UI business students learn the value of giving


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For Tara From, investing a fictional $1,000 in Amigos de las Américas made the most sense.

The University of Iowa first-year M.B.A. student has been involved with the organization, which provides community-oriented service projects throughout the Americas, for three years.

“I had a personal connection to the organization,” said From, one of 67 students pledging fictional funds to nonprofits in a new UI class. “Many of us were already donating.”

The ethics course, taught by Nancy Hauserman, a UI professor of management and organizations, focuses on nonprofit organizations. The 67 students, all in the Tippie College of Business M.B.A. program, finished their philanthropy projects earlier this week.

The assignment is part of a new three-semester course of class modules dedicated to ethics, leadership, and professionalism. This semester, students researched nonprofit organizations they supported and built a case defending their choices.

First-year M.B.A. student Tracy Suits also chose a familiar nonprofit.

Suits represented Be the Match Foundation, a Minneapolis organization that works with the National Marrow Donor Program to receive bone marrow and umbilical-cord blood transplants.

Christine Fleming, president of the Be the Match Foundation, said courses such as Hauserman’s raise awareness for the groups.

“It really highlights the far-reaching vision of the University of Iowa,” Fleming said.

But the charities are getting more than just fictional funding — Hauserman decided to pledge personal money to each of the more than 50 not-for-profits.

“I felt that everyone needed to know that there would be some real money going to the organizations,” Hauserman said.

To that tune, she brought on more than four dozen business faculty and staff to donate as well.

Frank Schmidt, a UI professor of management and organizations, is waiting to choose which nonprofit he’ll support.

“I thought it was a very worthwhile project,” he said.

Next semester, the same group of students will take on a different challenge: raising the funds themselves.

UI Professor Amy Kristof-Brown will take over the class in the fall, prompting them to focus on leadership skills and raising donations in groups using creative means — similar to the TV show “The Apprentice.”

“They’ll be going out and doing the legwork in the fall,” she said.

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