When former student Alejandra “Ale” Candal came to the ELI last year, she had a strong sense of what she wanted to accomplish. A medical doctor from Venezuela, Candal came to UD with the hope that it would help her to get a medical residency in the U.S.; however, despite her medical goals, Candal was surprised to find that a business class ended up being her favorite during her time here.
Candal took a class titled Corporation X: A Practical Approach to Business Management, Leadership and Organizational Behavior. This class, which is taught by Mary Beth Worrilow, is part of the ELI’s business track of study and it helps students build their English skills within a business context.
At first, Candal was hesitant to take the class because she was not sure it would fit her goals, but at her father’s recommendation, she decided to take it. And in the end, she was so glad she did.
“I found it was very useful for me,” Candal said. “When I started, I was Level 4. In Level 4, Mary Beth focuses on a lot of grammar, which was my weakness.”
In the class, Worrilow requires the students to focus on building their email communication skills, and Candal said this was highly beneficial.
“This had a good impact on my career because most of the communication I do is in email. […] I’m still learning, but Mary Beth gave me the necessary tools to begin that process for writing,” Candal explained.
Although Candal found the writing emphasis in the class to be most beneficial, all students who take the class can expect to have their reading, speaking, and listening skills enhanced as well.
“Students take on the roles of various positions within a company of their own while actively planning and executing projects, solving problems, negotiating, emailing, running meetings, analyzing financials and synthesizing data for budget development, etc.” Worrilow explained.
For both Candal and Worrilow, one of the best parts of the course is the classroom atmosphere, which Worrilow has set up to be more like a conference room than a classroom.
“I tell the students at the beginning of the session to view our classroom as a conference room in a company and to treat it and their co-workers as such,” Worrilow said. “The coffee pot is always on and the atmosphere is more like a business meeting rather than a traditional class.”
According to Candal, this atmosphere not only enhances the learning environment, but it also creates opportunities to make new friends.
“You feel the business atmosphere, but you also feel the friend atmosphere,” she explained. “It’s not heavy at all. Everyone knows why they are there and what they hope to learn, but it was very professional at the same time.”
There is a lot of material to cover in Worrilow’s eight-week course, so she tells all prospective students to be ready to work hard.
“There are so many interesting topics to cover while taking care of the required grammar and writing tasks that eight weeks never seems long enough. We play hard and work at a fast pace,” Worrilow said.
Yet, despite the hard work, or perhaps because of it, graduates such as Candal only have good things to say about Worrilow and her class.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that I loved Mary Beth’s class,” Candal concluded, adding that she would have taken more of Worrilow’s classes if she had had the chance.
“I have talked with other students who also took her class at some point, and just good comments. There are all good comments about her class.”