Winston Fisher Seminar Was 'Life-Changing,' Student Recalls
Sophomore Ally Peyton '21 reflects on time in popular A&S immersion program
Editor’s Note: The following is by Ally Peyton ’21, a policy studies major in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ally was a member of this year's Winston Fisher Seminar, a weeklong business immersion program in New York City for A&S students. Now in its 15th year, the seminar was founded by real estate developer Winston Fisher ’96, a member of both the Syracuse University Board of Trustees and the Dean’s Advisory Board in A&S.
One day early this semester, I was in the lobby of Eggers Hall, waiting for class to start, when a poster caught my eye. It was for the Winston Fisher Seminar, a business immersion trip for A&S students. Later that day, I went online and applied for admission, excited about learning how to apply my liberal arts education to the corporate world.
Initially, I looked forward to spending Spring Break in Manhattan, networking with friends and alumni [of the University] with ties to major companies. When I got there, the seminar’s main emphasis—linking a liberal arts degree to business success—became apparent.
As a sophomore majoring in policy studies, I believe passionately in the benefits of the liberal arts. I plan to put them to work in the corporate sector after graduation.
All the businesspeople I met that week shared my belief in a liberal arts education. They credited their success to skills learned at Syracuse—namely, the ability to think critically and communicate effectively. They also reminded me of the importance of teamwork, and of the versatility of a liberal arts degree.
During the day, our 15-member group visited various companies, including Spotify, Bloomberg, Bernstein Research and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. We spent the evenings in our Midtown hotel lobby, working on our individual business plans. [The seminar culminates with a business plan competition, in which each student makes a lengthy presentation to Fisher and colleagues.] Since most of us had little or no professional experience, we did a lot of in-depth research into planning and running a business. At the end of the week, each of us gave a presentation, combining our passion for the liberal arts with running a business.
I, for one, learned a lot about how companies work from visiting them during the week, developing my plan and engaging in other educational activities. Therefore, I recommend the Winston Fisher Seminar to any liberal arts student going the corporate route after graduation. The real-world experiences afforded me were invaluable, if not life changing.