Using Technology for Better Business Decisions
Co-director of Communication, Professional, and Computer Skills Area
“When students come back and talk about how they’ve run with the technology, using what we’ve taught them to come up with custom solutions to business problems—that makes it worthwhile.”
Say you major in chemistry, and then pursue a law degree. What do you do next?
If you’re Amy Kinser, you become co-director of Communication, Professional, and Computer Skills at the Kelley School of Business, teaching K201: The Computer in Business and K204, the honors version of the same class. A class required for all undergraduate business majors, and a class sought out by others who hear of its reputation.
“As a chemistry student at IU, I had a business minor and took K201,” Kinser says. “I loved it. I became a peer tutor, then a teaching assistant. While at law school, I taught K201. When I graduated, I had to decide what path to take. And I really love teaching—I come from a long line of teachers … my parents, my grandparents. So, I came back to teaching in a roundabout way.”
Kinser’s passion comes across in the classroom. K201 and K204 introduce students to using Microsoft Excel and Access spreadsheets to analyze data and solve problems with an emphasis on making sound business decisions. Students come back to tell Kinser the impact the classes have made on their futures.
“After K201, students see how useful the technology is in their internships or career,” Kinser says. “When students come back as alumni and talk about how they’ve run with the technology, using what we’ve taught them to come up with custom solutions to business problems—that makes it worthwhile.”
K201—ahead of the curve
K201 started in 1963, growing with the technology from punch card computing, to Lotus, to the present day. The course combines a lab and lecture component—a lab to use the tools and a lecture to learn to think like a business technologist. K204, the honors equivalent, adds in a case competition and a service-learning requirement, building a solution for an actual business client.
“What’s unique about this class is that it’s taught at the Kelley School of Business,” Kinser says. “The problems tackled are relevant to business. We’re ahead of the curve. In other business schools, this sort of class is outsourced—they contact us about this course, they want to copy it.”
While it’s an undergraduate requirement, the information is MBA level.
“It’s regarded as a difficult class. A lot of students are apprehensive and it is a lot of work. But if they do the work, they’ll do well,” Kinser says. “It gives them a competitive advantage in any field to know how to apply technology strategically.”
Favorite thing about IU: “The people and the students. Here, we collaborate and engage collegially in the learning process. I learn something new from one of my students every day—my students keep me young and inspire me.”
Favorite mobile apps: “Angry Birds and a Monster Ate my Homework. I enjoy playing them with my sons!”
Favorite Bloomington restaurant: “Upland has a wonderful selection of vegetarian and vegan options. Best black bean burgers in town.”