Rowland School of Business prepares to open new Sales and Innovation Center soon

Written By Steven Fisher, For The Globe

The Rowland School of Business will open its Sales & Innovation Center in West Penn to business students in a few weeks before opening up to the rest of the student body in the upcoming spring semester.

The Michael P. Pitterich Sales & Innovation Center in West Penn will include 1,300 square feet of interactive thinking space, simulation rooms, and board rooms for all business students to prepare mock interviews, marketing pitches and board room meetings for small startup businesses and major corporations.

“Every school will need to establish an interactive business space to know how to make entrepreneurial decisions,” Steve Tanzilli, the Dean of the Rowland School of Business, said. “This facility will help Point Park network with a wide array of programs and organizations in the future for students to use for their academic career.”

With the S&I Center in view of students and staff, all campus majors will be able to hold mock board room meetings, participate in career-readiness training seminars and create capstone projects to develop skills essential for graduation when it opens for classes in Spring 2021.

“I am a hands-on person,” Claire Campbell, a sophomore marketing student, said. “An interactive setting would be beneficial to me towards connecting schoolwork and the real business world.”

According to a 2020 Point Park Satisfactory Inventory (SSI) Report, students across the university scored the school’s use of their tuition towards extracurricular facilities at 4.10 out of 10.

“As university space is limited and valuable, we try to make our space as flexible as possible to where it fits students’ needs for their future success,” Christopher Hill, Vice President of Operations at the Physical Plant, said. “We are always planning to utilize spaces based on the demand of our students.”

With the $250,000 donation by Pittsburgh attorney Michael P. Pitterich, the business school and Physical Plant began the planning and construction process with permission from the City Clerk’s Office and creditors without collecting debt.

“The generous donation helped benefit students and our community development team during the pandemic,” Hill said. “We help bring opportunities that attract outside companies to empower our students towards graduation.”
With rooms featuring large whiteboards, Wi-Fi-connected television screens and touchscreen projectors, marketing and business students will be using technology to transfer experiences discussed in textbooks into real-life work experience.

“The simulation rooms will help replicate and teach students towards practicing a negotiation pitch for a new product in the sales program,” Tanzilli said. “For example, our space will help the masters program learn how to sell tickets for the Pittsburgh Pirates and other major league teams during busy playoff seasons.”

The School of Business is also connecting with local organizations through the new facility to apply experiential learning programs for outside users.

“The School of Business is establishing a partnership with Pittsburgh Hires Veterans to engage the space to help veterans learn how to write cover letters, professional development sessions and interviewing techniques,” Tanzilli said.
Once the facility opens to students, the Career-Readiness Center will employ new year-round opportunities for all majors applying for a co-op or internship.

According to Point Park’s 2020 self-study, the university is continuing to increase the number of students who are enrolling towards interactive work experiences over traditional coursework.

“Today’s students are looking to get jobs with Fortune 500 companies and secure employment through co-ops, internships and scholarship opportunities,” Tanzilli said. “The Rowland School of Business is continuing to provide our students with the necessary tools to become employable tomorrow.”

With its grand opening in the works, the Rowland School of Business is preparing the spring course schedules for programs using the Sales & Innovation Center approaching the Jan. 9, 2022 start date.

“We hope for organizations like First National Bank to utilize this space in training their employees and for hiring opportunities with our students,” Tanzilli said. “We see more potential in this program than what other universities do not see.”