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Susan Burroughs helps keep some of the world’s most innovative companies ahead of the curve, and this weekend she will bring her cutting-edge business knowledge to the Bill Greehey School of Business as a Visiting Professor of Innovation for the Greehey MBA Program.

In addition to her many instructional design interests and activities, Burroughs teaches on Google’s Global Innovation faculty and works on learning design projects in Silicon Valley. She will work with St. Mary’s students on design thinking, a concept that can be used in business operations and development to find solutions to problems that are not yet well defined.

“Design thinking employs an anthropological interview technique to flesh out opportunities in business and leadership by observing behavior and developing, testing and modifying prototypes” said Earnie Broughton, Director of the MBA and Executive Education Programs. “It is a method that uses interviewing, observation and interaction to match what people need or want with what is possible but not yet a reality, and can become a powerful source of added value.”

Broughton emphasized that this is a unique and valuable experience for MBA students. “The human-centered aspect of design thinking, the part that seeks to empathize with others in a way that leads to insight and inspiration for meaningful innovation, really resonates with our MBA program goals.”

Burroughs will lead 26 St. Mary’s MBA students through a real-world exercise that will include having the students interview a dozen stakeholders in a “Grand Design Challenge” involving the MBA admission process. The idea is to learn about how  MBA students are admitted to the program and develop a process that more closely matches applicants’ desires and expectations related to the admissions experience.

“The Greehey MBA provides our students an exceptional professional education that enables them to become ethical, moral and innovative business leaders,” Broughton added. “In a today’s business world, these are qualities increasingly important, with innovation presenting a strong competitive advantage.”

This is the first year of the new Greehey MBA, an 18-month, cohort-based program that incorporates advanced graduate-level academic preparation with a special emphasis on ethical leadership, corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social entrepreneurship — topics that have become hallmarks of St. Mary’s University and the Greehey School of Business.

The Greehey School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a designation achieved by less than one-third of all U.S. business programs.

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