Indiana State University Newsroom

Sycamore Business Advisors program honored for innovation

September 30, 2008

A program at Indiana State University's College of Business that pairs teams of undergraduate students seeking experience with companies seeking solutions has been recognized for its innovation.

Arthur Sherwood and David F. Robinson, professors of management at ISU, received second prize in the Innovation in Business Education Award competition for their entry, "Sycamore Business Advisors Capstone Program." The award was given by the Mid-Continent East chapter of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The program seeks to encourage innovation in business education by recognizing creative, unique strategies or programs which advance the quality of education and the management of resources.

Sycamore Business Advisors, a capstone class for business majors, offers strategic consulting to businesses and community service organizations from Terre Haute and surrounding areas. This semester's clients include a fast food chain, a county club, an organic farm supply company and a chapter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Started in 2002, the class has continued to evolve each semester. Students have assisted a variety of businesses and non-profit organizations over the years, from those just getting started to others looking to develop the next phase of their business plan.

"We have really focused our resources on the pedagogy of service learning and community engagement," Sherwood said. "This course is an excellent example of how to do that."

Students operate the consulting company, develop training materials and programs, while applying their knowledge of business strategy to address their client's problems. The students work in teams, conducting research and meeting with clients to develop a plan to meet the needs of a client organization. Teams often attend board meetings, and develop good working relationships with executives and other company leaders.

"This is their opportunity to help great companies get even better," Robinson said. "The answers that the students give their clients really mean something."

The award will be presented on Oct. 13 at an AACSB conference in Chicago. Robinson will accept the award and discuss the program.

"This award is reflective of the amount of thought and attention that has gone into this program, as well as the university's continued support," Robinson said. "Sycamore Business Advisors is a unique program in business higher education; nobody else does what we do. Our students give us the power to make things happen. It is a great way to give back to the community."


Contacts: Arthur Sherwood, Associate Professor of Management, Indiana State University, 812-237-2094 or

David F. Robinson, Assistant Professor of Management, Indiana State University, 812-237-8829 or

Writer: Emily Taylor, assistant director of media relations, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or