This spring, the Blackburn College Department of Business and Economics hosted a student Deal or No Deal: Management vs. Labor Negotiation event for students at the Edwin and Claire Jaenke Alumni Center. This hands-on learning opportunity is a department-wide event organized by Dr. Christina Langwell McCurley, professor of Business at Blackburn. This was the eighth year for the event, excluding last year due to COVID.
Sixty-two students taking high level business, accounting, marketing, and human resources courses attended to learn first-hand the art of negotiation by reviewing a contract from both the laborer and management side. Throughout the event, everything from wages, premium pay, scheduling, and random drug testing were factors included as part of the negotiation. Teamsters from the region also attend the event to help students gain an understanding from their perspective.
Gage Hemmann, a junior Business Management major from Georgetown, TX, learned the most from engaging and interacting during the negotiation exercise, gaining an understanding of the intricacies of the negotiation process. “Throughout the negotiation, it was important to communicate and listen to other points of view, rather than staying stern and sticking to our own beliefs. This made it easier to come to a resolution with both teams (Management and Labor), and it also helped avoid any negativity and frustration during the process,” Hemmann explained.
McCurley explained how students are evaluated during this experience to promote learning and confidence in negotiation. “Exercises are given before and after the event. This ensures students are reading the contract and prepared for negotiations and then we get feedback on the event and how well the students believe they did,” she elaborated.
She continued, “Experiential learning has always been a huge component of being a Blackburn College student. Providing the space to take the knowledge gained in the classroom and putting it into practice – whether with an unique event like “Deal or No Deal” or as part of Blackburn’s nationally-recognized Work Program – is an essential part of preparing students for real-world success.”
Lexi Lusk, a junior marketing major from Hillsboro, IL, learned a great deal getting to experience the negotiation process from multiple sides. “There was a lot of trial and error as the teams worked to build consensus at the negotiating table,” Lusk shared. “Workers all around the globe need the ability to have flexible work schedules but it’s also critical to consider how things like pension plans will impact a company. As a marketing major, having the chance to see the process from both perspectives – and gain a better understanding of what is essential for different audiences – was invaluable.”
About Blackburn College
Founded in 1837, Blackburn College is a four-year, Presbyterian-related, co-educational liberal arts college located in Carlinville, IL. One of only ten federally-recognized Work Colleges, Blackburn has the only program in the nation fully managed by students. Balancing academic rigor and experiential learning, each student at Blackburn gains tangible experience and develops critical skills by contributing to their community, all while building a resume and earning their degree. U.S. News & World Report recognized Blackburn College as one of the top Liberal Arts Colleges in the Nation for Social Mobility in their Best Colleges lists for 2020, 2021, and 2022. The Center for Education & the Workforce at Georgetown University ranked Blackburn as a top performer for Earnings-Price Return – 209% (#1 in IL, #10 in the U.S.) and Net Price (#1 in IL; #11 in the U.S.). The Washington Monthly twice ranked Blackburn as the best baccalaureate college in Illinois.