Cal Poly

Orfalea College of Business

What’s Next

Dean Scott Dawson surveys five projects set to change the Orfalea College of Business from the inside out.

We’re on the edge of something big here.

Since joining the Orfalea College of Business last year, I’ve been so impressed by the way Learn by Doing has prepared decades of alumni to lead businesses all over the world.

On campus, we can feel momentum building. Industry leaders seek more of our graduates every year. Recently, and Bloomberg Businessweek have praised the return on investment of a Cal Poly business degree. Now, the Orfalea College of Business has the opportunity to step forward as the leader in experiential business education.

Here is your exclusive look at where the college is going and what it will take to get us there. Supporting any one of the initiatives will have a direct and lasting impact on the students who walk our halls and go on to lead the business world.

Career Readiness
What's next- career readiness inset

Helps students choose a career and ace the hiring process through intensive workshops, internship programs, and networking opportunities led by a new career readiness advisor.

“New programs like the Business Professionalism Certificate have offered a lot of insight into how to best plan for career fairs, job searches, and critiques of my resume. I felt very confident handing my resume over to employers after the guidance I received from programs offered through Orfalea.” — Owen Sebo, finance senior, pictured with Career Readiness Advisor Chelsea Kidwell

The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
What's next- CIE inset

Expands student programs like pitch competitions, hackathons, career fairs, accelerators and incubators with the right mentors and technology on campus and in the SLO HotHouse.

“The opportunity to work in a new office space, attend workshops, and access endless resources gave me the ability to attract and recruit my development team, who are now my co-founders. Together, we are building something that has the opportunity to make a difference, and in turn, fulfill a shared dream.” – Jenny Peng (MBA, 2015), founder of TwentySeven (pictured)

Video: Hear more from students in the HotHouse about the impact of the CIE at

Center for Packaging Value Chain
What's next- Packaging Inset

Jumpstarts a new Center for Packaging Value Chain at Cal Poly with a refined undergraduate concentration focused on packaging logistics, a master’s program, professional development resources, research partnerships and industry-leading labs.

“The Learn by Doing education that I have received from our program has prepared me to compete for – and thrive in – top jobs in the industry. Beyond the classes and hands-on labs, I’ve worked as a research assistant for well-known companies and traveled to industry events to network with other professionals.” – Rebecca Kisch, packaging senior (pictured

Video: Packaging student Patrick Salibi talks about how the program has chaged his life at

Brennan Davis teaching a class.Faculty Fellowships

Bolsters resources to attract and retain top educators as they evolve curriculum to stay in step with fast-moving industries and pursue research opportunities that pushes boundaries.

“The Hood Professorship has given me a lot of confidence to try new things, especially in growing our marketing analytics courses. The support confirms that Cal Poly values the real-life, Learn by Doing opportunities I like to offer students in my courses.” – Brennan Davis, marketing professor and recipient of the Hood Professorship in Marketing in 2015 (pictured)

Building Upgrades
What's Next- Building inset

Remodels Cal Poly’s Business Building, which hasn’t been updated since construction in 1992, which classrooms aligned with modern teaching technologies and collaborative space where students and faculty can work together outside of class.

“Thousands of students come to class and leave the building immediately because of the lack of collaborative space here. Our college emphasizes the importance of building relationships for business success, but we never have the chance to do it. I think if students, mentors and faculty had room to come together, our college network would be a lot stronger.” – Maddie Rohan, master’s student and Orfalea Ambassador

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