UWG MBA Students Explore Transformational Opportunities

Dec 20, 2018

As Southwire continues to grow, it is important for the organization to identify and explore transformational opportunities based on disruptive technologies and megatrends that are shaping the industrial electrical industry. To gain insight into these opportunities and give back to the community, Southwire partnered with the University of West Georgia’s (UWG’s) Richards College of Business (RCOB) Master of Business Administration (MBA) marketing strategy class to understand these transformational opportunities and allow students to tactically apply their research.

The class, taught by Dr. David Nickell Ph.D, Professor and overseen by Dr. Faye McIntyre, Ph.D, Dean of the RCOB, teamed up in groups of three to four students who worked with a Southwire Corporate Strategy Team (CST) member on one of five transformational initiatives.

“Partnering with Southwire for this project was truly mutually beneficial,” said McIntyre. “Our students were able to apply concepts learned in the strategic marketing course to a global company, explore the current environment and understand the decision-making responsibilities of the Southwire leadership team, which helped students grasp these issues at a depth not possible when analyzing an academic case from a textbook. The information gathered and evaluated by the students and their resulting recommendations should help Southwire make these critical decisions about future directions of the company. When UWG and Southwire partner, everyone gains – the University, our students, Southwire and our community!”

In the first two weeks of the semester, students visited the Thorn Customer Solutions Center, located in Carrollton, Ga., where CST members gave students an interactive tour of the facility, while explaining the history of Southwire and its product lines. There, students were able to gain insight into the company’s past, understand the current product offerings and focus on the future.

“We hope this experience was positive and feels real for the students as opposed to books and structured curriculum,” said Jason Powell, Southwire’s Vice President of National Accounts. “What an awesome and valuable experience for Southwire to partner with the Richards College of Business for a real business initiative.”

Throughout the semester, each team researched their topic and developed a business plan which they presented to their classmates, CST members and Nickell. The top two teams delivered their plans to Southwire’s leadership team who chose the winning group.

“Unlike a traditional class project, the Southwire project lacked a predetermined answer,” said Nickell. “It forced the students to critically and creatively assess a unique situation, and to develop their own solution. The student teams really delivered, and I think we were all very pleased with their final presentations. As a result of the Southwire project, the students have the confidence to tackle any project with which they are challenged.”

Chelsey Stillwell, one of the winning team members and Southwire Human Resources Intern, focused on low voltage direct current (LVDC) and how it is transforming power distribution.

“At the beginning of the semester, we were unsure about how we could play a part in helping Southwire understand transformational opportunities,” said Stillwell. “After some research and support from our CST leader, we were able to better understand LVDC. It was nerve-racking delivering our business plan to Southwire leaders, but it was really cool to be a part of Southwire’s future and help the company get a new set of eyes on transformational opportunities.”

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