The MGMT 733 Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation (SMTI) course at the Darla Moore School of Business has kicked off the 2022-23 school year with a bang! Fueled in part by the Strategic Innovation Certificate’s launch last year, SMTI boasted its highest enrollment to date. The large number of students interested in SMTI speaks to Laura B. Cardinal’s ability to captivate students and empower them with pragmatic business-savvy skills and knowledge.
“I’m thrilled that so many students decided to enroll in SMTI this semester,” says Cardinal. “This group was a very intense, conscientious cohort with a great sense of humor. They did not ‘dilly dally.’ They got their assignments done on time and were astute with their questioning. The group’s ability to inject humor and humility into classroom discussions made our time together really enjoyable; our eight-hour Saturdays just flew by.”
Of the total students in this SMTI cohort, almost half were enrolled in the Strategic Innovation Certificate. A quarter of the cohort was in the Professional MBA program’s Innovation/Entrepreneurship concentration. Industry representation was also wide-ranging and included chemicals, aerospace, health care, and manufacturing to name a few.
“These students were truly self-selected innovators!” says Cardinal, known as ‘Prof. C’ to her students. “They question everything within infinite curiosity. The heart and soul of SMTI is interactive engaging discussion. They came to the right place!”
SMTI provides students with imperative leadership and problem-solving skills for understanding and strategically managing technology and innovation. The course meets on four Saturdays in Columbia with each session lasting over eight hours. SMTI is one of three required courses of the 12 credit-hour Strategic Innovation Certificate (SIC). For some SIC students, SMTI was the first stop on their journey. Others were finishing the certificate and the PMBA program this fall.
Prof. C’s draw is apparent by the distance students were willing to travel to attend class. Sixty percent of the cohort commuted from outside of the Columbia metro area, even from as far as Chapel Hill in North Carolina. Traveling across state lines to attend one of Prof. C’s courses isn’t a new trend. In the past, students have traveled over state borders from as far as Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Atlanta.
“This class has been incredible in ways I couldn’t even imagine!” says one student. Another student heard about SMTI from an alumnus who recommended any class taught by Prof. C. With over 30 years of experience as an educator and scholar, students attest that Prof. C is unique in her teaching abilities and delivers valuable lessons that gives them a leg-up in their professions and career paths.
In 2016, Cardinal was brought to Columbia to join the University of South Carolina as the SmartState® Endowed Chair in Innovation + Commercialization and lead the new SmartState Center for Innovation + Commercialization: SC Innovates®. She is a firm believer that the SC Innovates plays an integral role in preparing next generation business leaders. In fulfillment of the Center’s educational mandate, the Strategic Innovation Certificate was developed for business students and non-business students alike. Cardinal is relentless in her efforts to prepare thoughtful and courageous innovators of tomorrow.
“The debut of the Strategic Innovation Certificate has introduced new dynamics into the classroom with new students and returning students coming together in the cohort,” says Cardinal. “It’s so rewarding to see familiar faces from my spring course come back for SMTI this fall and to know some of the new faces from SMTI will be the familiar faces next spring.”