“I teach students how to pitch their ideas,” says senior lecturer Rod Haywood of C104: Business Presentations. “Putting together a spreadsheet or writing an economic assessment is great. But can you stand up and present your ideas in front of people?”
An I-Core prerequisite course for Kelley School of Business undergraduates, C104 builds crucial presentation and communication skills that Kelley students use throughout their academic and professional careers.
“Business leaders have to be able to communicate with people,” Haywood says. “Whether it’s one-on-one, in small groups, in large groups, or with organizational leadership, it’s crucial for our students to communicate effectively.”
Haywood works with students to develop strong arguments, build credibility with research, and deliver audience-centered messages while projecting confidence and eliminating vocal fillers (“uh,” “you know,” “like”). Students also learn to create flawless pitch decks using current presentation software, such as PowerPoint and Prezi.
“The comment I hear from students most often is that they were not prepared for the increase in academic expectations upon arrival at Kelley,” Haywood says. “This course—and all of the coursework at Kelley—requires a strong work ethic and organizational skills to be successful.”
That rigor creates a communications skillset that sets Kelley students apart to employers. “They’re able to jump in with dexterity and hit the ground running on day one,” Haywood says. Each semester he receives emails from former students who credit C104 and Haywood for the exemplary preparation.
Kelley junior Jack Stefanek thanked Haywood following an important presentation he led during his summer internship at Shambaugh & Son, the third-largest specialty contractor in the US.
“What you taught me regarding working with teams and managing individuals was extremely valuable to my success,” Stefanek writes in an email. “My team presented to 35 of the most prominent people in the company. I had all the confidence in the world because of your class. After the presentation, the CEO came up to me said, ‘I can tell you were the leader of this group. You will work for us next year, I will make sure of it.'”
It’s this insight into the real world that Haywood finds most valuable for Kelley students.
“I enjoy helping students develop their individual talents and skills through the work of C104 and their interactions-both positive and negative-with one another,” Haywood says. “These become landmark experiences and prepare them for exceptional careers.”