MBA Students Barter for Community Engagement

June 13, 2014 by University of La Verne

How do you turn a lint brush into an iPad? University of La Verne students recently put theory to practice to demonstrate how this can be done while simultaneously giving back to the community, thanks to a bartering class assignment.

Graduate students in Assistant Professor of Management Dr. Loren Dyck’s Organizational Theory and Behavior class were charged to conduct an experiment that involved trading an item of lesser value for one of higher value using organizational behavior theory skills to make the negotiations.Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 4.09.17 PM

Keyan Guan, Haiyan Lu, Xue Rong, Xianlong Xu, Ruoxun Yang and Yuan Zhou were given a one-dollar item to start off. The intent was for them to trade items a minimum of four times over the course of four weeks.

One group of Chinese MBA students went above and beyond the call of duty.

“One team in particular took it [project] to the next level. From the beginning, they started off with the premise of doing something good for the community. This was their mission to conduct successive trades, and they indeed succeeded,” Dr. Dyck said.

After four trades, the students traded up from a lint brush to a used iPad, valued at around $300. While this was already impressive, the students had high ambitions to make their final trade much more substantial.

With the assistance of the Church of Our Saviour in the City of San Gabriel, they united their efforts to support children of the local Kids Campus/Youth Center, operated by Our Saviour Center in El Monte.

Their goal of “spreading love to the society, especially those in need” was articulated into a formal letter addressed to the L.A. Lakers Club with the hope of exchanging the iPad for valuable merchandise for the Kids Campus/Youth Center.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 4.09.09 PMTheir proposal was well-received and after all was said and done, 11 basketballs, 2 water coolers for a total value of $1,750 was donated to the Center.

Mission accomplished.

“I am proud and inspired by their good work in taking this project up to the level they did,” Dr. Dyck said. “To orient the project and make such a substantial contribution to the lives of small children, is beyond what I could have ever hoped for as a result.”

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