For Once, Having The Right Answers Wasn’t Most Important

“Capping” is a course that all seniors take, which is a final project that encompasses student’s education in their time at Marist. This week we are highlighting 5 Marist seniors about their stories and experiences with capping. Read on to learn about Kay’s experience with Business capping!


I knew, going into my fall semester of senior year, that it would be tough. Business capping (Management Strategy and Policy) is one of the toughest capstone classes at Marist, and I had the toughest teacher, Helen Rothberg. It consists of a semester long group project/presentation and 17,000 word paper, which is around 70 pages. On the first day of class Rothberg divided us into groups and told us to start working on the project and our paper. My first thought was “Are you kidding?” We figured out pretty quick that she wasn’t. She also informed us that she didn’t care if we came to class, but if we attended, then we needed to be ready to participate.

She had no qualms about singling people out in class after asking a question. Everyone quickly realized that Professor Rothberg didn’t expect a right answer, but she wanted us to think. I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much in a class.  The class was basically on how to conduct a strategic analysis of a firm. I never thought that I would be able to write a 70 page analysis.

My group started meeting and then continued throughout the semester. We divided up the research on our CHK_4C_logo.epscompany, Chesapeake Energy, and began compiling an analysis of both the external environment and an internal analysis of the company. At the same time, we were expected to start writing our papers. It was overwhelming at first, but taking it one step at a time, we began to grasp the concepts discussed in class and were able to apply them to our presentation and papers. After the analysis, we were expected to make a recommendation as to a new strategy that the company should follow. This is where we really had to think; there was no right answer. We just needed to support the strategy with information from the analysis.

I handed in my paper before leaving for Thanksgiving and felt such relief; I had actually finished my paper. We had a nice short break before coming back and prepping our presentation. Presentations were approximately 45 minutes, followed by a 35 minute question and answer period. We weren’t allowed to use notecards and were not supposed to look at the screen while presenting. My group spent hours running through our presentation, editing and changing things up to the last minute.  After completing the presentation, Professor Rothberg commenced with questions. She didn’t agree with our strategy but through her questions, we realized what would have worked. She continued to teach us up to the very end.

Although I was initially terrified, I learned so much from this class. It may be one of the toughest classes at Marist, but it was also the most valuable class that I’ve ever taken. I’m so proud of my accomplishments  and the lessons learned from this class.

Kay Hardaker

Class of 2013

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