Workaholics of tomorrow’s business world

Annie Salamone

The question “What did you do this summer?” can easily be heard echoing throughout the halls of Villanova, with stories of road trips, sunbaths, and 40-hour work weeks quickly rolling off the tongues of students.

But ask Stef Suska, junior computer engineering major, and you’ll get quite a different answer.

For Stef, as well as 61 other students, this summer was spent earning a business minor through the Summer Business Institute, an 11-week long program that squeezes Villanova’s 10-course business minor into an 11-week, work-intensive program that covers in two months what the traditional route would cover in two years. Looked at another way, it’s the approximate equivalent of completing a three credit course every week 11 times over.

With that in mind, the workload is demanding. “It was rough. There was so much reading and projects to be done,” Stef said. “It seemed like when you finally caught up with the one class, you were three assignments behind in the other class. It was a constant battle just to keep up.”

Frank Lagor, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, agreed. “The overall workload was ridiculous. My average day consisted of having to sit through six hours of class. When class would end at 4 o’clock, I would normally have a little time to myself to exercise or something, but then I would have to start studying for the next day. I would break for dinner and then continue to read until midnight, only to get up the next day and do it all over again.”

Kelley Hayn, a junior math major, agrees. “There was so much information needed to be covered in a day,” she said. “In addition, you had to keep on top of reading and studying each night after spending the whole day in class.”

Yet in spite of the harrowing workdays, the students were still able to find a silver lining through the close friendships they made. “The social aspect was amazing,” Stef said. “I met the most amazing people doing this program.”

Frank agreed. He labels his friendships as the session’s “saving grace,” mentioning how he “actually found the social aspect of SBI more fun than that of the fall and spring semester.”

“We were inseparable,” Stef said of her friends. “We did everything together, whether it was eating, jogging, watching a movie, or just doing homework.”

In fact, it was the homework that Kelley thought brought them together in the first place. “I have met so many wonderful people who I’ve become so close with through this program,” she said. “Most nights were filled with what seemed like endless studying, but because we were so close to each other, we could still have a great time making each other laugh and comforting each other when we were stressed out.”

The program left the students not only with a better sense of the business world, but a better understanding of the goodness of people. “Although it was hard work, I met the most amazing people doing this program,” Stef said. “I had so much fun. I haven’t laughed as much as I did those ten weeks in years. Everyone, most teachers included, were so nice, too. That’s not something you easily come across.”

Frank thought that SBI was a Villanova investment. “The idea of getting an entire minor and studying a comprehensive overview of business in only one summer was irresistible. “

Also, SBI was a good way to dodge having to have a real job for the summer,” he added, laughing.

“I would say that SBI is hard and intense in that there is lots of work you’re giving up your summer for, but if you give it your all and stay open-minded, then your hard work will not only pay off, but leave you with something so much larger than a business minor,” Frank said.

Stef felt the session gave her a better idea about her future. “I wasn’t sure if I truly wanted to be an engineer,” she said. “This program gave me a broader aspect of what else is out there.”