A more mellow McCombs

By Esther E. Sanchez

It’s quieter than usual in the McCombs School of Business. There is the hum of moving machinery, but it’s only the sound of the escalators.

“Business students love to talk,” sophomore Devika Manish Kumar said. “It’s a bit strange because it’s less vibrant, active and it feels isolated.”

The petroleum engineering major is a part of 120 students enrolled in the Business Foundation Program, according to the school’s website, it focuses on accounting, finance, management and business law, according the school’s website. She said she feels lucky to be a part of the program now rather than during the long semesters because the classes are much smaller and is able to network with her classmates better.

Although Professor Patrick Badolato teaches 10 students this semester, he said his classes in the fall and spring are normally made up of about 45 to 60 students but drop to about 27 in the summer. This semester, he is teaching four courses. He said there are less distractions during this semester for students, but courses intensify because of the shorter time frame.

“I slightly lower the workload because of it,” Badolato said. “I try not to water it down too much so they walk away with opportunity. I’m going to involve everyone in class. The fact that we meet four days out of the week stresses it and each student is in the spotlight a lot more often.”

During the summer, academic adviser Jay Guevara said the school is calmer. However, he said academic advisers are outside the McCombs building with incoming students for orientation. He said current students typically use the summer to get internships, work or earn core-curriculum credits at junior colleges. He also said academic advisers help incoming freshmen become acquainted to their new school.

“During the fall and spring, the students are more competitive,” he added. “But they also support and network each other while taking advantage of resources. During the summer, students are catching up, and there isn’t a whole lot going on.”

Badolato is involved in two programs designed to give high school students exposure to higher education while undergraduate and graduate students are away for the summer. He said he teaches all year, but to different audiences.

“It should be quieter, but it’s not,” he said. “The environment is different because the people who are here.”