2004 at 11:07 a.m.



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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

One of the most distinguished business conferences in the state is actually run by students! The Utah State "Partners in Business" program has featured renowned speakers such as Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan and Dan Quayle, to name a few.

The program began in 1970 when Dr. Vern Buehler and the Utah Bankers Association organized a banking seminar. The seminar was a success, and other seminars were initiated in the years that followed. Today, there are seven different seminars that cover finance and banking, operational excellence, accounting, women in business, information technology, human resources, and customer service and marketing.

Dr. Buehler retired in 1989 and passed directorship to Dr. Ross Robson, who has overseen the student-run program ever since. Dr. Robson tells me working with the students is always engaging. Each seminar is managed by a different student, and all the accounting, publication, design and sales work is done by students as well.

The students begin nearly a year before the seminar is to take place by holding focus groups with previous participants. The students try to find out what topics, speakers and discussions would be of interest, and then they proceed to organize the program. They work with the various USU departments to identify national-level speakers, most of whom have been featured in business publications such as Forbes and Fortune.

The Partners in Business program usually features more than 100 speakers each year and brings in about $350,000. The program allows the students, as well as the community and entire Intermountain West, to participate in world-class presentations on the dynamic business issues that face today's economy.

A recent Partners in Business seminar, with more than 450 attendees, took place earlier in the fall. The remaining seminars are scheduled to take place through the end of March.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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