First class in Farrell Hall

For the 140 new MA in Management students, their first classes at Wake Forest University School of Business will always be memorable. Not only for the ability to leverage their collaborative problem solving and critical thinking skills, but also for being the first group of students to attend classes in the newly opened Farrell Hall.

The $55 million building began with a $10 million gift from Mike and Mary Farrell in 2010, and is designed with flexible classrooms, open-concept office spaces, an 8,500 square foot “living room” and other technology to foster collaboration between students and faculty. The MA students began classes in Farrell Hall on July 15 after a weeklong orientation.

“I’m only ten days into this program, but I already know I’m making friends for life,” Simone Watson (MA ’14) said. “The students and faculty here are incredibly kind and supportive of each other.”

Watson graduated from Duke University this year, but wanted more broad business experience to combine her liberal arts background with the quantitative analysis required for business. She said, “The program supports a large spectrum of majors, reinforcing the idea that those studies are valuable and still worthwhile. I don’t have to shed the fact I’m a history major. I can just build upon it.”

There are 43 majors represented in this class, ranging from traditional liberal arts like English to the sciences like chemistry. Some of the top majors include psychology, political science, economics, history and biology.

All 140 MA students fill the stairs in Farrell Hall.

All 140 MA students fill the stairs in Farrell Hall on the first day of class.

“Our largest MA class to date comes from a variety of colleges and universities, 59 of them in fact,” said Hansford Johnson, executive director of the MA in Management program. “We have students from wide geographic background, representing colleges all over the United States, from the Ivy League to the ACC.”

Focused on career goals, the MA students not only study business concepts, but put them into action through hands-on experiential learning projects. What’s more, they are required to dress every day in business casual clothing and attend classes, workshops or other events and organize team meetings between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., to simulate the working environment.

Students will remember their first classes in Farrell not only for the state-of-the-art classrooms but for the ability to watch some of the finishing touches go in, like a 400-seat auditorium, an outdoor fire pit and an Einstein Bros Bagels restaurant as well as other gathering and learning places in the building.

“Every time I walk in the building, I feel reassured of the School of Business’ commitment to providing students with the cutting-edge education we need to become market ready,” Rebecca Reed (MA ’14) said. She graduated from St. Louis University in 2012 with a BA in history. “From the high-tech study rooms to the centrality of the staff members’ offices, it is really a great space to learn and grow as a student.”

The project began construction in April 2011 and unites the graduate and undergraduate business programs, which had been in separate buildings, under one roof. This August, undergraduate business majors, Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) students, and fulltime and evening MBA students will join the MA students in Farrell Hall. The new facility is also home to the Office of Employer Relations and University Recruiting Center to benefit all Wake Forest students, regardless of major.

“Farrell Hall is incredible! Every day, I’m thrilled by what already exists and what will soon come,” Watson said. “You can’t turn around without spotting some cutting-edge technology or beautiful architectural detail. I honestly feel privileged to study here and so do many of my classmates.”

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