In a kind of college-level "show and tell," Morgan State University students shared their classrooms yesterday with more than a dozen Baltimore-area executives who participated in the university's first Executive Day.
Designed to give students firsthand access to business people, Executive Day was part of the School of Business and Management's effort to establish stronger ties with Baltimore businesses.
Executive Day was sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Committee -- which just over a year ago formed the MSU Advisory Council to work with Morgan State -- and the President's Roundtable, a group of black business owners.
"We have brought on this campus today 14 to 15 CEOs and executives, and they get to interact with the students firsthand," said Joseph Haskins Jr., chairman of the advisory council.
Top managers from NCNB Bank of Maryland, Parks Sausage Co. and Manekin Corp. were among the featured guest speakers who shared with students their personal and professional experiences and information about their companies.
The juniors and seniors in the five classes that welcomed Executive Day participants found the give and take stimulating.
"I think it's a beneficial program, very important, especially for the students in their last year of college, as I am," said Carlos Latney, a business administration major.
Through such forums, students get a better idea of what prospective employers are looking for, Mr. Latney said.
For senior Danita Crawley-Bey, who wants to own her own business one day, meeting and listening to Raymond V. Haysbert, president of Parks Sausage, was especially interesting.
"It gave me some insight into the things he had gone through as a business person," Ms. Crawley-Bey said.
For professors, the forums serve as a teaching tool. "We find when the students meet people who are in business, they are able to better associate what they learn in the classroom," said Dr. Mwangi Karangu, whose money and banking class hosted H. Lee Boatwright, chief executive officer of NCNB Maryland.
From the executive's point of view, "it's pay-back time," said Manekin President Richard Alter, who said attending a program such as Executive Day was a way of bolstering education.
"We are no better than the labor supply in the marketplace. Business leaders need to give support," he said.
In addition, the program gives managers the chance to be in closer touch with minority students, said Dr. Otis A. Thomas, dean of the business school.
"Demographics of the workplace are changing, and they are going to be interested in recruitment of minority students," he said.