Dana Scholars break into business

Elite business students gain irreplicable experience

By Victoria Hansen, HansenV@Findlay.edu

Ten University of Findlay business students were given first-hand business experience in the Dana Scholar program this year. Well-known from the large plaque in the Center for Business and Student Life, Dana Scholars work closely with the Dana Chair over their semester by visiting companies, researching strategic planning and putting together presentations and projects.  

Greg Ring, CEO and founder of GR Consulting, LLC and former Senior Organizational Development Consultant at Marathon Petroleum is the 2023 Dana Chair.   

“We met with everything, from nonprofits to small independently owned companies to, you know, global companies like Dana,” Ring said.  

The key part of the Dana Scholars program is the networking opportunities that come visiting a variety of companies. Last year’s theme was Main Street USA where the Dana Scholars visited small businesses on Main Street in Findlay and ended, like all years, at Marathon Petroleum.  

“They’ll have strategic planning sessions, and they’ll have different things they have to do in the classroom, but the vast majority of their time is spent in different businesses,” Dr. Kirby Overton, dean of the College of Business at UF, said.  

Dana Scholars meet once a week for BUAD 495, Business in Action, the course catalog listing for the program. The three-hour evening class changes each year as the Dana Chair creates the curriculum. This year’s theme was leadership, with scholars creating plans on how to run their businesses, reading six books about leadership and connecting with leaders in business. 

“We have our schedules ironed out weeks in advance, and then our students show up prepared, knowing what organization or company we’re going to visit,” Ring said. “Their homework is to come prepared to know a lot about the company. What are their markets, challenges, vision, mission, and value statements? Are they publicly traded? If so, what’s the stock at? What are the trends?” 

Dana Scholars are selected from all emphases in the College of Business, which include management, marketing and international business. Applications for the program are sent to juniors and seniors in the College of Business every February, where business students can apply to be one of the ten students chosen for that year’s cohort. Students who apply are then chosen by looking at academics, leadership experience, and strategic insight.  

“They had some of the same values and some of the same goals, but each very unique, very different, as much as our students were unique and different,” Ring said. 

The Dana Scholars program began in 1995, after a donation from the Dana Corporation four years prior to create an executive-in-residence role at UF. According to entrepreneur Adam Nash, an executive-in-residence is a position in a business where a CEO (often between positions) will split their time between personal efforts and working to bring new ideas to the company where they are residing. While usually a role in corporations, it is a growing role in higher education with schools such as Purdue University, Columbia Business School, and Case Western Reserve also having executive-in-residence positions.