October 3, 2019 at 10:30am
Dane Lisser

Millikin professor brings branding and consulting opportunities to the classroom

Millikin University's Tabor School of Business is committed to providing student with opportunities that deliver real world experiences. These type of experiences start right away when students begin their first year at Millikin – something that Dr. Alan Duesterhaus believes makes the Tabor School of Business unique.

"Certainly in the Tabor School of Business, some of the things we have that I've never seen anywhere else include our Business Creation class and Team Dynamics class," said Duesterhaus, assistant professor of management & marketing. "These classes give you the opportunity to create a business, and doing it as a freshmen gives you the opportunity to figure out what part of business gets you excited and that way we can get you on the right track."

Freshman students in Tabor's Business Creation course gain a basic understanding of business by having the opportunity to create a business plan that outlines a proposal to operate an enterprise of their choice. Students in the Team Dynamics course not only learn how to work in teams, but learn team leadership, management and the role of conflict.

"In terms of the Team Dynamics class, every employer wants you to work well with a team but we rarely talk about how to do it," said Duesterhaus. "We spend a class during freshmen year figuring out how to work best on a team and you will use that over and over again throughout your four years at Millikin."

Duesterhaus has extensive experience serving nonprofit organizations in various capacities including as a vice president for advancement and as a board chair. His research focuses on branding and brand management. In addition to his role as a faculty member at Millikin, he is a managing partner for Duesterhaus LLC, a marketing and management consulting firm.

Duesterhaus has crafted strategic plans for new and existing nonprofits, created case statements for organizations to garner outside support and formulated brand strategies to best position organizations. Additionally, he has experience working in the education finance industry as well as starting his own retail business.

All of these experiences are aspects he is bringing to the table in terms of Performance Learning opportunities for students at Millikin.

"One of the largest trends in terms of brand management that I'm seeing today is not moving away from digital, but understanding that digital might move you back into the physical realm," said Duesterhaus. "There is certainly a lot of space digitally to be making money, but more and more are finding that once you get the data online and you've been doing sales there – there's also opportunities in a brick-and-mortar type of environment to make some money as long as it's a little more targeted."

One of the courses Duesterhaus teaches is Not-for-Profit Leadership & Governance where students learn what it means to be a leader in the current nonprofit environment locally as well as globally.

"The students are working with actual nonprofit organizations to do best practices for their boards, to make them better and more effective," said Duesterhaus. "We develop marketing plans for real organizations and develop digital marketing campaigns to determine whether or not they're achieving the return on investment the company desires."

Duesterhaus says the Tabor School of Business uses opportunities to work with real companies as much as possible because it's more interesting and it's what students will be doing in the "real world."

In addition to class sizes and Performance Learning opportunities, Duesterhaus says Millikin's Tabor School of Business is one of the best business schools in the U.S. because of its faculty.

"We want to be here to teach, we want to see students succeed, and that makes a big difference," he said.