Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version

Fall 12-3-2010


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Donald F. Uerling. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2010
Copyright 2010 Craig D. Bell


The effectiveness of business education has come under intense scrutiny—with many questioning its overall value. Main criticisms center on the lack of integration across the curriculum, too much emphasis on quantitative analysis, and the absence of relevant application. Most critics call for business education to become more hands-on and to create opportunities for students to practice the discipline of management. The purpose of this mixed method explanatory study was to explore the perceived influence of the Integrated Business Core (IBC) experience at Brigham Young University – Idaho on career success. The study sought to capture the perceptions of recent graduates regarding the IBC experience as it related to preparing them for careers in business.

Four-hundred and nineteen IBC graduates responded to an online survey in which they evaluated their BYU-Idaho IBC experience. Eighteen graduates–with varied perceptions—were then interviewed to gain a better understanding. Overall, graduates reported satisfaction and a higher level of satisfaction with IBC helping them make an immediate contribution to the workplace than of helping them rapidly grow into leadership positions.

Teamwork, group dynamics, and general business understanding through student-run companies were viewed as the most beneficial aspects of the IBC, while the simplicity, monotonous nature, and restrictions placed upon student companies were the least beneficial. The study also explored reasons why students may choose not to be engaged in an academic experience and offers recommendations to enhance the learning experience.