The Business Behind Disney: Students Learn Best Practices Through Disney Leadership Class, Trip to World-Famous Parks Tuesday, December 17, 2019
"Disney really emphasizes how important the guest is, so I see how that can be applied to any business or job you take on and will drive results. I will be pursuing a career in data science/data analytics, so I really value understanding the customer. This trip allowed me to obtain a lot of takeaways."
Point Park University students across a variety of majors — from business management, IT and sports, arts and entertainment management to cinema, theatre production and dance — recently visited Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., as a capstone to their Rowland School of Business Disney Leadership Seminar class.
“In class, students learned about core business concepts such as leadership, human resources and information technology. During our stay at Disney World, these concepts were brought to life in a fun and educational setting by experiencing the parks, learning from guest speakers, observing Disney's best practices and taking courses at the Disney Institute,” explained Mark Voortman, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of the IT program.
“Altogether, this provided for a truly unique learning experience that students should be able to benefit from throughout the rest of their course work, as well as their professional careers,” Voortman added.
In addition to Voortman, Professors Sandy Mervosh M.S., SHRM-SCP, SPHR, and Patrick Mulvihill, D.Ed., along with Steve Tanzilli, J.D., dean of the Rowland School of Business, accompanied the students on the trip.
“It was great to have students from multiple academic departments involved in a meaningful cultural immersion program,” Tanzilli said.
"This year’s cohort truly came together over the last 15 weeks in class and during their time at Disney. I look forward with high expectations as they seek to share their knowledge, passion and excitement within their sphere of influence and beyond,” Mulvihill added.
Students visited all of the Disney Parks including Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom and heard from a variety of guest speakers including:
- Lee Cockerell, former executive vice president of operations for Disney
- Miranda Peel, 2018 SAEM alumna and Disney cast member
- Cristy Crawshaw, senior SAEM major and Disney College Program student
“I really enjoyed making connections with cast members and my classmates on the trip. Also, I learned so much about Disney during class and while visiting the parks that I didn’t know before,” said Noelle Trimper, a freshman dance and SAEM double major from Kittatinny Regional High School in Hampton, N.J.
Sophomore information technology major Sabrina Tatalias from Bethel Park High School in Bethel Park, Pa., served as one of the team leaders on the trip.
“I am currently a customer service representative at ShowClix so I obtained a lot of new tactics to apply to that current role and increase customer satisfaction for my department. Disney really emphasizes how important the guest is, so I see how that can be applied to any business or job you take on and will drive results. I will be pursuing a career in data science/data analytics, so I really value understanding the customer. This trip allowed me to obtain a lot of takeaways,” Tatalias explained.
IT alumnus and MBA alumnus Jaime Ballesteros ’18, 19, met with the students during their trip to Disney.
“Jaime worked for Disneyland in California for many years. He was able to connect me with an IT project manager from Disney, and I was able to ask about women in IT, working for Disney and career advice,” Tatalias said.
Trimper added: “Point Park has so much to offer and has amazing opportunities for its students. Being a double major, I have so many options for what I can do with my future and I’m hoping Point Park can help me incorporate all of my interests into one career.”
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