On October 4, the two largest business clubs on campus, SEBC (Science & Engineering Business Club) and SUMA (Sloan Undergraduate Management Association), merged into one new organization called SBC (Sloan Business Club). The new club will serve the same purpose as the two previous clubs, which club members say had confused students and companies with similar events.
According to SBC co-presidents Emily Zhao ’12 and Zachary R. Dearing ’12, the two organizations had originally been created for significantly different purposes, but eventually the student body and companies had difficulty distinguishing between SEBC and SUMA. Dearing said, “Over the years, these two organizations started doing similar work to the point in the last few years where we’ve been competing over resources and creating a lot of unnecessary redundancy.”
According to the presidents, SEBC was originally created with a focus on science and engineering, and it gave Course 6 majors an opportunity to mix their tech-savvy with their business-savvy. SUMA, on the other hand, was created with a focus on management and catered to the needs of Course 15 majors.
At first the two organizations were unaware of the overlap in their operations. SEBC and SUMA each contacted the companies they believed their members would be interested in working for and each organization attracted members on its own, but eventually they began to notice that the same faces appeared at the events of both organizations. According to Zhao, their attention was brought to the redundancy of having two separate organizations when “SEBC was going to do a consulting panel the same night that SUMA was going to do a consulting panel with very similar firms.” The corporate contacts of each organization questioned whether or not the two events were the same event. This sort of overlap in the organizations created confusion for both students and companies, who were unable to see the distinction between SEBC and SUMA.
The previous presidents, Prarthna Desia ’11 of SEBC and Carolyn Wang ’11 of SUMA, are currently transitioning SBC to the new presidents, Zhao and Dearing. Dearing said that the goal of SBC is to “serve any student on campus who’s interested in business and wants to explore the opportunities…One of our goals is to convince companies that aren’t convinced yet to recruit business-oriented positions from MIT.” Zhao and Dearing envision for the new SBC to appeal to a broader scope of MIT students. They hope to provide opportunities for all MIT students, not just Course 6 or 15 majors, to dabble in the world of business.
According to Dearing, SBC merges “the best organizational structures of both of the previous entities. SEBC had a vertical integration based upon industry area, and the way SUMA had specialization across the organization in specific areas like technology or finance or marketing, we’re also adopting that.”
SBC takes bits and pieces from both SEBC and SUMA. The new corporate structure of SBC includes two co-presidents and four focus groups — finance, consulting, engineering leadership, and entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurship focus group is built off of what existed in SUMA previously, however, the subcommittees is a remnant of the previous SEBC design. Aside from the four focus groups, SBC also has a product group, which will handle the marketing and treasury for SBC as well as the organization of other events that don’t fall under the responsibilities of any other focus group.
Discussion between the executive boards of both organizations began around the start of the school year, and ended approximately a week before the decision was officially announced to the MIT community. Once the executive boards of both organizations realized this redundancy, they consulted their Sloan faculty advisors as well as the SAO faculty sponsor Alicia Irwin, and all reactions were positive. With the approval of their advisors, the two organizations then proceeded to work out the logistics of merging.
In order to preserve the science and engineering side that came from SEBC, Zhao expressed the organization’s desire to see the engineering leadership focus group to cater more towards engineers. Zhao said, “A lot of big companies like General Electric, Procter & Gamble, IBM, and Anheuser-Busch…have specific engineering-leadership program tracks. The engineering-leadership group is looking to explore those opportunities and bring them closer to students.”
Yesterday SBC held its first event as a new organization: the Freshman Internship Event. A panel of sophomores spoke to interested freshmen about their internship experiences over the summer. To learn more about SBC, visit their website, http://www.mit-sbc.org.