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Illinois State’s College of Business trains students to succeed wherever they go—to State Farm, Chicago, New York, overseas, or their own startup. Now, they’ll even have a leg up on the golf course.

The college’s Business Week team recently hosted its first-ever golf outing, designed specifically for students who may not know the ins and outs of a corporate event on the links. Even the lingo—“9-hole shotgun scramble start” is a mouthful—can be confusing to a first-time golfer trying to impress the boss.

“We wanted to prepare ISU students to go out into the real world and not be afraid to go to a golf outing with a company,” said Nick Laskey, a senior management major from Bourbonnais and one of the golf outing coordinators. “That’s because there are a lot of interviews done on the golf course, a lot of deals done on the golf course. We want them to be prepared and not make a fool of themselves on their first real golf outing.”

Nick Laskey and Nicole Simi pose

Business Week golf outing coordinators Nick Laskey and Nicole Simi.

The inaugural Business Week outing was held October 10 at Illinois State’s Weibring Golf Club, with help from corporate partners Cintas and Enterprise. Around 45 students were matched up with 15 working professionals who shared their golf-outing experience for 9 holes.

But it wasn’t just a one-day event. All student golfers were trained at three sessions with Weibring golf professionals Laura Provost and Stacey Miller ’11 before putting their new skills to the test.

“That’s what we wanted, to make it so that your incoming skill level didn’t matter,” said Nicole Simi, senior management major and the outing’s other coordinator. “It was your willingness to learn.”

Laskey and Simi were a great fit as they planned the event together, inspired by a golf-themed transition seminar at last year’s Business Week. Laskey is an experienced golfer, but Simi wasn’t. Their mission was to create an outing that lived up to its tagline: “Beginner. Casual. Experienced. A golf outing for everyone.”

Indeed, of the 45 student golfers, 23 rented their clubs.

“It helped because Nick and I had two completely different perspectives, serving all the types of people who would be attending,” said Simi, a Chicago native.

The outing was close to the real thing. Students were even given fake “Business Week Dollars” so they could participate in the kinds of games and wagering they’d see at a corporate outing. After the 9 holes, a representative from Cintas told the student golfers that he was so impressed by their professionalism that he planned to begin recruiting new hires at ISU.

Laskey and Simi say their event helped build buzz about Business Week’s full slate of events in spring 2015, while also creating a larger pool of student golfers for other College of Business outings.

Both seniors praised faculty, staff, and administrators for believing in a new idea to bolster the already well-rounded education offered in the College of Business. Laskey and Simi are both graduating in May 2015, but hope to see their golf outing grow in the years ahead.

“It really shows how grateful I am to be at a school where I can have such support,” Simi said. “I learned so much about golf, and about the real world in general, that I did not think I would learn.”

Learn more and see the full Business Week 2015 schedule of events.

Ryan Denham can be reached at