In an age where e-commerce is rapidly replacing many traditional methods of conducting business, the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration has incorporated this trend into their curriculum through the introduction of classes, projects and examples that revolve around the relatively new field.
These changes, which began approximately seven years ago, are only the beginning, according to Dean of the Tuck School Paul Danos. Over the next couple of years, the school plans to add more classes in the areas of e-commerce, entrepreneurship and private equity.
"The corporations that hire our students want them conversant in these matters," Danos said. "In any business a person is going to be better off if they can demonstrate some knowledge of e-commerce and the Internet."
Danos sees the future of business affecting the way classes are taught in two ways.
First, the methods used to teach classes are evolving. For instance, a professor from Oxford University taught a class on business leadership via satellite last year.
In addition, new classes are being designed to focus on these issues, and existing classes are being augmented to further emphasize the presence of e-commerce in business.
Many classes include e-commerce in their curriculum, such as an entrepreneurship class in which all students must complete an intense culminating research project.
Of the 80 percent of students who have taken the entrepreneurship class, half their projects have been related to e-commerce, Danos said.
The Tuck School has not yet specifically hired new professors to teach any of their new classes, though Danos said that it will be a factor in the hiring future professors. The Tuck School does have 15 information technology specialists on staff to assist in the creation and evolvement of their programs.
The school's Intranet service -- Tuck Streams -- is the most advanced Intranet of any school, Danos said.
The Intranet features such capabilities as a personal calendar popping up on the screen every time a student opens his computer. The personalized calendar includes information such as meetings, interviews, classes, class assignments, syllabi and visitors.
Given its small size, the Tuck School has the advantage of allowing all students hands-on experience with all new technology that they incorporate into their curriculum, Danos said.
Currently there are 500 ports for computing, and each student brings a personal computer to class. The classes are structured so that students can download any information that the professor is referring to from the Internet.
Other classes focus on Business-to-Business e-commerce, managing information technologies and private equity finance through e-commerce.
The Supply Chain Management class emphasizes how suppliers use information technologies to market their goods and services. In another class, students have the opportunity to create web-based products that are actually used in the business world.
Danos said that while the retail side of e-commerce currently accounts for the larger portion of transactions, Business-to-Business transactions may eventually be even bigger in terms of total magnitude and that many courses at the Tuck School focus on this distinction.
General strategy courses also exist, such as the Information for Technologies for Competitive Positioning course, which focuses on creating strategies that allow companies to become competitive through the use of information technologies.
The Tuck School has a new center for private equity, called the John Foster Center for Private Equity, which studies how high tech start-up businesses are financed. In keeping with the Tuck School's mission to remain on the cutting edge of technology, the center has opened up an office in Silicon Valley.