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 E-Business Center Offers Hands-On Academics

E-BUSINESS AFFECTS every part of a company- and can make or break the business, says Patrick Duparcq, professor of management and director of the Center for E-Business Education and Research (CEER) at Krannert. In the "e-enabled" world, Duparcq says, companies that fail to provide more seamless communication and service will eventually fail to stay in business. The key to their success is having properly trained employees- and that's where CEER fits.

"Companies need employees who have a multifunctional, interdisciplinary education and an integrated strategy, " Duparcq explains. "They need people who understand the technology, know how to get the different departments all talking to each other, and understand the basic elements of the development process. They don't have to be engineers, but they need to know how to talk to them." 

CEER implements three types of initiatives: education, research, and outreach. Many of its efforts involve joint projects with the other centers at Purdue as well as the Schools of Engineering, and the Department of Computer Sciences.  Academics focus on hands-on e-business approaches to marketing, finance, operations strategy, organizational behavior, accounting, economics, and information systems.

A majority of of e-business courses require the completion of a substantial consulting project with a partnering company, often resulting in the company's gaining a better understanding of alternative strategies.  Over the past five years, students have finished e-consulting projects for General Motors, 3M, American United Life, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Pratt & Whitney, Whirlpool, Ameritech, and Kimberly-Clark.

Reuben Slone, vice president, supply chain, for Whirlpool, says a student project at Whirlpool benefited both students and the company.  "The Krannert students looked at application service providers to determine whether they were applicable for support of our supply chain," Stone says. "It required a lot of formal research- you can't go read a book about ASPs.  The students did excellent work.  We gained tremendous insight, and the students enjoyed the challenge."

Other outreach initiatives include non-degree education offerings and forums held in cooperation with the Krannert eBusiness Club allowing interaction between graduate students, faculty, alumni, and e-business-professionals.

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