Whitman Student Team Impresses SU Chancellor with Strategies to Bring Minnowbrook Back in the Black

Whitman faculty and staff brought together four high-achieving students—Brian Becker, a second-year J.D./MBA, Sandra Carruitero ’16, Kelley Long ’15 and Isaac Signorelli ’15—for a Consurtio pilot project. The challenge would be to make strategic operational recommendations to improve the struggling University-owned Minnowbrook Conference Center and their presentation would be made to SU Chancellor Kent Syverud.

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs Amanda Nicholson and Consurtio CEO Terry Brown mentored the students through the project. In line with the Consurtio MBA-management model, Becker was asked to serve as the team’s CEO.

Kevin Callahan, Minnowbrook on-site manager, and Jamie Cyr, director of SU Auxiliary Services, made themselves readily accessible to the students. “With the help of Mr. Callahan and Mr. Cyr, we were able to access a wide range of information relating to the management and operation of Minnowbrook,” said Becker. “We toured the facility, conducted comprehensive research and spent hundreds of hours in team discussions.”

The students would review their findings weekly with Nicholson and Brown, who provided consistent guidance as the students worked to formulate their recommendations. After roughly six months, the team made its presentation to Chancellor Syverud and addressed his questions.

The Chancellor was exceedingly impressed by the poise of the students and the quality of their proposal. “The team was extremely professional and offered recommendations and suggested action items that will be very valuable as we develop a future strategy for this Syracuse University treasure,” said Syverud.

Pleasing the Chancellor of their University was reason enough for the students to celebrate, but Becker said they gained so much more than just his praise. “The aspect I enjoyed most was the continual sense of having a positive, real-world impact helping our client achieve its strategic objectives. This was a great opportunity to collaborate with talented faculty members and students while applying the management skills and course material learned inside the classroom.”