Partnerships with Deloitte, Marriott build future leaders

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Juan Luis Nicolau, the Marriott Professor of Revenue Management, makes introductory remarks to a hospitality and tourism management class on revenue management, before guest speaker Dave Roberts, Marriott senior vice president (right), addresses the students. Photo by Holly Cromer.

Imagine getting behind-the-scenes insights on a corporate acquisition that creates the world’s largest hotel company — from an experienced and articulate executive who helped make it happen.

Or working in student teams in a race to solve analytics problems — using real-world, anonymized data from one of the world’s top advisory services firms.

At the Pamplin College of Business, learning first-hand about practical business issues and challenges and gaining experience in problem-solving under imperfect conditions are two of the benefits students receive as a result of the college’s collaborations with business.

Business schools and businesses have long cultivated connections with one another for mutual gain. At Pamplin, companies have contributed funds to endow scholarships and professorships. They have sponsored a variety of programs and events; offered leading practices, methodologies, and case studies for instructional use; supported the activities of their employees as campus guest speakers and advisory board members; and prioritized the college in hiring.

The benefits include innovative, technology-focused learning experiences for students and faculty; updated curricula reflecting industry and societal needs; market-ready graduates with in-demand skills and knowledge, like data analytics; and research that better contributes to the understanding and practice of business and management.

Kevin Lane, an accounting alumnus who is a principal at Deloitte & Touche LLP and a cabinet member of the Pamplin Advisory Council, says such relationships are appealing to his organization from a couple of perspectives.

“On a transactional level, people are the engine of our business, and the Pamplin College feeds us high-performing talent every year. Virginia Tech is a top strategic recruiting source for the Deloitte U.S. firms,” Lane said.

“At a more strategic level, Deloitte has a vested interest in contributing to the development of future business leaders. Like Virginia Tech, we want to push the boundaries and help develop the most talented leaders of the future.”

Read more about the academic-corporate partnership in the cover story of the fall 2018 issue of Virginia Tech Business magazine, which looks at the experiences and views of Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Rob Torpey — a Virginia Tech graduate in business information technology and communication — and Marriott’s Dave Roberts — not an alumnus, but a Hokie regardless.

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