Agnes Irwin Partners with Villanova for Second-Annual Business Conference

The Agnes Irwin School hosted its second-annual Business 101 Conference on October 24, bringing five business professionals from Villanova University to campus to provide students with insights into the fields of business and economics.

The conference, created in partnership with Agnes Irwin’s Center for the Advancement of Girls and Villanova School of Business, stemmed from a desire for Economics students to hear from industry experts about their experiences and advice for those considering further education in business-related fields. The event is often students’ first conference with college professors.

This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Joyce Russell, is the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business. In her address, Dr. Russell advocated for women in business and positions of leadership. “I really admire what you’ve done here at Agnes Irwin in terms of really caring deeply about building women to be successful leaders,” she remarked. “We certainly need women leaders in our businesses — but also in our country and in society as a whole — in order to make an impact and [have] our voices [heard].” Dr. Russell also emphasized ethical leadership and welcoming diversity, telling students, “We live in a global world — and embracing individuals who are different [gives] us different perspectives and viewpoints."

Students spent the remainder of the morning in breakout sessions, testing their knowledge through real-life examples, analyzing case studies, and identifying potential outcomes of business scenarios proposed by the Villanova professors. Session topics included:

  • Finance with Dr. Meg Luo, Associate Professor, Finance & Real Estate

  • Management, led by Dr. Manuela Priesemuth, The Megan ’07 and Matthew ’06 Baldwin Assistant Professor, Management & Operations

  • Marketing with Dr. Yoon-Na Cho, Associate Professor, Marketing & Business Law

  • Supply Chain, led by Meredith Lockyer, Director of the Center for Business Analytics 

Later this year, students will apply their class learning and Business 101 Conference insights as they create their own product and real-life business, including choosing price points, finding investors, creating a supply chain, and marketing.

Students who participated in the conference last year focused on creating AIS-themed merchandise, bringing new uniform-approved clothing options to the student body through their business ventures. The student company designed a sweatshirt with a customizable second line of text, and students as young as fifth grade chose to include their class year on their sweatshirts. The group chose a local supplier for their products and even took a tour of the facility in order to understand the supply chain.

The Business 101 Conference is one of the many ways that Agnes Irwin’s Center for the Advancement of Girls extends learning beyond the classroom through partnerships with universities and nonprofits, providing immersive, real-world learning experiences tailored specifically for girls.

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